Weather hinders Grand Olde West Days turnout
As the end of May rolls around each year, Carol Wilson looks forward to the Memorial Day weekend celebration Grand Olde West Days.
However, one thing she doesn’t long for is the unpredictable weather that comes with the late spring and early summer in Northwest Colorado.
But, Wilson was not the only one who was apprehensive about the weather conditions.
She estimated that GOWD’s Monday street festival in downtown Craig had a turnout of about 1,500 people throughout the day, considerably less than the average amount the planning committee sees each year.
Wilson, the street festival coordinator, attributed the decrease to the “nippy” climate that was present all day.
“The bottom line is it always comes down to the weather,” she said. “If we’d had two solid hours of sunshine, we would’ve had at least a thousand more people show up.”
Still, the crowd that came out for the event was in good spirits, taking in the offerings lining the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Avenue, including a classic car show with more than 30 automobiles, pony rides, a magician and balloon artist, and live musical acts on both ends of the street.
Craig resident Emily Herring was one of many people who got strapped into a harness for the bungee trampolines set up in the parking lot next to Alice Pleasant Park.
“It was kind of hard to do a back flip up there, like some of the other people were doing, but it was fun,” she said.
This is the fourth year Emily has come to the street festival, but her husband, Kameron, has attended nearly every year since the festival began.
“I remember when I was younger, they used to have things like a dunk tank and a lot more booths,” Kameron said. “I remember every single aisle in this street was taken up, and nowadays there’s a booth here and then you walk a little ways and there’s another one. It’s still fun, and they’ve got good stuff for the kids.”
The Museum of Northwest Colorado also saw a smaller amount of patronage. During the festival, the museum had exhibits on display for the second annual Western Heritage Quilt Show and Moffat County’s history and centennial.
Rachel Van Tassel, the museum’s assistant registrar technician, said only about 400 people had trickled in by midday, though they had expected more than 1,000.
“We had almost 100 on Saturday, which is pretty average, but since the festival is smaller this year, that probably has to do with it,” she said.
The Steamboat Springs musical duo The Yampa Valley Boys were among the groups performing within the museum.
Steve Jones, guitarist and harmony vocalist, said he and musical partner John Fisher have performed at Grand Olde West Days for the last five years.
“We play Western music, so it fits right in with Grand Olde West Days, especially here, this is such a lovely museum,” he said.
Jones added that the Western style of country music specifically deals with an active, outdoor cowboy lifestyle, which he believes is embodied in the festival’s spirit to keep everything going in spite of the possibility of poor weather.
Organizer Kandee Dilldine said even with the unfavorable wind and chilly temperatures Monday, it was an altogether successful celebration.
“I think it’s been pretty good,” she said. “There were people lining the streets for the (Saturday) parade, and the community dance turned out well. Even with the wind today, I just like seeing people coming out and enjoying it all.”