Steamboat Springs Jim Stanko can remember a time when Memorial Day wasn’t about getting out of town for an extended weekend.
It didn’t mean packing the car, finding a camping spot or getting that extra day off of work.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating that the three-day holiday is more important than honoring the men and women that made it possible for people to have that holiday,” Stanko said.
But Stanko certainly knows the importance of the annual Memorial Day celebration in Steamboat. The event is the third longest running event in the city behind Fourth of July and Winter Carnival.
It started in 1920 and has seen various phases throughout the past 94 years.
In 1956, as a member of Boy Scouts, Stanko marched in the Memorial Day parade from the Routt County Courthouse lawn, down the street to where veterans got in cars and went to the cemetery.
This year’s event begins at 11 a.m. Monday at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery. Steamboat Springs Transit will provide bus service to the cemetery from the transit center west of town beginning at 9:45 a.m. This year, in addition to the changing of the guard, all branches of the service will be recognized. The event is put on by the American Legion and Veteran of Foreign Wars.
Special military honors will be given to two veterans that were members of the American Legion Post and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post for the longest number of years. They are Lewis Kemry, who died in February, and Don Lufkin, who died in December 2012.
The Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard also will be recognized with a reader giving a brief history of the branch of service.
In addition, the Civil Air Patrol drill team will do a special drill to honor the branches.
Stanko said it’s important to remember what the day means and pay respect to those who have given so much. There are 298 veterans buried in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery. There are 193 from the Army, 68 from the Navy, 19 from the Marines, 16 from the Air Force, one from the Coast Guard and one Merchant Marine.
The Yampa Cemetery will hold a services at 11 a.m. Monday. The Oak Creek Cemetery will hold its event at 1 p.m. and the Hayden Cemetery will hold its ceremony at 6 p.m.
Other events across town
Although the holiday weekend is expected to see less people than last year, there still are plenty of events going on.
According to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s lodging barometer, 6,200 visitors are expected to be in town Saturday.
Last year, 5,800 were expected but more than 7,400 actually spent the night.
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Memorial Weekend Downtown Sidewalk Sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At 2 p.m. Saturday a Family Scavenger Hunt of Downtown’s Historical Buildings starts at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, the 110th annual Routt County Pioneer Picnic will take place at the Hayden Heritage Center.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham