A Grand tradition and celebration for Parachute
PARACHUTE, Colorado Where did the town of Parachutes name come from?Its a question nearly as old as the nearby majestic cliffs.Many would think of a parachute used to jump from an airplane, but thats not the case at all, according to longtime resident Ivo Lindauer said.He pulled out an old photocopy of a Grand Valley newspaper dated June 30, 1910, and there in black and white was the answer.This creek was known by the Ute Indian name Pahchouc, meaning twins or the same, and that the two mountains on each side of the mouth of the creek (Parachute) were known at that time among the Indians as the Pahchouc because of their similarity, the reporter wrote. Then later it was corrupted from Pah-chouc to Par-a-chute, which would follow very naturally.So there you have it. The town was originally named for the two mountains on each side of Parachute Creek. Lindauer knows all about that creek; he was born at the head of the creek in 1931. His fathers ranch was about 10 or 11 miles up the creek, and that posed quite a ride to school in the morning.It was a one room schoolhouse with three 5-year-olds in kindergarten. We all rode horses and I froze my face. We all ended up flunking, he said.Its just a little bit different getting to school today, thanks to big yellow busses and paved roads.Lindauer remembered his high school days when he was all about the rodeo and breaking horses, and was involved in Grand Valley Days back in the 1940s. He wasnt totally sure, but he thought that their old country western swing band, the Grand Valley Playboys, had played at one or two of the old gatherings.He was even the parade grand marshal in 2003, following in the footsteps of his father, who was grand marshal some 30 years before that, Lindauer said.There isnt an official grand marshal for this years celebration, set for Friday and Saturday, July 25-26. The town decided to recognize the families of anyone who was involved in the first 1908 Grand Valley Days.I think that is a great idea to honor people with relatives in the area who were at the first one, Lindauer said. This might bring people together better than in the past.The rodeo has always been Lindauers favorite part of the whole weekend, as it is Sherry Loschkes, a resident since 1953. The rodeo isnt her only draw, though. The parade is always a good time with all the decorated floats, she said.Lindauer, Loschke, and 41-year resident Judy Beasley stated the strong community atmosphere in Parachute, and they seem to usually run into old neighbors and friends that visit for the yearly celebration.The people here are very important to my feeling of community. A lot of people have committed themselves to helping this town and they do a wonderful job, Beasley said.I like getting to see people that come in for Grand Valley Days that I havent seen in quite some time. Some of them move away and come back for the entertaining, Loschke said. Im really glad they do.Many towns hold summertime parades and get-togethers. Some of the time its to recognize a certain event or it could be a regular yearly event.Grand Valley Days are filled with Americana, Beasley said. My son would decorate his bike and weve decorated probably 10 or 15 floats in the past. Time changes all things, and the Days have lost some of its flavor, but it still has the Americana.Beasley and her late husband, Dave, were grand marshals in 2005 and she, too, loves the idea of honoring families from the 1908 celebration.Its an excellent tribute to those families. Its almost as it should be. I hope they can get them all rounded up, Beasley said.
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