Steamboat Springs The streets of Yampa were ringing with the sounds of sirens, children and classic car engines Sunday as the small South Routt County town celebrated Fourth of July with a large parade. The usually quiet town came to life in less than an hour as cars, horses and ATVs converged on Moffat Avenue, ready to greet hundreds of spectators.
“It is homecoming day for Yampa,” resident Mike Redmond said as he equipped his two Belgian mares to pull a wagon in the parade. “Every Fourth, the town gets full of people you haven’t seen for years and years.”
The rumbles of diesel engines and the neighing of horses quickly drowned out the soft pattering of firecrackers in the morning. Children, anxiously awaiting the parade to start, pressed their faces against the windows of Penny’s Diner and smiled as a pair of 1959 Ford Mustangs roared by.
“It has definitely gotten bigger,” said Kathy Carnahan, who came from Denver to visit her sister-in-law. “Everybody is having a good time and visiting with old friends.”
Yampa resident and Fourth of July committee member Margaret Chipman, noting a higher crowd turnout this year, thinks the small-town celebration is starting to become contagious.
“More people are recognizing how much fun a small town can be on the Fourth of July and are coming here,” she said. “This event is not commercialized, and so many local people and business owners come together to celebrate the holiday.”
Chipman planned Sunday’s parade for more than two months and joked that the only way Yampa’s Fourth of July committee members can leave their post is if they leave town.
A long line of horseback riders, classic cars and floats cruised down Main Street as children scrambled to grab the candy that constantly was thrown toward them by parade participants. For most of the spectators, this was not the first or last of their Yampa parades.
Jill Andrews, who has lived in Yampa for more than 10 years, rode her horse in the parade, making sure to pause and distribute candy to anxious bystanders.
“The parade hasn’t changed much over the years,” Andrews said. “Yampa is a very traditional town, but it is always fun every year to be able to do this in such a great setting.”
The celebrations in Yampa also included a pancake breakfast and live music. However, most of the people visiting Yampa on Sunday were there to see the parade.
“The best part of my day was watching my boys get all the candy,” said Bret Wentworth, who was visiting Yampa from Lafayette with his family. “How often do you get to go somewhere where candy falls from the sky?”