Performing arts school turns 95

Perry-Mansfield celebrates with shows, food, root beer floats


— If 95 years have passed since your last old-fashioned root beer float, it might be time to end the drought.

Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Strawberry Park is celebrating its 95th anniversary July 27 as Routt County's ranking fine arts institution. Perry-Mansfield and the city of Steamboat Springs are hosting a community barbecue to celebrate the milestone, and root beer floats will be served mid-afternoon.

The celebration and refreshments are free, but organizers request RSVPs by Saturday for dinner so that enough food can be ordered. Reservations aren't required for the afternoon full of planned entertainment.

The camp will be open to the public from 1 to 6 p.m., with hourly guided tours until 4 p.m.

An equestrian demonstration is from 1:30 to 2 p.m., followed immediately by root beer floats from 2 to 3 p.m.

The arts take center stage from 2 to 6 p.m. with open student performances and an art show. There will be a dance presentation from 3 to 4 p.m. A barbecue dinner will be served from 4 to 6 p.m.

Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield founded Perry-Mansfield in 1913. They ran the camp for almost 50 years before giving it to Stephens College of Missouri. Their distinguished list of alumni, faculty and guest artists includes Jessica Biel, Merce Cunningham, Dustin Hoffman, Lee Horsley, Jose Limon, Agnes de Mille, Lee Remick and Joan Van Ark.

The college voted to sell the camp in 1990, and Friends of Perry-Mansfield formed in September of that year to mount the rescue effort for one of Steamboat's most important cultural landmarks.

The Steamboat community contributed the down payment, and by 1994 enough funds were raised to pay off the mortgage.

The last big community celebration at Perry-Mansfield was the mortgage burning party in July 1994, when hundreds of supporters gathered.

Of course, Perry-Mansfield is already turning an eye to its centennial celebration.

"Just wait until you see how we celebrate our 100th in just five more years," Perry-Mansfield supporter Holly Williams said.

To make a dinner reservation for the July 27 95th anniversary celebration, call 879-7125.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail


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