Blast from the past: Moffat County history on display during Ghost Walk
Nearly 200 people showed up to meet some of Moffat County’s most notorious historical figures at the second annual Craig Historic Ghost Walk in downtown Craig, including many notable characters such as politician Big Ed Johnson and influential woman such as Emilyn Young and Augusta Wallihan.
“The crew was amazing. They were really able to entertain people,” said Linda Olson, the organizer behind the ghost walk.
The three-day event featured upwards of 40 actors and volunteers with performances beginning on Thursday evening at the Luttrell Barn Cultural Center in a sit-down fashion. Attendees got to witness dramatic portrayals and play a Fact or Fiction game about Moffat County history.
The next two evenings featured the same performances, but scattered in various historical locations in downtown Craig such as the Museum of Northwest Colorado, the Center of Craig building, and Alice Pleasant Park.
Some of the actors even had the opportunity to portray their own ancestors.
One such actor is Craig native Rylee Villard, who portrayed her three-times great-aunt, Maud, who was coined the “Sweetheart of the Valley.”
“I thought it would be cool because I am related,” Villard said. “I also get to get out of the house and meet new people.”
The Craig Historic Ghost Walk also attracted people who were from out of town.
“We came for a bowling tournament, and a couple in Village Inn last night told us about it. So, we thought we’d check it out,” said Palisade’s Destini Fay, who came accompanied with her husband and son.
The Ghost Walk raised over $800 and was given $830 from the Local Marketing District to help pay for building rentals and insurance. All the proceeds raised went to support Moffat County Museums.
“Folks, we have an amazing museum in Craig — not only does it house history, it is history,” said Gaye Schnackenberg, as she told the story of the Museum of Northwest Colorado and the days of when it used to be the local armory.
“We want the support of the community to keep the museum doors open,” she said.
A crowd favorite story told about the armory was about three mischievous young men who had just finished high school and stole some dynamite to bring some explosive excitement to Craig. The three men positioned the dynamite at the armory doors and blew them clean off. Consequently, the three young men were charged with felonies and spent many years in jail. Other stories witnessed were of murder, tragedy, wealth and success.
“The actors really bring it all to life,” Olson said.
Following the last performance on Saturday evening, actors and tour guides met in Alice Pleasant Park for the Golden Lantern Awards, in which people who attended the Ghost Walk voted on the actors and volunteers in several different categories.
Randy Looper was voted as the best actor for his portrayal of Sheriff Blevins in the “Murder in Moffat County” skit. Randy McIntash, who played the same character, came in close second for the award.
Molly Kleeman was voted as the best actress for her portrayal of Augusta Wallihan. RuthAnne Isbell, who performed in the “Tribute to a Newspaper Editor” skit received the best costume award. Brian MacKenzie was voted as the most believable in his portrayal of Big Ed Johnson.
Following the awards given to actors, the cast also dispersed their own awards to each other. Liam Olson received the Best Helper award. Debbie McLain received the Giver from the Start award, and Linda Olson received the Gave-All award.
“I was just so impressed with the actors and actresses — they really stepped up,” Olson said
The next annual Craig Historic Ghost Walk is set for next fall, but Olson noted that the Ghost Walk crew will continue to perform at smaller events throughout the year. Olson expressed tremendous gratitude to the community and local businesses for their support. She said that she is also looking for more help, especially in regard to social media and advertising.
“I’m hoping people will step up with their talents and follow through with it,” she said.
The Ghost Walk crew’s last planned performance this month will be at Wyman Living History Museum during its pumpkin patch event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.