Steamboat Springs It’s a wonder how quickly the falling snowflakes can evoke holiday magic, how fast those memories of a dry and brown Yampa Valley can fade away.
It happened in just a few short hours Saturday afternoon, and as the daylight faded into a Christmas-lit evening, hundreds gathered downtown while bundled up in winter gear, as though residents collectively had forgotten what temperatures in the 20s feel like.
Grins abounded, and children pretended to ice skate along the slippery Lincoln Avenue that had been closed for the fifth annual Merry Mainstreet parade.
Paige Williams, 4, caught snowflakes on her tongue and ogled a gingerbread house with her twin brother, Jacob, through the window of the Overland Sheepskin Co.
“Look, it looks like the gondola,” she said.
Behind the gingerbread house, a small Santa Claus made of fondant was riding a tiny electric chairlift around in circles.
In her third year in the gingerbread house contest, local bartender Sarah Seguin had gone all out in an effort to retain the championship.
Competing against three other bakers, she constructed a three-story ski chalet out of gingerbread and frosting, pouring hard candy windows and constructing balconies out of pretzels. Ice cream cone pine trees and a marshmallow igloo decorated the yard.
It took her and friend Pat Gleason about 32 hours throughout several weeks to create the holiday wonder.
“It’s fun, it’s a hobby, and it’s rewarding,” said Seguin, who said she loves when young children’s eyes light up at the sight of her baked artwork. “The whole process is fun. We’ve been planning for months and months.”
The fifth annual Merry Mainstreet consisted of the gingerbread house contest, a caroling contest, visits with Santa, decorated storefronts and a quirky small-town parade.
As the parade was about to begin promptly on Steamboat Time (20 minutes late), the Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue trucks were out on a call and the now-infamous fire-breathing dragon car wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
As the parade took off, Charlie Holthausen appeared in the dragon car from the west, driving the wrong way through the parade and shooting off flames from the dragon’s mouth to shrieks of delight.
“Now that is a small town,” Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett laughed as the dragon car made a U-turn and joined the parade.
Dallas’ Patricia Williams, Paige and Jacob’s mother, said this was the family’s first year coming out to Merry Mainstreet.
“This is wonderful. There’s finally snow on the ground; it feels like Christmas,” she said. “It just kicks off the season, and you get to catch snowflakes.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com