There was a time when the Kiwanis Club of Craig struggled to sell tickets to its annual play, club member Jeff Corriveau said.
Judging by the number of people camping out Friday for the first crack at sales, that was a long time ago.
"This whole thing," Corriveau said while surrounded by an assortment of residents braving the elements of a cold Northwest Colorado winter's day, "has just kept growing and growing."
About 50 people were huddled Friday afternoon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post No. 4265, awaiting ticket sales to begin at 6 p.m. for the 61st annual Kiwanis play.
Corriveau said he expected tickets would sell out shortly after 7 p.m. That translates into about 900 tickets, he said.
"This is a demonstration of how little there is to do in the middle of the winter in Craig," Corriveau quipped.
The play, scheduled for March 2 and 3 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion, is a satirical look at the past year, poking fun at a wide range of community members and political developments.
The performance is Kiwanis' biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from the play are funneled back into the community.
Kiwanis member Jack Reed worked the lines Friday, basically serving as a pit boss, ensuring sure there was no funny business by people waiting in line. He said people began camping out Wednesday morning.
Reed said campers outlasted inclement weather, uncomfortable conditions and below freezing temperatures for a chance to buy plush seats for the play.
Campers were tucked away in tents, trailers, behind tarps and even out in the open of the chilly winds. And, it wasn't a rare occurrence to see a camper warming up their blood via a libation.
"The really tough ones are sitting in the chairs," Reed said. He added, "I think its part of (the tradition). Some people enjoy this just as much as the play."
Craig resident Cindi Crabtree waited at the head of the line Friday. A group of her friends and family traded rotations to wait for play tickets. Their group was the first, beginning the two-day campout around 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Crabtree, who'd been waiting for tickets on and off this week, slept in her car Thursday. She was perched on a chair Friday behind a tarp surrounded by space heaters.
The ticket campout is an 18-year tradition for her and her friends and family.
"It's social, and the Kiwanis do good things for Craig so that's got to count for something," she said. "It's lots of fun. It's the highlight of social activities for winter.
"But, I'll definitely be ready to go home and take a shower."
Carol Talbot's group also began their campout Wednesday, around noon. They were second in line to Crabtree's group.
"We're here and it's almost over," Talbot said. "It will be worth it."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.