In Step

July 4 parade a community affair

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— In last year's Fourth of July Parade, the Steamboat Libraries Freadom Book Cart Drill Team shocked onlookers.

"It was fun for parade-goers to see librarians pulling book carts, twirling them around and dancing," said Chris Painter, library director of Bud Werner Memorial Library. "People thought it was the funniest thing they've ever seen."

The 10 participating librarians won the Best Group Award for their performance, which required more than three months of practice.

"We were pushing carts down the street and doing formations with them -- figure eights, spinning them in circles, and we did a dance routine with the carts," Painter said. "We would spin them around and pass them off, as well."

The Steamboat Libraries Freadom Book Cart Drill Team will be unable to participate in Tuesday's parade because members of the team will be out of town, recently had babies or had knee-replacement surgery.

"We hope to be back kicking and twirling carts next year," Painter said.

Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp will return this year dancing and singing an original song about the camp and what it means to them.

"We are sticking to the 'Honoring our Hometown Heri--tage' theme because our campus has been around for 93 years," said Bess Fifer, program coordinator of Perry-Mansfield. "The song was written by the students with the guidance of Kathy Hussey."

There will be 145 students in the parade who will be busy rehearsing all weekend.

"Of course, we like to be prepared," Fifer said. "And the parade is a good way to get the word out about what we are doing with the kids and let everyone know that we are here and to come check out what these kids are doing."

Horizons Specialized Services used the parade last year as an opportunity to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

"Our entry was just to show where we've come -- from the infancy stage 30 years ago, to now having 59 adults and a couple hundred children in our program," said Kay Borvansky, resource development coordinator for Horizons. "We decided to really call attention to the fact that we have been alive and thrived and growing for 30 years."

Horizons won the Best Theme Award last year for the "Steamboat Springs Show Us Your Age" theme. There were 40 people in the parade and 75 to 100 people behind the scenes. The most rewarding part for Borvansky was driving the truck and hearing the onlookers call out the names of the clients.

"I thought it was fabulous that people recognized them and were making a big deal out of the clients they knew," she said. "They just loved it and really felt included and part of the festivities."

The parade is the perfect vehicle for Dan Bankard to show off his antique tractors.

Bankard will have six tractors, in this year's parade. The models range from 1928 to 1953.

"People get a pretty good kick out of seeing the tractors and it stays with the theme of the valley," Bankard said. "A lot of people who have never seen a farm tractor or an antique one can see how nice looking they can be. A lot of them have style."

One thing Bankard never has to worry about is finding people to drive his tractors.

"They find me," he said.

Bankard participates because he thinks it's neat to see community members come together with their own ideas to showcase in the parade.

"You get to see people on Main Street with a big old smile waving at you and looking at the machinery," he said. "It just kind of lights you up."

Kylie Hawes, the Routt County Fair and Rodeo Royalty Queen, will be riding her horse, Delta, in her third parade of the year Tuesday.

She will ride down the street with her attendant Kelsey Sam--uelson, and will be wearing a blue sequin long sleeve shirt, boots with leather sashes, dark blue Western jeans, a black cowboy hat and her crown.

"It's fun to be able to represent the fair that is such a part of our county's history, which is such an important part of our past," Hawes said. "And it's fun to get dolled up and look pretty."

The 44 entries that are participating in this year's parade are competing for four awards: Best Commercial Award, Best Parade Theme Award, Best Theme Award and Best Group Award.

The theme is "Honoring our Hometown Heritage."

The Pioneer Day Block Party takes place after the parade in front of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

"We've started our own tradition by combining traditions of the fourth and Pioneer Day," said Candice Lombardo, executive director of the museum. "We want to try to have an old-fashioned block party the way they used to have them."

The party will entail a live Strings in the Mountains concert with the Alpen Brass, "Routt" beer floats, food, children's activities with Yampatika, a fire truck and variety of pioneer ladies will be present. This event is one of many that make the fourth of July in Steamboat such a festive experience.

"To me, Steamboat's Fourth is very representative of what a lot of small towns across America would be like," Lombardo said, "because everybody was originally coming here from other areas."


-- To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com

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