Vail Valley Democrats rejoice at Obama party |

Vail Valley Democrats rejoice at Obama party

Chris Outcalt
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyVail Valley democrats inauguration party goers dance after watching part of President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony Tuesday night at dish! in Edwards, Colorado.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Tuesday was one of the best days of Nancy Schmidt’s life.

The 60-year-old Eagle, Colorado resident volunteered hours of her time registering Vail Valley voters at local high schools prior to the November election. She was excited when Barack Obama was elected. And on Tuesday, she celebrated.

“I believe in the hope he brought to all of us,” said Schmidt, who joined a jubilant group of Democrats at dish! restaurant on Tuesday night to celebrate the inauguration of the 44th president.

Dish! executive chef Jenna Johansen prepared some of the Obamas’ favorite foods for the event, and the president’s inauguration speech was replayed on a giant projection screen in the corner of the restaurant.

“You could feel the ground swell,” said Eagle resident Susie Kincade, who helped organize the event. “People want to have a better world.”

Evie Rosen-Budd felt like she woke up Tuesday to a different world.

“We have a different America,” said the 75-year-old Edwards resident. “It was one of the most colorful crowds I’ve ever seen ” it was gorgeous.”

Carol Onderdonk, co-chair of the Eagle County Democrats, was flooded with a sense of relief at 10 a.m. Tuesday ” the moment Obama officially became president.

“We finally have a president that understands what’s going on,” Onderdonk said. “It was all about hate and fear and war (in the Bush administration), but our country’s potential is back.”

But as excited as Rosen-Budd and Onderdonk were about Obama’s election and inauguration, both cautioned that the change he has preached about for months won’t come overnight.

“He still plans to do all the same things, it might just take longer,” Onderdonk said.

“Change is going to be gradual,” Rosen-Budd said. “It’s up to every single one of us to make it happen.”

Kincade is willing to wait for that change.

“I don’t think he’s trying to be anyone’s hero, and that’s good.” Kincade said.

Edwards resident Lainie Edinburg joined her friend Anne Roberts and hordes of others at dish! in singing and dancing to celebrate the evening. Edinburg, a lawyer, volunteered her time on Election Day at the polls to make sure that everyone who was legally eligible to vote got a chance to. She did it because she felt she had to.

“I felt so strongly ” I sat there all day and watched people that hadn’t voted before,” Edinburg said. “Everybody wanted to vote.”

Roberts ” whose hair was pulled back from her face with a red, white and blue bandanna ” said she felt an unbelievable sense of pride Tuesday.

“The camaraderie of Americans,” she said. “That’s because of this man.”

Avon resident Harrel Lawrence did everything she could to help during the campaign because she wants to see the kind of change Obama has spoken about.

“I felt he was someone who really cared about everyone,” Lawrence said. “Now is the time we have to work together. He can’t do it alone.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or

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