Scaling the wall

Anthony Stewart, 6, scurries up a climbing wall, which was one of the many activities for children along with face painting, fly-fishing demonstration and contest, and bike decorating and rodeo during the Spring Fling in March 2015 along 12th Street next to the Irma Hotel.

More than two dozen members of the Billings Caledonian Pipes and Drums corps will perform March 12 in the 16th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Cody. 

Preceding the parade will be Spring Fling activities on 12th Street by the Irma Hotel.

The bagpipers and drummers will also participate in the evening pub crawl, said organizer Kim Darby, head of the Cody Events Committee of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce.

“They love this event,” she said of the musicians. “They’re so much fun at the end of the night.”

The crawl starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Irma, then moves to Pat O’Hara at 6:30, Cassie’s at 7:30, Silver Dollar at 8:30 and returns to the Irma at 9:30. The Irma provides room and board for the corps, Darby said, and Cody Trolley will provide transportation.

The parade will begin at 4 p.m., led by the VFW Honor Guard. Entry forms are available on the chamber website, due by 5 p.m. March 10.

“We’re still accepting entries,” said Darby, who is hoping for a tractor submission. “It’s so Cody. Any mounted entry we love, and we love floats.”

She also hopes the children who participate in the bike-decorating during Spring Fling will ride in the parade. Other activities on 12th Street will include a youth fly-casting contest from 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. sponsored by North Fork Anglers and The Orvis Co., open to ages 9-12 who must be accompanied by an adult. It’s limited to 15 participants; registration forms are available on the chamber website. Equipment will be provided as well as prizes for all entries.

The bike-decorating, with an array of adornments provided, will run 1-3 p.m. Other activities will include an obstacle course for various age groups, Run Amok Ranch Petting Zoo and face-painting by Mrs. Wyoming Emily Blair and Ms. Wyoming Robyn Beadles.

The Park County Animal Shelter will display dogs and cats, and Kettle Korn will be available. The Irma will sell hotdogs on the porch and donate some of the proceeds to the events committee. 

“There will be prizes for all games and participants,” Darby said. “We want kids to enjoy the whole day. We’ve centered the Spring Fling around children because the evening is for adults.”

The Spring Fling incorporates a St. Patrick’s theme in a program called “Saving of the Green,” in which participating downtown merchants will display shamrocks in their windows to indicate special deals on certain merchandise. 

While the parade began in 2000, the Spring Fling wasn’t launched until 2012.

“We’ve really started to grow that,” Darby said. “It’s something nice for downtown after a long winter. We’re dying for people to come out and shop and enjoy downtown.”

The co-owner of the Colonel Cody Gift Shop at the Irma, Darby has led the events committee for nine years.

“We’re not only business owners, we’re also community volunteers. They love this event,” she said. “I’m always looking for warm bodies.” 

Downtown businesses will offer special deals to shoppers, while several merchants will host store-front activities for all ages, added chamber executive director Tina Hoebelheinrich. She’s enthusiastic about the Saturday programs.

“Being part of my first community event has been very rewarding,” she said. “It is great to see so many dedicated individuals come to the table and work hard to create and sustain such a fun event for our community.” 

Hoebelheinrich noted a new element, a treasure map, designed to guide people around the activities and discounts featured in the Spring Fling.

“The treasure map will help keep you in the search for your pot o’ gold,” she said. “Individuals who turn in their treasure maps will be eligible to win several gift baskets and even a new bike.” 

Fremont Beverages/Pepsi donated the bike.

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