Our view: Where West meets Whittle

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Craig Editorial Board, April 2009 to July 2009

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Joshua Roberts, newspaper representative
  • Amy Fontenot, newspaper representative
  • Bernie Rose, community representative
  • Bill Lawrence, community representative
  • Brenda Lyons, community representative

Our view

With Whittle the Wood such a success, and Grand Olde West Days lagging behind, organizers should consider combining the two.

As school comes closer to an end and the cool temperatures of winter gradually give way to sunshine and warm weather, we draw near the light and breezy months of summer.

And with summer in Craig and Moffat County comes recreational activity and local festivities. Of conversation for the Editorial Board on Monday were two of our community's most prominent events - Whittle the Wood and Grand Olde West Days.

Interest in Grand Olde West Days, hosted each year in May, has waned to the point that it is merely a shell of its former self. By contrast, Whittle the Wood's drawing power brings thousands to town each June and has never been greater.

Maybe you can tell where the Editorial Board is heading - it just makes sense to combine the two events into one large, summer blockbuster of a festival.

Or, at the very least, for a committee of organizers from both events to explore the possibility.

Although seemingly on life support, Grand Olde West Days is not without its share of possibilities for resurrection.

Originally designed as a festival to attract out-of-towners and infuse the local economy, Grand Olde West Days did just that for a number of years.

What we see now - typically poor weather, the same volunteers and vendors and small turnout - pales by comparison.

Injecting Grand Olde West Days into the same time period as Whittle the Wood may cause some logistical headaches - parking, for one - but many issues could be fixed with simple planning.

But, it could hardly be denied that fusing the two at the hip would be good for all involved.

More people would turn out and with more people come more vendors. Businesses could remain open and cash in on increased foot traffic. And, Craig and Moffat County would be home to a mega-summer event, giving Whittle an even bolder signature than it has now.

As far as the Editorial Board can tell, there is no downside to both running parallel lives.

When it comes to improving our community's events, there is no shortage of ideas.

For instance, one idea the Editorial Board discussed Monday was implementing a First Friday downtown. First Fridays are used in other communities as a way to showcase the work of local artists, provide bars and restaurants with a built-in customer base and stimulate the economy.

To the Editorial Board, it seems that our community already has given a test run of sorts to a First Friday in the annual Art Walk event, which has become popular.

We already have learned what works and what doesn't. Why not give First Fridays a test drive?

Events such as Grand Olde West Days, Whittle the Wood and others remain successful only if they stay fresh. Without new ideas, they grow stale and withered.

We've seen this begin to happen with Grand Olde West Days. It's time to save it and other events from a similar fate.

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