Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Paula Cooper, 11, of Steamboat Springs, flies off the donkey jump during the 97th annual Winter Carnival street events Sunday in downtown Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Springs Spectators lined Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs on Sunday morning for the street events during the 97th Winter Carnival.
The 83rd Diamond Hitch Parade, a tradition that began in 1927 with the Ladies Recreation Club, followed the morning’s street events that included ring and spear, an obstacle course, street slalom, 25-yard dog dash, donkey jump and shovel race.
The Steamboat Springs High School Ski Band, followed closely by the Winter Carnival Royalty and Ambassadors, led the parade that featured more than 20 community groups pulled down Lincoln Avenue by horse, tractor, truck or in one case, a 1940s-era Sno-Cat.
“I just think it’s one of the greatest events in America because it’s homespun and lasted for 97 years without any outside influences,” said resident Luther Brentson, who has attended every Winter Carnival since moving to Steamboat full time in 1996. “I think it’s great. I can’t wait for the 100th.”
Seven members of the Daughenbaugh family were some of the many on hand for the parade, including Marsha and Doc Daughenbaugh’s 4- and 6-year-old grandchildren, fifth-generation Routt County residents.
Marsha Daughenbaugh said the parade and Winter Carnival long have been a part of her family. She said in her 56 years living in the county, she’s probably missed only two or three Winter Carnivals.
“We love coming down and being a part of it,” she said. “It’s too good to miss. … It’s a tradition. It’s a community thing people have the opportunity to do and enjoy.”
But not all families in attendance Sunday were Winter Carnival veterans.
Ryan and Maura Martin, and their daughters, Honora, 2, and Clare Rose, 1, were visiting friends in Steamboat Springs this weekend from Broomfield and experiencing the Winter Carnival for the first time.
“It was great. It was fun,” Ryan Martin said. “It’s so cool that a ski town could bring people together for a good time.”
Ryan Martin said Honora especially loved Saturday’s Night Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill. He said she went crazy seeing the Lighted Man and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club torch parade. But the evening fireworks display was a bit scary for Honora at times, Martin said.
Winter Sports Club Executive Director Rick DeVos said this year’s Winter Carnival, a fundraiser to support the club’s 1,100 athletes and 130 coaches, raised an estimated $30,000.
He said the Winter Sports Club sold about 8,000 buttons, up about 1,000 from last year. DeVos said the athletes’ dues cover about 65 percent of the cost to operate the club, and fundraisers such as Winter Carnival help make up the difference.
Although the Winter Sports Club organizes many of the Winter Carnival festivities, it wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of the city of Steamboat Springs and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., DeVos said.
“It’s just been one of the best ever,” he said. “There’s been a real excitement in town this week.”
This year’s Winter Carnival concluded with a parent-child downhill event at Howelsen. Parents and their children strapped on their skis to participate in the noncompetitive event.
Steamboat resident Brock Webster and his son, 5-year-old Olin, were taking part in the afternoon event for the first time.
“We’ve been coming to the Winter Carnival since he was born,” Webster said.
“We just got him skiing.”
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org