Pam Foster congratulates Opie Smith for winning the Grand Olde West Days car show with his 2007 Shelby GT500 on Monday in the Mather’s Bar parking lot. Smith said he found the vehicle through eBay and picked it up in Maryland.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Pam Foster congratulates Opie Smith for winning the Grand Olde West Days car show with his 2007 Shelby GT500 on Monday in the Mather’s Bar parking lot. Smith said he found the vehicle through eBay and picked it up in Maryland.

Grand Olde West Days in Craig offered something for all

As 7-year-old Stefan Grabowski got off a bungee trampoline Monday, he stumbled around a bit before finding his father.

“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “I got to go higher than I ever have.”

The bungee trampoline was one of numerous activities offered during Monday’s street festival in downtown Craig as part of the Grand Olde West Days celebration.

Visitors had activity options such as spray-on tattoos, pony rides, bubble blowing, listening to live music and checking out featured automobiles in a car show, among others. Numerous vendors were also on hand.

Several downtown businesses also had doors open, and many included sidewalk displays welcoming potential customers into their stores.

Vicky White, operating manager of Downtown Books, said the festival brings in much welcome business.

“We always put out books during the festival,” she said. “This year I added some pictures, beads and beverages. We have received some great business.”

The atmosphere impressed J.B. Dennie, of the Glenwood Springs company, Kiwi Signs, which specializes in making custom signs for customers.

“This is a great event and a great show for us,” Dennie said. “We usually don’t make trips for one-day shows, but this event is definitely worth it.”

Dennie said good weather contributed to the overall success of the event. He wasn’t alone in crediting the weather.

Kandee Dilldine, Grand Olde West Days event chairwoman, was more than pleased that rain, which has traditionally dampened the event, didn’t happen this year.

“We only had a few electrical problems with some booths, but everything has went down great,” she said Monday.

Dilldine was busy Monday with an assortment of activities, including getting pies ready for a pie-eating contest, a new wrinkle to Grand Olde West Days this year.

The contest was split into four age groups.

Kamron Ludgate, 9, won the first group for 7 to 10 year olds, polishing off a whole cherry pie.

“You feel like you are going to (get sick) as you eat,” said Kamron, who won a free pie and Village Inn gift certificate for winning first place. “But, you just have to keep going and eat more.

“I chose apple (pie) as my prize. I may never eat cherry pie again.”

At the south end of Yampa Avenue, the public voted on their choice for the best of the car show, which featured more than 50 cars.

Opie Smith’s 2007 Shelby GT500 was the people’s choice winner.

Smith purchased the car in June 2007 for $55,000 from a seller in Maryland.

“I purchased it off eBay and then my buddy and I flew out to Maryland to pick it up,” he said. “We took two days to drive it back.”

Smith said he has put about $10,000 of modifications into the car since he bought it.

On Monday afternoon, country music singer Brad Lee Schroeder performed a free concert in Alice Pleasant Park.

Craig resident Robert Kelly was pleased that a country star was selected to perform at Grand Olde West Days.

“Brad’s music fits in here,” he said. “I never heard of him before, but he was really good. I was pretty impressed.”

Adults in the downtown crowd Monday seemed to enjoy the festival as much as children.

Jessica Cordova said she loved watching her kids ride camels, and that Grand Olde West Days provided a fun outlet for the holiday weekend.

Betty Crane agreed with Cordova that the event was a great reason to get out of the house.

“It is nice to get together with people and see what is going on out here in the community,” Crane said. “My husband and I have been coming to this every year.”

Lions Club parade an evolving tradition

The Grand Olde West Days Parade has been an institution in the celebration for 20 years, but parade organizer Kristi Shepherd said the same parade never marches through downtown Craig twice.

“It evolves every year,” she said. “We’ve gone from floats and tractors to old tractors and old cars. It’s become a start of summer tradition.”

The parade, sponsored by the Craig Lions Club, featured about 20 floats that made their way down Yampa Avenue, turning left onto Victory Way.

Children scrambled for candy and waved as antique cars revved their engines.

The parade was led by the Moffat County High School marching band, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and the American Legion Post 62, reminding spectators of the reason for the holiday weekend: the celebration and remembrance of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

Al Shepherd, a Lions Club member and Vietnam veteran, said the weekend celebration brings the community together and keeps them in Craig on a holiday weekend.

“It’s something for people to do in Craig, rather than having to leave,” he said.

For 8-year-old Payton Voloshin, a highlight of the day was watching several horseback riders clod through downtown Craig.

“Yeah, it was cool,” she said. “My favorite part was the horses.”

The Elks Lodge has had a float in the parade since its inception.

“It’s just getting out into the public, getting the Elks out in front of everyone and letting them know we’re still here,” Elks secretary Frank Sadvar said.

Sadvar had volunteers handing out hundreds of bags of drug awareness literature, toys and activities for children, which the Elks National Foundation provided at no cost.

“We’re big-time into drug awareness,” he said. “The kids and the (veterans) — that’s what we’re all about.”

Sadvar said he enjoys the weekend because it’s a chance for the community to come together.

“It’s one of the neatest things we do, getting together,” he said. “And we just don’t do it enough anymore.”

— Staff writer Nicole Inglis contributed to this report.

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