For more than 100 years, the downtown streets of Steamboat Springs fill up with cowboys and horses and kids with no fear. The annual Winter Carnival delights the locals and the visitors to this northern Colorado mountain town. It’s also a way of honoring Steamboat’s ranching heritage. Winter Carnival festivities will take place Feb. 5-9, 2014.

The street events are a highlight. Dump trucks deliver truckloads of snow to Lincoln Avenue overnight and fill the street, making it a ski course. Then the ranchers show up with their horses to start pulling the local kids down the main drag. Kids can do a slalom course, go Ski Joring or Ring & Box, or hit the big donkey jump at the end of the street, smack dab in front of F.M. Light. That’s the cowboy store in town which has been around even longer than Winter Carnival.

Action is also at Howelsen Hill with big jumps, jam sessions in the park, mountain snow biking, tubing and the Saturday night Extravaganza with the famous Lighted Man, followed by fireworks.

Sunday is the big Diamond Hitch Parade down Lincoln Avenue, which includes the famous marching band from Steamboat Springs High School. But they aren’t marching. They’re on skis!

Everything is basically free at Winter Carnival, but you need to buy a Winter Carnival button from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to watch or participate in some of the events. The buttons are for sale all over town.