Cake by the foot entices partiers

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The Eighth Street parking lot was filled with square dancers, goats, horseshoes, hopscotch and a 100-foot-long, black-and-yellow cake that could mean only one thing: F.M. Light & Sons' 100th anniversary.

On Saturday, the birthday bash was part of the Downtown Hoedown, a fun and family-oriented event sponsored by Main Street Steamboat and KBCR radio.

Main Street Executive Director Tracy Barnett was pleased with the turnout and hopes that the hoedown will become an annual event.

"This is an old-fashioned family event. It is similar to what people were doing 100 years ago," she said.

The hoedown got its name from when ranchers and farmers would put their hoes down at the end of the day and head into town to be social. Saturday's event featured old-fashioned music by the Yampa Valley Boys and square-dance caller Pat McBride; horseshoes; hopscotch; rock, paper, scissor competitions; a barbecue and, of course, the cake.

Barnett said that the cake, which was 100-feet-long and had "F.M. Light & Sons: 100 Years" written on it every three feet, was made up of 80 sheet cakes and used about seven pails of bright yellow frosting.

People began lining up and admiring the cake at about 3:45 p.m., and it was cut at 5:15 p.m. after the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to the local business that has been a staple of the Yampa Valley for a century.

Although the cake may have been the bright attraction, there were other events going on that had people learning old-fashioned games they had never played and learning dances they had never seen.

Elaine and Dave Sturges are square dancers from Steamboat Springs who were out with about 30 members of their dance group, Green Ridge Mountain Dancers, demonstrating square dancing and involving the community.

"Lots of people were really interested in the dancing, especially the children," Elaine Sturges said.

The Sturgeses have been dancing together for more than 30 years and said they dance because they love the music, the exercise and the people.

"We laugh and hug as much as we dance," she said.

Del Lockhart, one the F.M. Light & Sons family members, said he was humbled that the community would turn out to celebrate the business's centennial.

"This event has really accomplished what it set out to do. It has brought the old and the young alike together to have fun," he said.

Lockhart said that the store's 100-year anniversary was just a good excuse to have a big party.

Ty Lockhart, another Light relative, agreed with Del Lockhart that the event was more about the community than anything else.

"Today isn't about our business. It's about thanking the people of Routt County. Thank you," he said.

One unique guest that the F.M Light & Sons family was glad to have was Forrest Adair, a man who worked for the store from 1943 to 1950.

Adair wrote several poems for the celebration and read them proudly before the cake was cut.

"When I found out about the event, I decided to write a few poems to tell the story," he said.

Adair lives in Grand Junction and was glad to make the trip to be here to celebrate the heritage and history of F.M. Light & Sons.

"In fact, I still get a lump in my throat talking about it," he said.

-- To contact Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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