Committee, community gear up for GOWD

It's out with the old and in with the ... old for Grand Olde West Days organizers who are finding the revived event is shaping up to look much like it has in the past.

The original intent was to take what has been for the past 12 years a four-day Memorial Weekend event and keep at least one day of activities alive. But the Downtown Business Association, which took over when the original committee disbanded, found it wasn't alone in wanting to make sure the unique festival didn't die.

"People would come up to us and say, 'How can you not do such-and-such event,' and we'd tell them we didn't have enough people, so they said, 'We'll do it,'" Downtown Business Association member Nadine Daszkiewicz said. "I'm just so excited so many people are coming out to help."

That's how Jackie Chase got involved. She found out Thursday when she went to put an entry in the annual Grand Olde West Days Parade that there wasn't going to

be one.

"I went the other night to (a GOWD committee member) and was told there wasn't going to be a parade and I said, 'Oh, yes there is,'" she said.

So now a parade will be part of a weekend full of events.

"I have a big family and we'll all just pitch in together," Chase said. "At this late date, I'm not sure how many people will have time to do floats, but the response looks really good so far."

Because of community volunteers, the association is able to offer events such as a motorcycle show, a petting zoo, a fast-draw competition, Old West reenactments and the bull-riding event.

The bull-riding event was brought to Craig in conjunction with GOWD three years ago and set record numbers for spectators in its first year.

"Never in a million years did I think we'd be able to do the bull riding," Daszkiewicz said.

But a man approached the committee and said he'd teach members what they would need to know to get the event off the ground and the bull riding was once again on the weekend schedule.

Committee division, lack of participation and a decision to move all events to the Moffat County Fairgrounds are the factors attributed to the downfall of Grand Olde West Days. Until a few years ago, all Monday events were held in historic downtown Craig. The decision to move those events to the fairgrounds was based on the money that would be saved by not having to move equipment and vendors, but attendance declined.

After the committee made the formal announcement that it was disbanding -- which meant the end of a traditional event -- members of the Downtown Business Association approached the Craig City Council requesting funds to continue at least Monday's portion of the events.

"If we hadn't gotten the support from the city, we wouldn't be able to do this at all," Daszkiewicz said.

The city contributed the $8,500 it had budgeted to lend to the original GOWD committee, only this time it isn't a loan. It's considered money well spent.

"I tend to believe that's a weekend we should continue to promote," Mayor Dave DeRose said. "We already (had) the money in the budget."

There's a lot of enthusiasm from both the committee and the community surrounding the revived Grand Olde West Days, Daszkiewicz said.

"It'll be held rain or shine," she said, referring to the questionable weather that usually surrounds the event. "We have a ton of tents, so nothing will get rained out."

Yampa Avenue will be closed for two blocks north of Victory Way for Monday's events.

The committee is still seeking volunteer actors for the reenactments and food and craft vendors.

Call any member of the Downtown Business Association for more information.


For more information, contact Carol at 824-4580 or visit www.grandoldewestdays.com.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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