Grand Olde West Days organizer stepping down | CraigDailyPress.com

Grand Olde West Days organizer stepping down

Kandee Dilldine seeking replacement to plan Memorial Day event

Grand Olde West Days takes place in Craig each year, and it's now in need of a new event planner and committee.

Each year it comes together one way or another, but next year Grand Olde West Days may not be getting back in the saddle as its organizer rides off into the sunset.

Kandee Dilldine recently announced she will no longer be part of the process for putting together Grand Olde West Days, Craig's Memorial Day weekend celebration which just completed its 25th year. Begun in 1990 with the tagline "Colorado's annual kickoff to summer," the event has had varied turnout throughout the years, though the reason Dilldine will be stepping down as organizer is due to a difficulty in balancing the workload with her family and her business, KS Kreations.

"I just don't have the time anymore," she said.

Dilldine first began the project alongside Carol Wilson about five years ago and was the sole head of the planning committee shortly thereafter.

The funding for GOWD was roughly $15,000 this year, and the budget was about $20,000 at most in recent years. Dilldine estimated that number was twice that amount or more in the 1990s heyday.

"Back then they had a bigger committee and more people who were able to get things done, and back then they had more companies and businesses were able to contribute more," she said.

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Bull-riding exhibitions and concerts, which were more prevalent in previous years, could be costly and weren't always big moneymakers since the biggest turnout was for the portions of the weekend that had free admission.

"The street fest is always our big thing," Dilldine said. "That's always a highlight, and I think the whole community enjoys that. We had quite a few people that came down this year. I couldn't tell if our participation numbers were up or down, but there were more vendors this year."

A recurring issue is the weather of late spring and early summer, which in Northwest Colorado regularly means precipitation, lending to the sobriquet "Grand Olde Wet Days." The idea of changing the date to later in the summer or even holding it over Labor Day weekend might work, Dilldine said, though she believes the base of people who attend would likely still prefer late May.

Planning around events like Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, Independence Day, Balloon Festival, the Moffat County Fair and even Moffat County High School Homecoming — if it were moved to late summer or early fall — would also make any changes difficult.

Before making alterations like this, someone would have to accept the responsibility, whether a single person or group of people who want to handle all the arrangements.

"It needs more than one person to coordinate everything definitely," she said.

Though Craig resident John Husband won't be able to take on the job, he lauded Dilldine for her time with GOWD and the need to get more involvement.

"Even in wet years people turn out, and my impression is that the last few years the event has been gaining momentum," Husband said. "With all the challenges we seem to have as a community, losing a major community event is not something we need."

Dilldine said she is more than happy to get her replacement going and briefing them on the details, but whomever jumps into action needs to willing to make the commitment to making Grand Olde West Days grand again.

"If somebody doesn't step up, it'll be done," Dilldine said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

— For more information on taking on organization leadership of Grand Olde West Days, call Kandee Dilldine at 970-824-2151.

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