Organizer: Grand Olde West Days right on track

Annual Craig festival to revolve around concert, children’s events

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When rumors about one of Northwest Colorado’s biggest events of the year found Kandee Dilldine, the speculation came as somewhat of a shock.

After all, if the gossip was true, what were she and her fellow community members working on in recent weeks?

The status of the 22nd annual Grand Olde West Days is alive and well, and is scheduled for its usual Craig calendar slot of Memorial Day weekend, May 26 to 28.

Dilldine, an event organizer, said Monday she wished to set straight any misconception about whether GOWD will be happening this year.

She said a recent Craig City Council meeting was likely where residents started to question the future of the event.

“The city was kind of hesitant to give us the money for it this year, but I don’t think people realize that yes, they did give it to us,” she said. “I don’t know where else people would be getting the idea that it’s not going on this year.”

Dilldine said another possible caution for some is the change in protocol that the Craig Lions Club will not handle the traditional parade this year, with the responsibility instead falling to the Downtown Business Association.

“They’ll be handling the insurance and the entries,” she said. “Everything else is still a go just the same.”

Dilldine said the tone of 2011’s GOWD festivities may also have cast doubt on this year.

Last year’s unpleasant spring weather helped drive down the attendance of the downtown street festival — usually the biggest attraction of the weekend — to 1,500 people, or about half the expected turnout.

Likewise, organizers did not have a concert or large-scale rodeo event scheduled as in past years.

An untimely outbreak of equine herpes also led to the cancellation of the draft horse show, further limiting the list of available entertainment.

“The horse show was getting a good turnout before that happened, but we should have it this year,” she said. “Everything seems to be going right along now, and we haven’t run into any problems yet.”

Dilldine said she and organizers have made sure to focus on the elements of Grand Olde West Days that people love. Part of that involves promoting GOWD to out-of-town crowds.

“Last year we didn’t really promote it because we didn’t have that big-ticket item like a concert or rodeo, but this year we will be expanding our advertising dollars to go to Utah and Wyoming since we will be having a concert this year,” she said.

Featured headliner Doug Kershaw, “The Ragin’ Cajun,” is just part of bringing GOWD back to its former glory. Dilldine also intends to be ready for younger crowds.

“The carnival (Brown’s Amusements) is always a big deal, and last year we had a balloon artist who was a big hit, plus the guy with the bungee trampoline and the bounce house,” she said. “We’ve got a stilt-walker with a bubble-machine coming this year, so I think that’ll keep the kids activities going. Keeping the kids entertained is important because then it keeps their parents there longer too.”

Dilldine said she is always welcome to input from community members about the planning process. Anyone interested in getting involved can meet at 9 a.m. Fridays at Dilldine’s business, KS Kreations, 523 Yampa Ave.

For more information, call 824-2151 or visit grandoldewestdays.com.

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