Return of GOWD to downtown could mean greater success

Monday's Grand Olde West Days events will again be held in historic downtown Craig after a three-year break from that venue.

Excitement about the return means the day will be filled with events giving residents and visitors not only a reason to head downtown but to stay there.

In addition to music from one end of the street to the other, there will be activities for children and adults, as well as food and shopping.

According to Pam Foster, owner of Pam Designs and one of the event's organizers, there will be about 14 food vendors and 25 arts and crafts vendors with more signing up every day.

Visitors looking for a tangible taste of the Old West will have a huge variety of items to choose from, including log furniture, Western jewelry, lasso art, wood and glass engravings, horseshoe art, quilts, painted feathers, pottery, antlers, handmade soap and much more.

"What's nice is we really have a nice mixture of in-town and out-of-town vendors," Foster said. "It's going to be a busy street and that's what makes it more fun."

Yampa Avenue will be closed from Fourth to Sixth streets for

the festivities.

There also will be an amateur quick draw contest, surprising "Olde Tyme" reenactments, an antique tractor display and a roving rope spinner -- Marvin Martin and his trained ropes.

Martin will do two shows, one at approximately 11 a.m. and one at approximately 1 p.m.

"He'll be kind of like a Pied Piper, gathering his crowd as he performs," said Carol Wilson, another of the event's organizers. "Everything is going to be going on at the same time and kind of overlapping."

A gold panning display will be in front of Neolithics with the "We'd Rather Be Prospecting" club demonstrating the art of gold panning and allowing people to try their hands at dredging for a fortune.

Wilson said participants in Monday's events are encouraged to dress in period costume -- as cowboys, mountain men and Western ladies.

"It seems to me like it's shaping up well," Wilson said. "There's lots of community involvement and lots of folks willing to help with their time or donations. We've gotten a lot of feedback from people who like having the Monday events back in the downtown area."

Children will be especially delighted with the small Ferris wheel, moon bounce and train rides.

Moffat County 4-H groups will be sponsoring a Kidz Midway with games and prizes.

"We've got a whole bunch of different prizes in all different sizes," said Nate Balstad, CSU Moffat County Cooperative Extension agent.

Activities will include a roping game, basketball game, water balloons, horseshoes for children and a washers game. There will also be a large inflatable.

There is a small charge for participating -- 4-H clubs aren't hoping to make a profit, Balstad said, just cover their costs.

"The Downtown Business Association has gone to a lot of work to put together an event and I think clubs and organizations need to participate and put together activities," Balstad said about why the Midway was organized. "Besides, the kids wanted to do it."

Foster said the event is taking shape beyond anything the Downtown Business Association expected.

"I just kept hoping it would be (a large event), but we kept hitting these voids and now it's just all coming together," she said.

In addition to the downtown events, The Memorial Hospital is sponsoring a 5k run/walk, which begins at 8 a.m. at the corner of Sixth Street and Yampa Avenue. The entry fee is $10 and includes a T-shirt.

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

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