A parade of success | SteamboatToday.com

A parade of success

Shriners in cars a feature of this year's Colorado Days

— Hayden resident Ashley Walden hasn’t been to every Colorado Days event, but she was pretty sure Saturday’s Colorado Days parade was the best the town’s ever had.

“It just seemed a lot longer to me. I haven’t been for a few years, but this year everything was really great,” she said.

Walden’s parents, longtime Hayden residents Steve and Cydne Bell, agreed that the annual event was especially good this year, mostly because of the hundreds of Northwest Colorado El Jebel Shriners that attended.

“We usually come every year that we’re actually in town. It was a fun parade this year because we got to see all of the Shriners with their cars,” Cydne said.

Colorado Days began 23 years ago as a barbecue fundraiser for the Shriners and their philanthropic pursuits.

Lorraine Johnson, a Hayden trustee and chairwoman of the town’s Centennial Committee, said the barbecue eventually morphed into a weekend of golf, entertainment, a parade, and, of course, the barbecue.

“It’s a fun weekend because we’re having fun and yet we’re here raising money for a good cause and showing our appreciation for everyone who is involved,” she said.

Funds raised from the barbecue go to the Intermountain Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City, where children who are suffering from spinal and orthopedic problems are treated free of charge.

Clint Dexter, a Shriner potentate from Denver, said he was glad so many Shriners attended Saturday’s event. A mandatory call of attendance was put out to all Northwest Colorado Shriners, he said.

“We’re honored to be here not only for Colorado Days, but for the town’s 100 year celebration. That’s what we’re all about,” he said.

Shriners raised nearly $2,500 during last year’s barbecue. They hope to surpass that total this year.

“We come up here to fundraise, but we mostly just love the friendliness of all the people. Everyone is great,” he said. “Everyone year we come it’s wonderful.”

Hayden Mayor Joe Schminkey said he was glad to see Hayden’s Jefferson Avenue packed with lawn chairs, families and neighbors lined up to watch the parade Saturday morning.

“Our parade this year was great. We had a great turnout,” he said.

Friday’s street dance, featuring music from the band “Hot Posse,” also was a huge hit, Schminkey said.

“This year we tried something a little different by trying to keep the adults that were drinking away from our teens, and we actually got a really good response from that, too,” he said.

Parade announcers Andrea and Bill Hayden said they thought the overall quality of the parade has improved, and they were happy so many Routt County candidates for November’s election attended the parade.

“We like the color of red, white and blue out here,” Bill Hayden said. “It’s nice to see all these candidates that our residents might not otherwise get to meet come out here.”

Republican sheriff candidates Garrett Wiggins and Ray Birch, Democrat sheriff candidate Gary Wall, Democrat county commissioner candidate Diane Mitsch Bush, Republican county commissioner candidate Paul Strong, Republican county assessor candidate Dick Klumker, Democrat assessor candidate Mike Kerrigan and independent assessor candidate Nancy Terry were all part of the parade.

Hayden High School’s marching band made an appearance, as did some antique tractors and floats from local businesses.

To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com.

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