Block Party in Steamboat 'just good fun'

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— It took 36 gallons of vanilla ice cream and 80 two-liter bottles of root beer for John Marshall and other volunteers to serve about 1,200 “Routt beer floats” during Sunday’s Pioneer Days Block Party in front of Tread of Pioneers Museum.

Marshall, a museum board member, joked that it was quite a mess serving the floats, which have become a staple of the Fourth of July event hosted by Tread of Pioneers.

“It’s really fun,” he added.

Dressed in pioneer attire, Candice Bannister, the museum’s executive director, said the block party was created 10 years ago as an after-parade event. It’s now a regular part of Steamboat’s annual Cowboys’ Roundup Days and Fourth of July festivities. Cowboys’ Roundup Days celebrated its 107th year this weekend.

“What’s great about it is getting together like the old days, neighbors coming together and having fun,” she said. “… It’s just a great time. We love doing it.”

In addition to the Routt beer floats, the block party included free hot dogs for attendees. The Steamboat Swings community band performed, and pioneer children’s games were available for the younger crowd. Museum admission was free for patrons to check out new exhibits featuring the history of the Ute Native American tribe and another about black-and-white photography.

Charlie Beu­rskens, 12, and his brother Will, 10, attended the block party with their family, who live in Steamboat. With near empty floats, Charlie explained that the vanilla and root beer taste “perfect” together. But that wasn’t the block party’s only draw.

“It’s really great,” he said. “… We get to hang out with our friends.”

Steamboat resident Stephen Evans, who with resident Sue Schneller rode their bikes to the Fourth of July parade and block party afterward, was enjoying a different treat — ice cream with strawberries.

Evans said he’s been coming to the block party for years.

“The music is nice. It makes me feel patriotic,” he said. “Ice cream and strawberries, that’s what a small town is all about.”

Steamboat resi­dents Art and Gloria Smith also make the block party part of their Fourth of July plans every year.

“We always come,” Art Smith said. “It’s just good fun.”

Linda Fiorella, a Steamboat resident and one of about 20 volunteers serving the Routt beer floats, said she keeps coming back to help out year after year.

“I just enjoy being here, seeing everyone,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s a great way to spend the Fourth. You see a lot of town folks and visitors.”

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