Parking supervisor: Busiest summer day I’ve ever seen
VAIL — Kevin Berga has been Vail’s parking supervisor for 12 years. He’s seen a few days where all the parking lots in town are full and 800 or 900 cars spill over onto the frontage roads, but on Saturday, his team counted 1,024 cars on the streets.
It was the biggest summer count he has ever recorded in his time on the job. (In early 2014, a count of 1,070 was recorded during a powdery weekend in January.)
“There were over 800 cars on the South Frontage Road, which we have seen before,” Berga said. “But I’ve never seen another 150 or so go to the North Frontage Road, and I couldn’t believe it when I saw we had cars parked all the way up Spraddle Creek Road almost to the gate.”
Ordinarily, Vail parking crews would attempt to corral the North Frontage Road and Spraddle Creek cars over to the South Frontage Road, but “with the volume and the speed at which people were coming in, we didn’t have the resources to guard all those areas,” Berga said.
Also, added Berga, “A lot of those people who were poaching those places just park, hit the parade and leave, they’re locals and they know we don’t do too much enforcement on the Fourth of July because it’s just not American to get a parking ticket on the Fourth of July.”
WINNING LAWN CHAIRS
It was the Vail America Days Independence Day Parade that drew the crowds to town Saturday morning, a celebration as classic as the cars it featured.
The Eagle River Fire & Protection District had their 1946 GMC Fire Truck poised and polished for the event, Minturn Anglers had Sasquach riding shotgun in a vintage Land Cruiser pulling a drift boat, and the new business Green Elephant Juicery rolled through town in a 1937 Jaguar with a tag on the back that read “My other car is a juice bike.”
It was owner Leo Flynn’s first time participating in the parade.
“My friend Al Harness lent us the car,” he said.
Also celebrating their first time in the parade were new members of the Vail Precision Lawn Chair Demonstration Team, Alex Ruben, 21, Justin Ruben, 17, and Josh Franklin, 21. The Precision Lawn Chair Demonstration Team won the award for Best Marching Band/Musical, no thanks to Franklin and the Ruben brothers.
“We only got like a week to learn the moves,” Alex Ruben said. “We were in the back row and we kept screwing up, we could hear people saying ‘those guys need to practice more.’”
USA CULTURE, SUBCULTURE
For those sporting the American classic Daisy Duke cutoff jean shorts, the sunny weather was perfect. For those in full black founding fathers’ outfits with silver powdered wigs, like Sheriff James van Beek, it may have been a bit uncomfortable.
“It is a little hot under this wig,” van Beek said. “But after four and a half years in Afghanistan, I guess I should be able to handle it.”
American culture, and American counter-culture, were both well represented at the event. Eagle resident Jake Koch said he added “a little extra love” to his mohawk, a hairstyle which signifies defiance and was named after native Americans. Decked out in red, white and blue from head to toe, Californian Logan Azzolina, 7, cruised through the streets on his skateboard, a truly American subculture sport that was born in his home state. And Vail resident Tanner John Miller wore his Ravinos patch on his back, a nod to the rebellious motorcycle clubs of the post-WWII era in the USA.
Seth Molina, 16, volunteered as a junior police officer, working crowd control. Molina is the president of the Vail Junior Chapter of the Canine Companions for Independence, who won best float at the parade. His sister, 13-year-old Tali Molina, has volunteered with Canine Companions for Independence for five years and has participated in the parade every year. Her friend Taleigh Davis, 10, helped design the award-winning float with her brother, Jordan Davis, and their parents, Lindsey and Craig Davis.
“The kids designed it from scratch,” Lindsey Davis said.
Jordan Davis said the idea started as a simple wagon with some dogs in it.
“We started it as idea to get more people to our Dogfest Walk ‘N Roll July 11 at Freedom Park, but then we got snowmobiles and a trailer and it just kept growing,” Jordan Davis said.
Canine Companions for Independence volunteer Stephanie Samuelson and her daughter, Grace, said they thought it was the larger-than-life stuffed animal dogs that clinched the victory for them.
A large black Lab, and another large yellow Lab/golden retriever mix, stuffed and standing 6-feet tall, were visible by all who could see the float passing through the crowds.
“The stuffed animals were modeled after two of our service dogs, Mera and Tyler,” Stephanie Samuelson said. “People just love them.”