Yampa prepares for July Fourth

Fireworks, polo and the ladies' famous pies combine in anticpated tradition

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The town of Yampa knows how to celebrate July 4.

This year, the annual celebration includes all the traditions that make it such a treasured part of the community. Arlene Porteus, secretary of the Yampa Fourth of July Committee, said that this year's theme is "Yampa salutes the workers of America." She hopes that this theme will honor all the workers in South Routt.

"We're trying to get some old working trucks and work equipment in the parade," she said.

In South Routt County, Yampa always does the planning and celebration for Fourth of July, and Oak Creek is in charge of Labor Day.

The festivities begin Friday night with a picnic in Yackey Park. The picnic begins at 6 p.m., and people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and enjoy the live country music and cowboy poetry that will be featured. Porteus said the event is $10 per family and includes a pork sandwich, coleslaw, beans and cake.

"Everybody always really enjoys the picnic," she said.

The actual Fourth of July festivities begin at 7: 30 a.m. with the Flapjack Feed at the Ladies Aid Hall. The parade begins at 1 p.m. and winds down Moffat Avenue and Main Street, ending at the South Routt Elementary School grounds. Porteus estimates they have received 50 entries so far for floats and other parade participants. The participants will include cowboys on horses, children riding decorated bicycles, decorated floats and a special volunteer band that will march in the parade.

After the parade, a barbecue will be held at the school, complete with craft booths and the Eastern Star homemade pie booth.

Porteus said that there will be rhubarb, cherry, blueberry, lemon meringue and coconut cream pies for people to purchase by the slice.

"Yampa grows the best rhubarb," she said.

Everyone's favorite horse polo game is at 4 p.m. Far from the rarefied sport played on a manicured green field in places such as Palm Springs, Yampa's polo game involves two teams and about 30 riders using broomsticks and a volleyball on the "field" that is Yampa's unpaved Main Street.

"This is a traditional, free-for-all event where anything goes," she said.

Once the sun sets and the time is right, there will be a fireworks show to round out the celebration.

Porteus thinks that Fourth of July is such a big deal in Yampa because it brings the entire South Routt community, as well as other Routt County residents, together.

"It's a wonderful celebration because all day you're running into old friends and getting to catch up," she said.

Yampa has been celebrating the Fourth of July for at least 50 years, Porteus said.

"This is one of the best things about this town. ... We celebrate in a good old-fashioned way," she said.

Porteus said about 500 people attended last year's celebration and she expects about the same, if not more, to come out for this year's celebration.

"People talk about the Fourth of July all year. This is a big social gathering for the South Routt people," she said.

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