Sunshine and Strawberries
With a chill in the air, parade entries and floats lined up along Ninth Street in downtown Glenwood Springs early Saturday morning for the annual Strawberry Days Parade.
Less then a block away, a slow trickle of cautious parade-goers began lining Grand Avenue an hour before the start, with the wrath of Mother Nature Friday evening on opening day of the festival still fresh on their minds.
As the start time approached, the clouds parted and the sun lit up the downtown corridor with a warm glow for Glenwood visitors to bask in.
“It is nice to get everybody out here, I love having a beautiful day like today, so everyone can come out to see the different businesses,” Glenwood Springs resident Chris Spence said.
Spence, who lives just a block off of Grand Avenue, has been coming to the parade and festival for more than 20 years.
“It’s fun to come out and see everybody, watch all the floats and groups come through, and just enjoy it,” Spence said.
Spence said he also likes to go listen to the music, have a little dinner, and enjoy friends and camaraderie at the park.
For Violet Rippy, 13, of Glenwood Springs, and most children anxiously waiting for the parade, it is all about the treats.
“My favorite part about the parade is the candy and the strawberries of course,” Violet said.“My grandma has a strawberry patch in the community garden, and right about now it is filled with ripe strawberries, so we bring them home and eat them.”
Violet enjoyed the parade with four siblings and her mom, DeeDee Rippy.
“It’s a fun community event,” DeeDee said. “My husband grew up here, we have a lot friends come back to town, it is fun to see old faces and meet new faces.
“We always run into old friends, and the kids enjoy the activities.”
Led by the Grand Marshals — Glenwood Springs’ Class of 1955, who rode in two classic red convertibles — the 2019 edition of the parade made its way down Grand Avenue to the cheers of the crowd and echoes of children laughing as they clamored for candy.
For Glenwood resident Jim Ingraham, all the people and fun stuff to buy is his favorite part about the parade and festival.
“Thank gosh the rain went away,” Ingraham, who has been coming to the event for six years, said. “I’m part of the Rotary, and Sunday we do the pancake breakfast, I’m usually in the park cooking pancakes; that’s a lot of fun.”
With the temperature approaching 60 degrees, the sea of faces stretched over the mile long parade route from Ninth Street to Park Drive, just past Sayre Park.
Longtime Glenwood resident Zona Hays, has been coming to the Strawberry Days parade for decades.
“I think I saw my first one in 1973,” Hays said. “It’s a tradition.”
Hays, who is a big fan of music, said that is her favorite part of the festival.
She was a little disappointed by this year’s parade, and said she misses all the bands that used to take part. Hays added that she was looking forward to the music in the park Saturday evening, but with the weather being less then cooperative, she planned to stay home.
“The music and the food are my favorite at the park, they have a lot of good music,” Hays said. “I’m going to stay close to home; I will get out on my deck and listen.”
As the last float coasted by with the street sweeper following closely, the wave of people made their way down Grand Avenue toward Sayre Park as the first rain drops of the day began to fall on the lower Roaring Fork Valley.
The 122nd annual Strawberry Days Festival will wrap-up Sunday with events including the Rotary pancake breakfast, Strawberry Shortcut, a pie eating contest and more.
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Fire investigators are still working on determining the cause of Tuesday’s house fire in Glenwood Springs, which left no one injured but caused extensive damage.