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A new Olde West

Business association, city council agree to save event

Christina M. Currie

Grand Olde West Days isn’t going to die. The community won’t let it.

But to survive, changes need to be made and partnerships established.

The Craig City Council and the Downtown Business Association joined forces, and finances, Tuesday to continue the downtown portion of the annual Memorial Day weekend event.

“I tend to believe that’s a weekend we should continue to promote,” Mayor Dave DeRose said.

After 12 years, the Grand Olde West Days steering committee decided to cancel the annual event in 2003 and beyond because of a lack of volunteers and a lack of participation, but the Downtown Business Association would like to take on at least a day’s worth of events.

For the first 9 years, Grand Olde West Days events on Monday were held downtown. Yampa Avenue was closed and lined with vendors and concerts and contests were held in the park.

That’s the portion of the event the Downtown Business Association would like to revive.

In 2000, the Grand Olde West Days committee decided to host the entire weekend of events at the Moffat County Fairgrounds because of the cost and hassle of moving vendors and equipment downtown on Monday.

“I think the demise of Grand Olde West Days was when they moved it from downtown,” Councilor Bill Johnston said.

A lack of volunteers is one reason the Grand Olde West Days steering committee gave for canceling the event, and Johnston said he was concerned the same thing could happen if the Downtown Business Association took it on.

“I think it could be come a whole community event instead of just a small group,” Kitchen Shop owner and DBA President Nadine Daszkiewicz said. “We’re only concerned with the events on Monday.”

But, the association can’t do it alone, she said.

“We’re just a small group and no, we can’t handle everything,”

she said.

The DBA asked the city for

both in-kind services and financial help.

They will need help with planning, trash service during the event, police patrols and possible staff members to help set up and tear down.

“I don’t think we know enough to know what will be involved,” City Manager Jim Ferree said. “It’s a difficult weekend, obviously, being a holiday weekend and getting staff to work, but I think we can work that out.”

He said he was in favor of the city supporting the event.

City Attorney Sherman Romney, as a downtown business owner, said the event has the potential to be successful.

“I think downtown is getting better at organizing these things and I’d hate to see Grand Olde West Days go away, especially when the downtown portion was so successful in the past,” he said. “I think without too much trouble we can make it a successful weekend.”

Members of the Downtown Business Association requested $7,000 from the city, but the council offered the full $8,500 it usually contributes to Grand Olde West Days and had kept in the 2003 budget. The Grand Olde West Days committee used the money as a loan, but Pam Foster, owner of Pam Designs, said that wouldn’t be possible for this event and asked that the money be considered a gift.

The council agreed.

“We’ve already got the money in the budget, let’s do it,” DeRose

said.

The Downtown Business Association has a preliminary budget of $17,000 for the event. Members plan to request $4,000 from the Moffat County Tourism Association for promotion and advertising and $2,500 from Downtown Business Association members and $3,500 from other businesses for general operating expenses.

The money from the city will be used to provide entertainment at the event.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.


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