Motorists traveling west through town over the weekend honked their horns while passersby hooted and cheered in support of a congregation of local residents at the corner of Victory Way and Tucker Street.
The outbursts were incited by signs that read, “Occupy Craig.”
But this group was not exercising its right to join the anti-Wall Street movement and had no intention of beating down the “man,” “establishment,” or tearing down the infrastructure of capitalism.
The signs were satirical and had nothing to do with the true purpose of the gathering — to pre-party outside J.W. Snack’s before tickets for the 66th annual Craig Kiwanis Club Play went on sale.
Dozens of people jockeyed for position to be the first to get their hands on the sought after tickets, some of them camping out since Thursday.
Cody Draper, the “Kiwanis King,” has been participating in the tradition since 2004. He pitched his tent Thursday afternoon.
“I just love camping,” Draper said. “This event is a great excuse to have a good time, hang out with friends and get drunk.”
Local residents Kevin and Harold Brown and Jennifer Darveau also came out for Saturday’s party.
“We’re just here for the beer,” Darveau said. “And we’ll be back in March for more.”
The camping tradition has been going on for years now, and the Kiwanis Club play funds a worthy cause.
“We like to joke that it’s all about the beer,” Kevin said. “All kidding aside, it really is a good cause.”
The play, which takes place each year in March, is the primary fundraiser for the organization’s scholarship program, which brings in more than $8,000 in revenue that is later distributed among seven Moffat County High School students for continued education.
Mike Anson, chairman of the Kiwanis scholarship committee, said one of those scholarships is reserved for an MCHS Key Club member.
The rest are awarded to students preparing to embark on various levels of continued education including trade, vocational and traditional four-year colleges.
“Everyone knows why we do this,” Anson said. “It’s a good group of guys all out for a good cause and it brings a good personal feeling to help out the kids.”
Bryce Jacobson, Kiwanis Club Play chairman and Craig Daily Press publisher, said this year’s theme may tease off the energy industry.
“Unless the city and the (Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265) give us something really interesting to work with as they continue to negotiate over (Craig) City Park,” Jacobson said. “You really never know. I’ve seen the theme change as late as the week before the play.”
Table arrangements and the price per ticket are a little different than years past. This year tickets cost $20 a piece with a limit of 10 people per table. Last year, there was room for 12 people per table at a price of $15 per ticket.
“It used to get really crowded in there,” Jacobson said. “We think smaller tables will provide a better experience for everyone.”
After the first day of ticket sales, Jacobson said all but seven tables sold out for Saturday’s play. There are 26 tables available for March 2.
Jacobson said he’s confident the event will sell out both nights.
“I think people have grown accustomed to the fact that there are going to be tickets available and rather than weather the cold, people will call us to make purchases throughout the week,” Jacobson said. “It’s been at least 30 years since a Kiwanis Play didn’t sell out.”
But Harold Brown can remember when the play would sell out the first day and that camping overnight was mandatory.
“There was a time when you had to do this,” Harold said. “And even then it wasn’t a guarantee that everyone who showed up on the first day would get a ticket.”
Jacobson remembers those days as well, but doesn’t believe success can be based on selling out on the first day of sales.
“It’s a successful event, people have a lot of fun and everyone knows why we do this,” he said. “There is no better cause than the youth of our community.”
For those who did not participate in the weekend’s festivities but are still planning on attending the play, tickets may be purchased by calling Jeff Pleasant at 824-9359.
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