The Silt HeyDay committee didn't have to look far to find this year's parade grand marshal: Alice Jones.
"We look to find people that may relate to our themes and or that have been really active in the area for many years," said committee chair Peggy Swank. "Because we are, this year, looking back at our history and Alice spends many hours at the Silt Historical Park, she was perfect. We have been trying to get Alice to agree to be our grand marshal for a few years."
Jones, 81, has played a part in the Silt HeyDay festival almost since its inception but was still surprised by her appointment as parade marshal.
"There are a lot of other people that should be [parade marshal]," she said.
Born in Rifle in 1931, Jones has lived in Western Colorado all her life. She worked in home health care, at the Laundromat in Rifle - "all kinds of different things" - while raising her family. Her four remaining children live in Silt, Parachute and Montana. She has 18 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, and a countless number of friends, young and old, who have been touched by her generosity, kindness and hospitality over the years.
Today, Jones lives in Silt, where she is involved in several volunteer activities, including the Union Divide Creek Cemetery organization, serving senior citizen lunches at the Silt Firehouse, participating in senior line dancing for more than 15 years and, perhaps closest to her heart, volunteering at the Silt Historical Park.
Her blue eyes sparkle with enthusiasm as Jones unveils the park's historical treasures, and points out the most recent improvements in buildings and landscaping. That enthusiasm spills over into everything she does.
When asked which of her activities is her favorite, Jones replied, "Everything I do is fun!"
The annual HeyDay pancake breakfast is one of the biggest fundraisers for the historical park. For more than 25 years, Jones has gone to the park at 5 a.m. to set up, cook and serve the breakfast. Many people look forward to seeing her serving every year.
She misses the days when there were more floats in the parade, featuring local families, but still enjoys the festivities and the fellowship with friends and family that are part of the annual community event.
"It couldn't be done without everybody working together. It's a group effort, we have a lot of help," Jones said. "It's great that everybody's working together."
According to her family, "If you have never met Alice, once you do you won't be a stranger for long." Jones has a knack for making people feel welcome and included, they said, and for getting others involved. She believes "everyone should have people to celebrate every holiday with," so her house is always open to visitors.