Yampa Fourth: A family celebration

Parade, picnics involve 'just about everybody'

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— For the size of the event, Yampa's Fourth of July celebration is unusual because it is free from modern commercialism. There won't be any corporate-sponsored booths or floats in the parade. There won't be hundreds of tourists lining the streets. The celebration is made simply of the families who call South Routt home.

And a funny thing about the parade, which also adds to its character, is that there are probably as many people in the parade as there are spectators, said Arlene Porteus, a member of the Yampa Fourth of July Committee.

"Just about everybody is involved somehow," she said. "Most all people in town are actually in the parade."

And the people of Yampa are proud to celebrate the birthday of their country the same way they have for years, Porteus said. Many residents even schedule family reunions for the Fourth.

"There is no place like Yampa on the Fourth of July," Porteus said. "I guess it's just the old-fashioned feeling it has to it. There is nothing commercial. There are the sweet ladies making homemade pies. An outsider might say, 'this is boring,' but it just fits South Routt."

Bill Redmond, who was born and raised in Yampa, has been attending the Yampa Fourth of July festivities as long as he can remember. He tried to remember a year he missed one, but he couldn't.

"I've been to every one," Redmond said. "It's a get-together more than anything. It's a chance to see friends and neighbors you haven't seen all year."

He and his wife, Virginia, will be the grand marshals of this year's parade, following down Main Street the Yampa Marching Band, which consists of "7- to 70-year-olds, everyone in Yampa who has ever played an instrument in their whole life," Porteus said.

The parade is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Yampa River Park near the Weston, where children will line up with their bicycles along with floats and the band, and take the traditional route down Moffat Avenue and right down Main Street, leading to the festivities at South Routt Elementary School.

This year's theme is "Cowboy Round-Up." After deliberating several themes, the festival committee decided to go with cowboys because "we have a lot of real cowboys down here," Porteus said.

A barbecue lunch will be served outside the school after the parade. There will be games for all ages starting at park, including a variety of family footraces, sack races, tug-of-war, an egg toss and a portable fishing pond for the children to fish in. Also, several craft booths will be set up, selling everything from quilts to furniture to homemade pies.

At 4 p.m., Yampa's traditional horse polo game will begin on Moffat Street. Competition is sure to be fierce to win the coveted polo trophy.

After the sun sets, all people have to do is look up for the big fireworks finale, which can be seen from anywhere in town.

After the fireworks, the Blue Rooster Band will play for the night owls at the Royal Hotel.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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