Cañon City, Colo. — People arrived in Cañon City before 11 a.m. Saturday morning to get into position with their floats — and already the city was swarming with people. There would be 50 thousand visitors in Cañon City before the end of the day.

All for the grand opening of tourist season.

Nothing represents Cañon City more than an outdoor-themed float with a white-water raft. Credit: Dez Rowe

“Close to 85 years on the Blossom Parade and this is our very first year to participate so we’re very excited about that,” said Sam Banning, owner of HomeSmart Preferred Realty.

Banning and his team put together their float a few weeks earlier in preparation for the big day. And from veterans to first-timers, the parade included something for everyone to love.

“I’d say we’ve probably been in the parade probably 20, 25 times since 1967,” said JoBeth Palmer, Fremont County Headstart director.

For this parade veteran, this will be her last year as the director of Fremont County Headstart, but it’s also the year her float won first place in the “School” category.

“It was the topping on the cake it was just the most awesome,” Palmer said. “You know, we’ve had floats in the Blossom Parade many, many times. This is the first time we’ve had this kind of… and it really is due to the diligence of the staff.”

Everyone was encouraged to come out and enjoy the parade from people to furry friends. Credit: Dez Rowe

The parade is notorious in Southern Colorado, but it wasn’t always what it is today.

“It started as a music festival and it really is such a quintessential part of being in Cañon City,” said Della Rieger, HomeSmart Preferred Realty real estate agent.

It has become such a huge part of Cañon City, people participating said that it perfectly embodies the spirit of their town.

“Cañon is a very hometown community and everybody loves everybody, so we all get along and it’s good to see everybody and wave at everybody as we go down the parade,” Banning said.

This community is what draws people from all over to play here and live here.

“We moved here about fifteen years ago from Kansas and we love it, we wanted to be closer to the mountains and it’s a great small town,” Rieger said.

For a schedule of the weekend events, you can click here.