100 parade with flags

Visitors, residents mark new year with patriotism

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About 100 amateur skiers and snowboarders celebrated the new year with patriotic flair Thursday morning as they paraded down the ski mountain waving American flags.

A little after 10:30 a.m., a Miami family, their friends and the skiers and snowboarders they recruited made there way down See Me and Headwall runs waving large American flags.

For Richard Fain, the Miami man who hatched the idea, the question was why such a New Year's celebration had never been done before in Steamboat Springs.

"What better way to celebrate the new year than with the American flag," Fain said.

But the problem, Fain said, was that only one flag could be found in Steamboat that was suitable for the parade.

So on Tuesday afternoon, Fain ordered 100 American flags from Miami and had them shipped to town. UPS delivered them Wednesday, and the New Year's celebration was under way.

The Ski Area gave the group permission to put on the parade and suggested a time to do it.

Fain is visiting with his four children, two sons-in-law and grandchildren, who were the first to be recruited for the parade. The family also recruited friends in town, and Thursday morning, a group of 20 arrived at the top of See Me run and began recruiting passing skiers and riders and asking them to participate. The group soon had 80 more flag bearers.

"I said that is our last problem -- getting people to carry the American flag," Fain said.

Ski instructors Benjamin Marbach and Stuart Handloff led the group down the mountain in the same pattern used for the Torchlight Parade on New Year's Eve night.

At the bottom, a giant red, white and blue Happy New Year sign awaited the flag bearers.

The flags will remain in Steamboat and be donated to the Steamboat Springs School District.

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