PHOTOS: Fire-breathing dragon and Steamboat Olympians highlight July Fourth parade
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Thank goodness dragons are exempt from area fire bans.
Spike, a dragon standing about 20 feet tall atop the chassis of a mutated Nissan pickup, spewed flames down Lincoln Avenue, earning cheers from the crowd watching Steamboat’s Fourth of July parade.
Spike’s creators, Gail and Charlie Holthausen, have driven a reptile in the Fourth of July parade for about eight years — an iguana at first, then Spike, then another dragon named Phoenix, then Spike again.
With each flaming breath, the Holthausens’ creation, and the dancers accompanying them from Jasmir Bellydance Troupe, enraptured children and paused adults’ conversations.
A good parade float must have the “wow factor,” said Charlie. That’s something the Army tank atop the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars’ float provided, and Gail said she gasped when she saw it.
For spectator Brady Wettlaufer, a great parade float just needs a lot of dancing and candy.
Melissa Lahay’s favorite part of the parade wasn’t a float at all — it was watching her children rolling down Lincoln Avenue as part of Steamboat Sk8 Church’s procession of skateboarders.
For her son Tanner Lahay, who rode in the parade, the best part of the day was seeing all of his friends.
“It’s kind of cool to see all the people,” Tanner said.
While he didn’t do any skateboarding tricks on Lincoln Avenue, he said it was fun to watch people’s reactions to his friends’ tricks.
The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association organized the Fourth of July parade, which featured entries from almost 50 organizations and businesses. This year’s theme was “Red, White and Gold: Celebrating our Olympians.”
Several of Steamboat’s Olympic athletes rode a float behind the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Nelson Carmichael and Caroline Lalive Carmichael, both former members of the U.S. Ski Team, served as the parade’s grand marshals.
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