If you fail to see the wonder in the 117th round of Strawberry Days festivities, try seeing the parade through the eyes of a child. You’ll notice a few differences from the adult perspective right off the bat. The sleekest sports car fades into the background while horses of any size or stripe catch your interest. The political candidates don’t seem all that important, either, though one young lad made a point to shake hands with Tom Jankovsky after he saw grownups doing the same.
Mostly, you’ll find that kids see just one real point to the whole hour-long affair.
Many floats opted for the safer route of handing sweets directly to spectators, but most kids seemed to prefer the simple pleasure of snatching something from the asphalt before anyone else has a chance to claim it. As the parade progressed, they pushed past the cones until officials were obliged to restore order.
The less candy-crazy, middle-school crowd found something else to occupy them in the June heat. Several floats boasted groups of youngsters armed with squirt guns, but their volleys at spectators remained mostly unrequited until the Tread Lightly truck was ambushed by the Phillips 66. Folks on the float and in the crowd ended up thoroughly soaked, and a freelance photographer was obliged to dry off his camera after shooting the scene.
Casey Ford was a last minute addition to the parade in a wagon pulled by a remote controlled car. Dan Fischer, the owner of the car, originally intended to ride it himself. Fischer does RC car modification out of his home in Conifer, and designed the 33-pound vehicle to tow upwards of 200 pounds.
“You can’t buy this on Amazon.”
Fischer did provide a few stock RC cars for kids to try out on a contained track at the northeast corner of Sayre Park. His website, kershawdesigns.com, is mostly for those who already own remote-control devices.
“I’m a designer at heart,” he said. “I like to create my own stuff from the ground up.”
It’s his first time bringing cars over to Glenwood, and he’s already planning to return. If he does, it might just be him riding in the wagon next year.
WAITING FOR A SIGN
In case you were wondering about the guy with the sign following the 101st Army Band but didn’t have courage to look yourself, tomatobubble.com bills itself as “The Mind-Altering Internet Classics of Alternative History, Philosophy and Current Events”, by Mike King. Major topics include New World Order, World War II, Conspiracy, Economics, and Hitler vs. Oprah. The tomato bubble is a reference to inflation and national debt.
Sara Wood brought a bubble of a more literal sort to Sayre Park. Wood, sporting fairy wings and the uncanny ability to create gigantic soap bubbles, drew crowds in her role as roaming entertainment. You can catch her at events throughout the valley, where she enjoys pulling smiles on people’s face.
The Strawberry Princess celebration has grown considerably since its inception four years ago. This year, the free program included 60 girls, ages 5-11. They attended a princess party on Thursday, paraded before the Miss Strawberry Days pageant on Friday, and received first place for their parade float with sponsor Once Upon a Child.
In more than one sense, they’re all winners.
“It’s definitely not a competition, it’s a celebration,” said Lorie Beattie Courier, organizer and former Miss Strawberry Days.
Courier says being a princess means learning the values of adventurousness, courage, and kindness.
“It certainly isn’t about being spoiled or coddled,” she asserted.
Most importantly, Courier hopes the event builds young girls’ self esteem and gives them a sense of their own uniqueness.
“We need not only to have people believe in us, but also believe in ourselves,” she observed.
STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM
When Strawberry Days was founded, the Glenwood Springs area produced more than enough fruit to cover the event. Now, though the shift from agriculture and mining to tourism has left strawberry farms few and far between, everyone still gets a chance to sample the event’s title food. Strawberries and cream are served after the parade every year, and often run out before noon. The canned strawberries are packaged by Monarch Foods and hail from California, but make for a refreshing treat nevertheless.
Danny and Sherry Brown’s carnival has been an important part of Strawberry Days since the 1990s. They originally set up in a vacant lot adjacent to the park that now hosts St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, then moved to the high school parking lot, and finally to the West Glenwood Mall.
Find more information at www.brownsamusements.com.
BOLT FROM THE BLUE
If the stray thunderclap on Saturday afternoon had you worried, have no fear. Sunday’s forecast calls for a cloudy morning for the Strawberry Shortcut, but zero percent chance of rain until the afternoon — and then only 20 percent.