Steamboat Springs The city's Fourth of July parade was designed for children, but most adults were smiling just as big as red, white and blue floats rolled down Lincoln Avenue on Friday for one of the biggest parades in Steamboat Springs history.
Eight-year-old Marty St. Pierre and his brother, Remy, 6, of Steamboat Springs had front-row seats for the parade while their mom, Shelly St. Pierre, sat nearby. The boys eagerly waited for the show to start, peering down the street and listening for the fire engine sirens that signal the start of the parade.
"Our favorite part is when they toss the candy and when the water guys squirt us," their 8-year-old friend James Bullock explained. James and his 11-year-old brother, Conar, came from Aurora to celebrate the holiday with the St. Pierres.
When asked about the reason for celebrating the Fourth of July, the boys sat quietly stumped.
"I know," Marty said. "It's to celebrate Earth's birthday!"
Remy wasn't sure about the reason to celebrate, either, but he knew what he was looking forward to most: fireworks and candy. More specifically, he wanted bubble gum. He clutched a small bag painted like a jack-o-lantern for collecting candy as floats rolled by.
The parade kicked off a little after 10 a.m. with the wail of Steamboat Springs fire engines. Five-year-old Max Cain and his 6-year-old brother, Zac, came from Scottsdale, Ariz., to celebrate with their grandfather, Norm Jacobson of Steamboat. The boys rode in a fire engine for the first time this year, waving out the windows at the crowds.
For the next hour and a half, people, cars, horses, tractors, dogs and trucks paraded down the street decorated in red, white and blue. Children armed with candy and water guns cooled down the crowd, while politicians and supporters rallied the 18-and-older spectators for votes in November. Firefighters "filled the boot" for Jerry's Kids, benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and groups sported various causes on T-shirts and vehicles to raise awareness.
One such group was Push America, a group of 21 college-aged cyclists from across the United States who are cycling from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness and money for people with disabilities. The trek is called the Journey of Hope, and Steamboat is the 18th stop for the riders. The group rode in from Craig this morning and arrived just in time for the parade.
Lee Nadeau will be a junior at the University of Colorado in Boulder this year, and he said he thinks the experience has opened him up to new experiences and a new perspective.
"I've met so many great people so far," Nadeau said. "I think it's important that we do this to help all the people who can't."
He said the group heads to Breckenridge next, and today they'll make the ride over Rabbit Ears Pass. "This might be the hardest part of the ride," he said.
One of the more unusual characters in the parade was local celebrity Larry the Camel. Sporting patriotic stars on his harness, Larry plodded down the street while eliciting excited gasps from children and adults.
"Larry is very friendly and affectionate," owner Bethany Aurin said. "And he loves it when the kids all yell his name."
The parade wrapped up about 11:30 a.m., and folks headed to the next Fourth of July celebration. For many adults, the parade was a patriotic kickoff to a festive weekend, and for many children, it was just one more reason to love the Fourth of July.
- To reach Kristi Mohrbacher, call 871-4243 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org