Craig airport to host Fourth of July celebration |

Craig airport to host Fourth of July celebration

Independence Day festivities to include pancake breakfast, flag ceremony, helicopter rides

Collin Smith

If you go

What: July Fourth Celebration at the Craig/Moffat County Airport

When: 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 4

Where: Craig/Moffat County Airport, Colo. Highway 394, east of the Yampa Valley Golf Course entrance

To Ray Beck, Fourth of July weekend is about fireworks and festivities.

The city and Craig Fire/Rescue take care of the fireworks, but as for festivities, the community lacks many ways to celebrate, and that’s where the Craig/Moffat County Airport comes into play.

The July Fourth Celebration kicks off at 7 a.m. that day, goes until 1:30 p.m. and includes a free pancake breakfast provided by McDonald’s, a flag ceremony with local military veterans and helicopter rides provided by Steamboat Springs-based Zephyr Helicopter.

Everything is free to the public, expect for the helicopter rides, which are $50 a seat.

“I’ve always felt that because we don’t have a lot planned for the Fourth of July, we’ll do something for the people who are staying in town,” said Beck, airport board chairman and a Craig city councilor. “If this is well-received in the community, we’ll try to make this an annual event.”

The celebration will be a scaled-down version of the Air Fest staged last year for the Craig Centennial Celebration, he added.

It also will serve as general aviation fly-in, where pilots from across the country are encouraged to come and spend the day or night.

“Having a general aviation fly-in is no different than a golf tournament,” Beck said. “People look for a reason to fly. This will show them that even in Craig America, we have some things they may not know about, yet.”

The airport is an important, but underused, part of the community, Beck said, especially when it comes to tourism. The community would benefit from using what it has, he added, instead of looking to add other things.

“This is something we should have taken advantage of for a long time,” Beck said. “I’m not big on reinventing the wheel. We have things within our county and city, like the airport, that we can build on.

“I think we have the wheel. We’ve just got to get it turning and keep it turning.”

It seems local businesses and organizations agree.

The Moffat County Tourism Association donated the money for 1,000 new, full-color brochures to hand to pilots coming into town.

Local radio station KRAI also donated 750 flyers, some of which were sent to the Colorado Pilot’s Association.

Colorado Northwestern Community College also offered to shuttle pilots into town and to local hotels if they want to see more of Craig and Moffat County.

The effort to start an annual community event comes at the same time local officials have begun putting money into renovating the site.

Between local, state and federal dollars, the airport board oversaw the construction of a new terminal last year, and it hopes to see money become available to repave the front parking lot.

It’s all been long overdue, Beck said.

“We’re getting to where we need to be out here,” he said. “The airport is an important part of our infrastructure, no different than the water and sewer. There’s a lot the airport has to offer; we just have to make people aware.”

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