Colorado Days turns 21 with food, fun, parade | SteamboatToday.com
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Colorado Days turns 21 with food, fun, parade

Tamera Manzanares

— The Intermountain Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City may be 400 miles away, but the free care it provides children is the purpose of the 21st annual Colorado Days celebration this weekend in Hayden and Craig.

The Northwest Colorado Shriners Club, along with the Hayden Chamber of Commerce and Lion’s Club, are busy planning three days of events — including a golf tournament, street dance, parade and barbecue — that will benefit the hospital, which specializes in children’s orthopedic care.

The celebration is one of the biggest events of the year in Hayden and a major fund-raiser for the Shriners Club, which has members in Steamboat, Hayden, Craig and Meeker.

“Our goal in life is how much good we can do for the kids. … All of the money that we get a hold of goes directly into the operation of these hospitals,” said club president Raymond Keller of Meeker.

Festival events will kick off Friday with a golf tournament at the Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig. A $350 tax-deductible donation will be made to the Salt Lake City hospital in the name of the winner.

On Friday evening, organizers will close down Walnut Street in Hayden for a street dance with the 3-Wire Band. On Saturday, a parade featuring entries from local groups and the El Jebel Shriners Club in Denver, will promenade through downtown Hayden.

Residents may want to reserve their appetites for one of the four community meals planned throughout the weekend, including a pancake breakfast and barbecue Saturday and an old-style chuck wagon breakfast Sunday.

There will be fees for the golf tournament as well as the pancake breakfast and barbecue.

Hospital donations may be made at the other events.

“Everybody is invited to everything,” said Shriner member Don Johnson, who emphasized that the celebration is not a “Hayden thing” but a “valley thing.”

Although the Shriners raised about $2,500 during Colorado Days festivities last year, members would like to see attendance at the events back to levels of five years ago when they raised more than $3,000.

“We really need more participation. … We try to get local people out to the barbecue and parade because it’s really worth watching,” said Shriner member Bobby Robinson, whose father, Bob Robinson Sr., started Colorado Days 21 years ago.

In addition to raising money, Colorado Days events help boost awareness of the little-known Shriners hospitals.

There are 22 Shriners hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The hospitals, which each specialize in orthopedic problems, burns or spinal cord injuries, treat children for free until they are 18.

The Northwest Colorado Shriners have sent about 15 children from the Yampa Valley to the hospitals, Bobby Robinson said.

Together, the hospitals spend about $1.5 million a day treating children, Keller said.

“Any child in this world that comes to us will get into a Shriner Hospital,” he said.

Anyone who knows of a child who needs help should call a Shriner member. Keller can be reached at (970) 878-5574.

For more information about the Shriners, visit http://www.shrinershq.org.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com.


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