Parrotheads hosts music, art festival

If you go

What: Art in the Parking Lot

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: The parking lot at the corner of Victory Way and Tucker Street, west of JW Snacks

Cost: Admission is free. There will be local art vendors and live music, as well as a silent auction and food and drinks.

Music always has been a part of Beth Gilchrist's life.

It started when her mother taught music in Moffat County.

It carried over when Gilchrist became a charter member of the Sweet Adelines in the 1980s.

It continues today when she looks at the students who scamper through the halls of Craig Middle School, where Gilchrist works.

Thus, it came to be that she joined the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads, an organization that has dedicated itself to encouraging music education in the Moffat County School District.

"The students need the arts," Gilchrist said. "It's an important part of the well-rounded child."

The Parrotheads have donated musical instruments to local students and are working with two of the district's music directors, John Bolton and Craig Smith, to find instruments that are needed at local schools and provide scholarships to music camps.

The group plans to further its goals in music education by hosting "Art in the Parking Lot" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot at Victory Way and Tucker Street, west of JW Snacks.

At least 10 local artists plan to set up booths for the event, Parrotheads member Laurie Herring said, with wares from sculptures to tie-dyes. Organizers also plan to have live music through most of the afternoon.

Two to three different food vendors will provide lunch, Herring said.

Admission is free. The group plans to raise money through a silent auction and alcohol sales.

When asked about the possibility of snow this weekend, Herring channels her inner Jimmy Buffet, the Parrotheads' spiritual founder whose music expresses a "such is life" mentality.

"If it's going to snow, it's going to snow, so come on out," she said.

In addition to supporting local music education, the Parrotheads hope to have money available to build a boat ramp at Loudy-Simpson Park, Herring added.

The Yampa River is another key focus for the group, which has spent several afternoons cleaning up trash from its banks.

Unfortunately, taking care of the river seems to be a big job, Herring said.

The group filled 12, 30-gallon trash bags about two weeks ago, and that only was the litter found at Pebble Beach.

"And that's ridiculous because we just cleaned it up this spring," Herring said, referring to the Parrotheads' efforts along the river earlier this year. "It's a really nice place, and obviously a lot of people use it. I just don't understand why they leave all their trash behind."

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