Olde West Days a success

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Carol Wilson breathed a deep sigh of relief Monday night before falling fast asleep on her couch. The 14th annual Grand Olde West Days celebration was over.

"Months of planning came to fruition," Wilson said.

Wilson, owner of Neolithics and an organizing committee member, said she estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 visitors strolled through Monday's street fair. That's double what they estimated from last year's event, said J'Lea Driver, another committee member and owner of Serendipity Coffee Shop.

Staff at the Museum of Northwest Colorado counted 1,126 visitors to the museum Monday.

Wilson said she saw license plates from Wyoming, Nebraska and Idaho and overheard many positive comments throughout the day.

The committee organized the event last year, too, and Driver, who is in charge of food vendors, said they're learning how to make it better.

Last year was her first time working with food vendors.

"I just assumed you let anyone who wants to come, come. You don't," Driver said. This year, she limited the vendors to one for each type of food and they all did well, she said.

Wilson said they also changed the way the vendors were placed in response to feedback they received last year.

Next year, Driver said she'd like to see more variety in craft vendors, more Western things going on and more street entertainment. This year, two street performers canceled.

"In the old days, there were (staged) gun fights and bank robberies," Driver said.

Wilson said the all-volunteer committee has been planning for the event for nine to 10 months. Wilson said it was a lot of work, but that it was fun.

"(The event) offers an opportunity for community members to rekindle friendships," Wilson said.

For Driver, it's about building community.

"It's just a chance to give back, because that's who supports us -- the community," Driver said.

Wilson said they have about 200 surveys from visitors, and the committee will evaluate those comments for next year. She also encouraged people to get in touch with committee members either to get involved or to share comments about this year's event. She stressed the need for positive comments so that committee members know what to keep next year.

Wilson said it's too early to know whether the committee is in the black.

"There is more money still coming in and going out," she said.

The city of Craig provides $8,500 for the festival, Wilson said.

"We definitely appreciate the City Council's continued support of Grand Olde West Days and the trust that they have in us to manage the funds," Wilson said.

To submit your comments on Grand Olde West Days, call Wilson at 824-4580 or visit www.craigdailypress.com and click on "Reader Forum."

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