A celebration of community

Parade focuses on what ties locals together

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Spectators line Lincoln Avenue to watch the Winter Carnival street events.

— In the wake of the construction projects that are reshaping Steamboat Springs, Winter Sports Club officials chose "A Celebration of Community" as the theme for the 95th Winter Carnival.

"We came up with that because that is what Steamboat is all about, community," said Caroline Bohlmann, the club's special events director. "There has been a lot of changes and growth, and we thought it was a very appropriate theme for this year to focus on what we all have in common."

Unless you've attended a previous Diamond Hitch Parade, chances are you haven't seen anything quite like it. The Diamond Hitch Parade traditionally follows the Sunday street events on Lincoln Avenue, and parade participants wanting to be judged have to have at least four skiers or snowboarders holding on to points of a rope tied in the shape of one or more diamonds.

They also must wear costumes and decorations corresponding with the parade theme, and they must keep the diamond shape of the rope during the entire parade. Parade entrants can earn extra points for staying in the telemark position and playing music audible to the judges.

Animals, people or vehicles can pull the skiers or riders down snow-covered Lincoln Avenue.

"It's a really neat thing because you have ranchers, ski bums, visitors - it really brings everybody out," Bohlmann said. "It's a great experience to see the streets shut down and everybody come together as neighbors and a community."

Although those forming the traditional diamond hitch make up a number of the float entries, the parade is open to everyone.

Steamboat's U.S. Forest Service Office is entering a float this year, and Bohlmann said Routt County Search and Rescue, Steamboat Ambassadors and the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts are frequent parade participants.

Entrants using vehicles in the parade need to make sure those vehicles are four-wheel drive or have chains. People also are asked not to throw candy or beads so young children will stay off the parade route.

This year's street events are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Feb. 10 in downtown Steamboat. The parade will follow.

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