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Looking back

Articles from our archives compiled by Erin Gleason

50 years ago

From the Aug. 30, 1956, Steamboat Pilot:

Oak Creek celebration

The most widely known Labor Day Celebration in Northwest Colorado will begin Saturday at Oak Creek when that coal producing town stages a three-day event honoring its working men.

A coal queen selected from seven pretty candidates will be crowned at the dance at the grade school gymnasium Saturday night and Chuck Parsons’ orchestra will furnish live music.



Sponsored by the Silver Spruce Club, the dance and coal queen contest are two of the features of the big celebration.

The queen will be awarded $50 in cash and each of her four maids in waiting will receive $30.



Weekend events also include a men’s and women’s softball tournament, parade, flower show, sports events for boys and girls, flag raising ceremony and addresses by officials of the United Mine Workers of America. Truckloads of coal from the Edna and Keystone mines will be auctioned.

Softballers from Yampa, Oak Creek, Steamboat, Mt. Harris, and other teams will battle it out in tournament play beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and continuing through Monday at the Oak Creek ballpark.

Sports events featuring dashes, bicycle races, and other novelty competition will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday at the ballpark and there is no charge.

Cash prizes are being given and Mr. and Mrs. John Sullivan are chairmen while John Harmon is in charge of the softball tournament.

On Monday there will be a parade and flag raising ceremony starting at 9 a.m. The queen and her entourage will lead colorful floats entered for prizes by businessmen and civic groups.

Labor Day addresses after the parade will be given by UMWA representatives as well as Local Representative Joseph F. Simansky and Mayor Floyd Pierce.

Swim show spectacular

A Perry Mansfield swim show, combining the swimming and dancing talents of thirty-five girls, was produced in the local pool last Thursday under the direction of Marlene Johnson.

The gaily-clad swimmers related through water ballet the story of an Indian maiden, Tanya, who journeys around the world. The maiden’s reactions to different countries, music, customs, and nightlife were told through dances, costumes, water movements, and music.

The two-hour water extravaganza was attended by scores of people as they lined the edge of the porch and pool.

Marlene Johnson wrote the material for the show as well as teaching the swimmers water ballet and producing the show.

The show opened to the tune of “Pass that Peace Pipe” as the Indian maiden is preparing to leave her tribe for her world tour. The ten girls in the act were suited in suited in solid color suits, wristbands, headbands with feathers, and no caps.

Mig Clemens and E.J. Peaker wore Bermudas to choreograph “Lullaby of Birdland.” Seven girls followed with “Tango of the Drums” dressed in solid colored suits wearing caps with flowers.

The erie Near East found Tanya, the Indian maiden, “In a Persian market.” The swimmettes were bedecked in south sea island suits, white, purple, and blue with snakes on their arms.

“Moonglow,” a south sea island scene, was swum with the girls in aqua and blue suits, white caps, and crescent moons tied on their caps. Five girls took Tanya to Canada in “Canadian Sunset,” dressed in solid color suits with caps to match. The French “Can-Can” followed in which the girls wore black leotards, crinolines and red and aqua dance skirts.

“Slaughter on 10th Avenue,” a New York street scene, found the swimmers suited in black suits, silver ankle and wristbands, wire headbands, and no caps.

“Adios,” the concluding number, was swam in the solid color suits, white caps, and with a rose in each summer’s mouth.


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