Our View: Enjoy the celebration


It's not called "Grand Olde Wet Days" for nothing.

Moffat County's Memorial Day celebration has a reputation for being a damp and cold affair, although this year's forecast looks more promising.

Rain or shine, however, Grand Olde West Days is one of the most entertaining weekends to take place in the county, and we would be remiss if we didn't recognize the hard work that festival organizers put into staging the event each year.

For the past three years, the festival has enjoyed something of a resurgence. Members of the Downtown Business Association got involved in planning the event and orchestrated the return of the street festival to downtown Craig.

The organizing committee estimates that between 4,000 and 5,000 people attended GOWD events last year. The group hasn't been able to pinpoint the economic effect of the event, but the city's $8,500 contribution appears to be a worthwhile investment. The event draws visitors and locals, but beyond whatever money they spend during the festival, the event's biggest value is that it brings the community together.

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to be in Moffat County. The town swells with friends and relatives visiting from out of town to attend Moffat County High School's commencement ceremonies. The festival provides more diversion in three days than we usually get in a month, and the weekend incorporates the reason for the holiday: The VFW and the American Legion will perform their somber services to recognize our fallen servicemen and women.

July Fourth may turn Craig into a ghost town, but Memorial Day is our time to get out, celebrate the arrival of summer and enjoy one another's company.

For the GOWD organizers, the Memorial Day weekend is a payoff for a year's worth of planning.

They've added events throughout the years. This year, for example, we'll see chariot races for the first time and also get to sample the entries in a chili cook-off. Last night was the first Battle of the Bands.

The committee has put together a solid lineup of entertaining events.

At 1 p.m. today, the GOWD parade makes its way through Craig. The parade route travels south on Yampa Avenue, proceeds west on Victory Way, turns north at Ledford Street and continues past Sunset Meadows and Sandrock Ridge Care Facility.

The parade will be followed by the first day of chariot races at the fairgrounds and the first day of the antique tractor pull downtown.

The bull-riding competition wraps up today's events at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds. And there's still Sunday and Monday to go.

If you get a chance, show your appreciation for a first-rate celebration by thanking one of the following committee members: Jackie Roberts, Mary Kay Sherman, Nadine Daszkiewicz, Tammy Thompson, Jonny Sherman, Carol Wilson, Pam Foster, Chuck Cobb, Andy Bullen, Karen Brown and Cathy Vanatta.

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