With Durango in the midst of winter, which has so far brought snow, it means that the community’s largest celebration, Snowdown, is close at hand.
Two weeks from now, the event will be off to a start. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, a geyser of activities commences.
Look for broomball, outhouse stuffing, music trivia, a triathlon at Purgatory Resort which includes fat tire biking with skiing and shoe shoeing, costume contests and a Lego barefoot walk. And there is a magic carpet ride (don’t lose your balance), an ’80s video dance and hot-wing eating. And a couple of dozen other activities limited only by your imagination, thanks to the organizers.
This year’s theme, “A Comic-con Snowdown,” allows participants to draw from the expansive world of comic characters and events. Plenty of opportunities for material, for sure.
It is Friday evening’s parade that this editorial addresses.
Snowdown’s centerpiece, the parade, is by far Durango’s largest during the year. Tethered hot air balloons with their burners flaring produce the most oohs and aaahs, but a couple dozen civic clubs and youth groups will be in costume, carrying musical instruments, batons and folding chairs.
For a couple reasons, we urge that the parade on Friday get underway at 5 p.m. rather than at 6.
The light at 5 p.m. – almost dusk, really – would make it possible to better identify the entries and their participants, our neighbors and friends. After 6 p.m., it is too dark to read the signs they carry. Generators power partial lighting on the trucks and trailers in use, but many groups are afoot with not much more than flashlights.
The second reason has to do with safety. The portable barriers that the city erects keeps almost all spectators off the street, but there can be some gaps and a quick dash. More significantly, parade participants are a mix of walkers and riders, and the riders are on good-sized trucks and trailers. In the dark, we do not want someone – large or small – to be caught by a truck tire, or bumped by the edge of a trailer.
Will the balloons’ fire and heat be as much fun to experience, along with bobbing and bouncing flashlights, at 5:30, say, rather than an hour later? We think so. And the groups and individuals will be more visible and any dangers clearer.
The parade has traditionally begun at 6 p.m. so that attendees could find their seats in the theaters where the Follies begin at 7. With Follies tickets so difficult to come by, we doubt whether that applies to as large a percentage of the downtown crowd as it used to. It is the many restaurants which are full after the parade and that can begin at any time.
Let’s have the parade scheduled for 5 p.m., enjoy the participants’ imaginations and the lights, and probably a few degrees warmer temperature.
The Snowdown parade is a must event, and with a small amount of natural light, it will be even more appreciated.