Steamboat’s July 4th celebration will carry on with ‘Red, White and Blue Drive-Through’ |

Steamboat’s July 4th celebration will carry on with ‘Red, White and Blue Drive-Through’

Uncle Sam, aka Yampa Valley Bank President PJ Wharton, gives children high fives on Lincoln Avenue during Steamboat’s 2018 Fourth of July parade. This year, due to COVID-19, the parade takes on a new form — a “Red, White and Blue Drive-Through” event.
Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — COVID-19 or not, Steamboat Springs will be celebrating the Fourth of July with a twist this year.

For more than 100 years, locals have celebrated the nation’s birth with Cowboy Round-Up Days, which included a parade, fireworks and rodeo events. With all the pandemic-driven gathering restrictions, the Steamboat Springs Chamber asked the city to allow its first-ever “Red, White and Blue Drive-Through,” which would allow the tradition to continue in a new form.

“It was important to provide something celebratory for our residents and visitors,” said Chamber CEO Kara Stoller. “We live in a fantastic place, and when an event has been going on for over 100 years, it’s worth continuing the tradition.”

The drive-through concept encourages residents to decorate their vehicles for the Fourth of July holiday and follow behind fire engines and police cars as they parade down streets from the mountain area to west of town.

“We’re looking for people that have fun and interesting vehicles or are just able to decorate their vehicles to make it festive,” Stoller said.

Registration is free and will be open on the Chamber’s website at

Expect exciting things from the event’s main sponsor, Yampa Valley Bank, and one of the bank’s founders Tim Borden, who is known for his love of world record-setting fireworks and old classic vehicles.

“Keep an eye out for board member Jamie Jenny, who will be cruising in Yampa Valley Bank’s classic Ford Model A car,” said Yampa Valley Bank President and CEO PJ Wharton. “This car dates back to the late-1920s, but it looks sharp as ever with a fresh paint job and the YVB logo on the side.”

Details on the drive-through route are still being finalized but will be posted soon.

In the meantime, Main Street Steamboat Springs, which represents many of the downtown businesses, is working with the Chamber on a sister event, which is being called “The Great American Picnic.”

“We’re hoping to have restaurants put together a special picnic menu you can pick up for the Fourth of July,” said Main Street Executive Director Lisa Popovich.

“We want to encourage everyone to support our restaurants on the Fourth of July,” Stoller said.

For now, Steamboat Springs City Council has loosened up its open container laws, which allows people to able to enjoy alcoholic beverages in several city parks.

Popovich also wants people to send in their favorite picnic photos to the Steamboat Pilot & Today as part of a photo contest. Details on the contest are still pending.

Sponsors are a little bummed tradition will be broken but are making the best of it.

“We’re excited to sponsor this unique community event that will allow us to celebrate our country and our community while respecting public health orders and social distancing,” Wharton said.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.