There’s no place like Strawberry Days
Post Independent Intern
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The 114th annual Strawberry Days Parade will be Jeannine Ford Artaz’s 45th Strawberry Days Parade to emcee and Paul Vandre’s 25th to film.
“I love being a part of the ambiance and letting people know what each group does,” Artaz said, “The parade is the culmination of the whole week.”
Ford Artaz, now 82, and Vandre plan to continue announcing the parade until she is 100.
“Paul made a deal with me. When I turn 100, that’s the last parade I’m going to be able to announce. I told him that’s 18 more years,” Artaz said. “And he says, ‘It’s OK, you’re going to make it, but we’re going to cut it off at 18, because I can’t handle it.'”
Artaz has been on the radio since she was 13 years old and appeared on television starting at age 21. Since then she has enjoyed holding a microphone in front of a camera.
To prepare for today’s parade, which starts at 10 a.m., she will look over the roster and read background information on the entrants. During the parade, Artaz will try to talk to people in the parade about the work they do.
Vandre said, “One of the things I like is when people stop and talk to Jeannine and she gets a chance to interview them a little bit.”
As the oldest continual community celebration west of the Mississippi River, the Strawberry Days Festival, Artaz said, represents Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley.
Vandre agreed: The Strawberry Days Festival “means everybody gets together, and you get to see people you haven’t seen all year,” he said.
Glenwood Springs is a small town where people care about their neighbors, Artaz said. This year’s Strawberry Days Festival theme, “There’s No Place Like Home,” captures her idea of this town, which has been her home for 46 years.
“I love the children’s floats and the dogs from CARE,” Ford Artaz said. “I just love the parade.” And she has enjoyed working with Vandre for the past 25 years.
“Paul is such an intricate part of my being out there. We are partners. He’s behind the camera shooting the parade itself, and we have such fun together,” she said.
The tradition continues today. Vandre and Artaz will broadcast the Strawberry Days Parade from outside Taipei Tokyo, at 1605 Grand Ave., beginning at 10 a.m.
For those who can’t make it, Vandre’s video of the parade will air on Cable 10 television immediately after the parade. It will be rebroadcast at least three times on Saturday afternoon and throughout the next week, at 3, 5, 9 and 11 a.m., and at 5 and 6 p.m.
“Please come to the parade and enjoy it,” Artaz said, because after all, there’s no place like home.
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.