Glenwood Springs parade without the heat
Grand Avenue was lined with families Saturday — many with children eagerly awaiting candy — along with scores of dogs, for the 2015 Strawberry Days Parade.
Many of the families brought fold-out chairs to get prime spots on the Grand Avenue curb, then waited in the shade for the parade to begin ion a warm, clear morning.
The Martinez family from Chihuahua, a small Mexican town that borders Texas, had been to the parade before, but Mira and Oscar’s children, 3-year-olds Gabriel and Oscar Jr., along with 10-year-olds Randy and Nancy Gomez, were excited. They sat on the curb, drinking water and chit-chatting, waiting for the action, including scrambling for candy tossed by parade participants.
Aaron and Chrissi Nikkel of Glenwood Springs hung back on a bench; Chrissi with 7-month-old Westly in her arms and their half-asleep dog, Yodi, under their feet. Chrissi’s sister Jannae was nearby with the Nikkels’ other children, 7-year-old Brooks and 9-year-old Donnelle. Chrissi has always gone to Strawberry Days, but had never had a chance to see the parade because of working Saturdays.
Kim Harbour and Rachel Armstrong were also hanging back on a bench with their children, 10-year-old Olivia, and 9-year-old Zander. They, too, live in Glenwood and it was their 13th time going to the parade. Olivia remarked that it was her 10th time going because she went as a baby.
“We’ve been doing this a long time,” Armstrong said.
Jose and Sadie Gonzalez from Rifle were there with their children, 2-year-old Katarina, 6-year-old Kaden and 7-year-old Chloe. Sadie was born in Glenwood and can’t miss the fun.
“We do it every year,” Jose said.
NOTHING LIKE THIS IN VEGAS
The concept of a small-town parade was new for the Henriksen family. The family, consisting of Scott and Jennifer with their two kids, Emily, 12, and Ryan, 10, just moved to Glenwood Springs one week ago from Las Vegas.
Scott is a pastor and came to Glenwood to be an assistant pastor at the Calvary Chapel.
Scott said his brother-in-law in Carbondale told their family all about Strawberry Days and the parade, and they had read about it.
“We’re very excited that it [Strawberry Days] happens to be the first week we’re here,” Jennifer said.
As for Emily and Ryan, the two didn’t really know what to expect. Emily recently got her braces off, so she was staying safe with the candy.
But her brother didn’t have much restraining him. She said he got a lot of candy.
Jennifer said though it’s been a week, they love the area and are in awe of the beauty of the town.
“The sense of community is something that really appeals to us as a family,” she said.
From Parker, Colorado, Jason and Stacy Beechum were there with their children, 4-year-old Dane and 6-year-old Trey, also sitting curbside.
“We go every year,” Trey said.
Joey Antonides has lived in Glenwood for 17 years and tries to attend the parade whenever she can.
Her son Ty Antonides and granddaughter Pyper, 7, join Joey when they can make it from Denver.
“We’ve been up a couple of times,” Ty said.
Pyper sat on a blanket, shaded by an umbrella on the sidewalk, waiting for the candy to come her way.
The 7-year-old shyly stated that “chocolate,” is her favorite candy.
Joey’s friend Melissa English, a 36-year resident of Glenwood, joined the group.
Noting the hundreds of people arriving around her a half-hour before the parade started, English said she’s never seen it so busy.
“It’s fun to see the local community participate,” she said.
‘ALL THE CANDY’
Seated on the corner sidewalk near Kaleidoscoops, Asher Pauley, 6, and Cole Pauley, 4, basked in the sun waiting for the parade.
This was the young brothers’ first time at the Strawberry Days Parade, along with sister their Ella, 2, and their parents and grandparents.
The Pauley and Hernandez families hail from Denver, but came to Strawberry Days to celebrate Ella’s second birthday, which happened to be the day of the parade.
“It was a good excuse to come,” said Ella’s mom, Shayla. “She’s going to meet Strawberry Shortcake in the park later,” she said of Ella.
As the fire trucks and floats came by, Asher and Cole became eager and excited. Holding his plastic grocery bag, Cole showed off the variety of Dum Dum suckers and Tootsie Rolls he already collected.
“I got all of the candy!” he shouted with a grin on his face, plucking more sweets from the sidewalk.
Ian Fuentes’ pants pockets were loaded with wrappers and candy. But he separated them accordingly: wrappers from devoured candy in one, and new candy in the other.
Ian’s brothers Hillel and Asaf joined in the candy-collecting process.
Among family and friends with the boys was Zabadi Fuentes of Silt, who said she’s been coming to the parade nearly every year.
Zabadi said she loves seeing people she knows in the parade and “being supportive of people in the parade,” as it’s a hometown environment.
Hillel said his favorite candy is Dum Dum suckers, and he liked that “they throw candy a lot,” during the parade.
Ian said liked everything about the parade, from “the candy and the noise and the stickers.”
Ryan Blake couldn’t keep away from his hometown during Strawberry Days.
“It’s nice to come back,” Blake said. “It’s the small-town feel. I really like that.”
Blake, along with his girlfriend Samantha Yacovetta and her daughter Maya, 5, leisurely watched the floats go by.
The couple, who live in Montrose, were celebrating their one year anniversary at Strawberry Days.
Maya patiently waited for candy to be tossed her way and waited by Blake and her mom in the shade. The cup holder of Blake’s chair was nearly full of an assortment of suckers, which Maya had put there for safekeeping.
Notably, Maya seemed to have a sweet tooth when she voiced her favorite part about the parade.
“That I keep on getting candy,” she said with a giggle.
It’s been three years since the Queen family got to enjoy the Strawberry Days Parade.
Matthew and Donna Queen came from North Carolina for the parade, but Matthew, grew up in Glenwood.
The Queens move often, as Matthew serves in the Marine Corps. However, Matthew said they try to come back for Strawberry Days as often as possible.
“It’s part of what makes this community special,” Matthew said. “It’s really neat that my wife and daughters can come experience it,” he said.
The Queens’ two daughters, Faith, 10, and Alexa, 7, sat on a shaded blanket with their cousin Harper Kerst, 3.
“I haven’t been here for a long time,” Faith said.
Donna said the Strawberry Days Parade is a fun family activity that creates memories.
“It’s something that the kids will remember,” Donna said.
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