- Friday, April 2, 2010, 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Downtown Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs
■ Morning — U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team members will visit Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools and Steamboat Springs Middle School.
■ 2 to 5 p.m. — Olympic athletes and coaches will meet the public, sign autographs and pose for photographs in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Lodge, 845 Howelsen Parkway.
■ 6:30 p.m. — Olympic athletes will join a parade led by the Steamboat Springs High School Ski Band from 10th to Sixth streets. The Olympians will be joined by their families, teammates and local athletes from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
■ 7 p.m. — A celebration will be at Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue to honor Olympic medalists and the 17 athletes with ties to Steamboat Springs who participated in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. It will include stories from athletes and coaches and photos from the games that will be displayed on a giant screen facing west at Fifth and Lincoln.
Tune in to Steamboat Today on Steamboat TV18 at 7:30 a.m. Friday to see an interview with U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team members Brett Camerota, Billy Demong, Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane.
Steamboat Springs Some local merchants hope more patrons will visit their businesses Friday evening, with thousands of people expected downtown for the Hometown Heroes events to honor Steamboat Springs’ Olympians.
But some worry that the closure of Lincoln Avenue from Fifth to 11th streets at 1:30 p.m., to cover the street with snow, will prevent customers from coming downtown and cut into that day’s sales.
A parade at 6:30 p.m. featuring athletes from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, will kick off the main festivities. It will be followed by a ceremony at 7 p.m. to celebrate medalists and honor the 17 Olympians with ties to Steamboat who competed this year. It will be held in front of the Routt County Courthouse at Fifth and Lincoln.
Tracy Barnett, executive director of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, the organization that promotes downtown, said there has been some concern about the closure of Lincoln but that many business owners support the events.
“If we have 3,000 people down here and it’s (First Friday) Artwalk, it should be a pretty good night,” she said, adding that when Lincoln was closed for the Olympic Send-off & Community Celebration on Feb. 5, also First Friday, many downtown businesses fared well. “Galleries did great, and the restaurants were packed.”
Bette Vandahl, who owns 8th Street West, said the city’s closure of the street would hurt business at her women’s clothing store.
“First of all, I’m 110 percent behind a celebration for the Olympians,” she said. “I’m flabbergasted that they would spend money and close our downtown from 1 to 11 p.m. to put snow down on April 2. It’s 50 degrees out there. It’s not a good use of city funds when things are tight.
“This has been a real rough winter for businesses, and every time they close the street, our sales crash.”
Philo Shelton, the city’s public works director, said crews would begin trucking snow from Howelsen Hill at 1:30 p.m. Friday. He said snow from about 100 dump trucks would be spread across the middle three lanes of Lincoln from Fifth to 11th streets. Shelton said he expected it to be removed by 10 p.m.
Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts has said the city expects to spend less than $25,000 on the event. The money will come from $250,000 the Steamboat Springs City Council approved last month to improve Howelsen Hill.
Del Lockhart, co-owner of F.M. Light & Sons, said his business would lose some customers but that he supported closing Lincoln for the Hometown Heroes events because it’s important to honor Steamboat’s Olympians.
“It will be a deterrent for people to get downtown, but that’s OK,” he said. “The bigger picture here is we’re celebrating a much bigger thing than the couple hundred bucks I’ll lose in business.”
Kurt Vordermeier, general manager of Old Town Pub, said the restaurant expects to be busier than on a typical April Friday night. He said the send-off was one of the busiest nights of the winter for the restaurant. They hope to see a similar turnout with the parade ending on Sixth Street in front of Old Town Pub, Vordermeier said.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We’ve been excited since the event was announced. We think it will do well for our businesses.”
Susan Schiesser, director of marketing for the Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat, said they typically see 400 to 600 people during the First Friday Artwalk, from 5 to 8 p.m. But the gallery is hopeful that the Hometown Heroes events will draw even more people.
“We’re just really excited about the Olympians and spring at the same time,” she said about the season when they typically see an increase in art sales. “I think all activity is good activity. We’re just really excited and happy.”
In addition to the parade and ceremony, other events are planned as part of the Hometown Heroes Celebration.
Members of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team will visit Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools and Steamboat Springs Middle School on Friday morning. Olympic athletes and coaches from this year’s games will host a meet-and-greet in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Lodge from 2 to 5 p.m. They will sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Free commemorative cowbells will be offered while supplies last at several downtown businesses. They are: Debbie Aragon Insurance Agency, Elliott Appraisal Services, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Ciao Gelato, Alpine Bank, Urban Laundry, Kali’s Boutique, Lyon’s Corner Drug, Room 135, Room 635, Rustique Home & Garden Collection and Hotel Bristol.