Button is the pass to Winter Carnival

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— Ninety years of Winter Carnivals have turned the annual carnival button into somewhat of a collector's item.

Traditionally intended to serve as an admission ticket to Winter Carnival events and a fund-raiser for the Winter Sports Club, the button has taken on a life of its own, said Katy Tirone, director of development and special events for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

"I get phone calls from people who said they missed this year's Winter Carnival but need the button for their collection," Tirone said. "(The button) is a unique piece that continues to be part of the Winter Carnival. It tends to be a collector's item for many people around town."

A committee of Winter Sports Club staff selects the button design each year. Steamboat Springs High School art students enter designs based on the Winter Carnival theme for each particular year.

This year's theme centers on the history of Howelsen Hill. High school student Jenny Huyser's winning design best reflected this year's theme and the tradition of the Winter Carnival and the Winter Sports Club, Tirone said.

Huyser's design included fiery hoops, the Howelsen Hill Lodge and the tow house, among other traditional Winter Carnival and Winter Sports Club symbols.

"We try to look at something that's broad and encompasses Winter Carnival," Tirone said.

The button, which costs $7, can be purchased at the Winter Sports Club, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort office and various Steamboat businesses. All proceeds from the buttons go to the Winter Sports Club.

Tirone said the club hopes to sell 7,000 buttons this year.

After 90 years as the primary sponsor for the carnival, Tirone said the Winter Sports Club will continue to play a key role in the carnival regardless of the money it generates.

"The Winter Sports Club has hosted this event since the first Winter Carnival, but it's certainly a community event," she said. "This is something we would continue to do regardless of how much money it raised."

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