Tread of Pioneers Museum to serve as grand marshal of 108th Winter Carnival |

Tread of Pioneers Museum to serve as grand marshal of 108th Winter Carnival

Steamboat’s famous Ski Band performs during Winter Carnival. (Photo courtesy Tread of Pioneers Museum)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Winter Carnival’s grand marshal is typically a person. The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club tries to choose someone who represents the community and the feeling of Winter Carnival.

“They are typically long-term residents who have really had a big impact on the community,” said Rory Clow, marketing director for the Winter Sports Club. “Their role is kind of an ambassador and also to welcome people.”

The grand marshal would often be featured most prominently at the Street Events and the Night Extravaganza, two traditional Winter Carnival events that will not be happening during this year’s festivities.

It is the large crowds that these events draw that make them risky to put on during a pandemic. And without these events to honor the grand marshal, the Winter Sports Club felt the honor would be lesser this year if given to an individual.

“We didn’t want to choose a family that has had such a huge impact on Steamboat in a year that they don’t get to be celebrated in a way that we want to celebrate them,” Clow said.

They also wanted a way to highlight past carnivals in a year when it will look so different, so they picked Tread of Pioneers Museum as the grand marshal of the 2021 Winter Carnival.

“We know and understand that, this year, we can’t have a traditional carnival, so we’re really focusing on remembering the heritage of Winter Carnival and what better way to do that then partnering with Tread of Pioneers,” Clow said. “They have been really great in making this still a special celebration, even though we can’t host it in the traditional sense.”

The museum has been heavily involved with pulling together the schedule and is putting on several events during the carnival paying homage to the previous 107 other Winter Carnivals.

Tread of Pioneers Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister said she was thrilled when she learned they had been selected because of how much of an honor it is to be grand marshal.

Winter Carnival participants perform the diamond hitch during the parade down Lincoln Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Tread of Pioneers Museum)

“To pick an organization for the first year and to pick us, it is a huge, huge honor,” Bannister said.

She said she saw this as an opportunity for the museum to try to recreate some of the community that will be lost during this year’s event. There is a long list of events planned, some in person and others online, for people to participate in, as they feel comfortable.

The museum has been around since 1959 and sharing the Olympic heritage and history of the Winter Carnival are things it is well equipped to do.

The museum will be showcasing a collection of memorable items from previous Winter Carnivals, including the lighted suit from the very first Lighted Man and a complete collection of Winter Carnival buttons.

People can also participate in the museum’s Olympic Heritage Tour led by the only six-time Winter Olympian Todd Lodwick. Another walking tour will highlight some of the culture and art of the area in addition to the founding of the town, some of the iconic buildings in town and its various springs.

“It also talks about murals and arts and culture and how that has developed over time in Steamboat,” Bannister said.

Online, the museum will be streaming a movie celebrating the founding of Howelsen Hill. Bannister said she also plans to post short video clips, photos and artifacts of past Winter Carnivals on the museum’s social media accounts. Some of the postings will be trivia style, with prizes going to the person who gets the right answer.

The museum also created a kids and family packet they are sending to local teachers.

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