Fall Fest brings community together
Booths and classic cars lined the sidewalk of the Yampa Avenue’s 500 block on Saturday for this year’s Fall Fest.
Various vendors and community groups gathered to sell their crafts and connect with Craig locals. From wreaths to dog treats to outdoor gear, festival goers had a wide range of options when it came to supporting local and slightly less-local businesses.
Dale Jablonksi, an artist from Vernal, Utah, represented one of those businesses. Jablonksi said this was his third year at the fall festival but he routinely comes back to Craig for other events, like Whittle the Wood. Jablonski mainly works with wood art, something he has done professionally for 10 years.
“I fought fires for 33 years,” Jablonski said. “I’ve worked with wood all my life, but this is something that has kept me busy since then. To me, it’s a good habit and a healthy obsession.”
Jablonski’s wife also had pottery on display at the festival, as well. She originally learned pottery in community classes, but has since moved to sell her art to the public.
“My favorite art is the kind that uses segmented wood,” Jablonski added. “It requires a lot of patience. That’s something firefighters usually don’t have a lot of. We’re always trying to just get out there and get things done fast.”
In addition to vendors, local groups used the festival to raise funds. Moffat County High School’s cheer team sold bags of cotton candy to help cover costs of personal items that go with the team’s uniforms. Though the school covers big costs like the uniforms and shoes, head coach Kamisha Siminoe said, funds from the festival help the girls afford supplementary accessories like matching bows.
“We’ve been busy all day,” Siminoe said. “We hang up bags on the edge of the tent, and we haven’t been able to keep that stocked.”
Siminoe added that the fundraiser is one of two that the team will have this year. The other will be a cheer camp that will be held later this fall.
“People in this community are great at supporting the school and teams,” Siminoe added. “We’ve had people just come up and give us five or ten dollars — just because. We’re just super appreciative of everyone who has come to support us today.”
The festival also featured various food trucks and live entertainment. On Saturday, festival goers heard a live performance from The Badly Bent, a bluegrass group whose members are from the Durango area. This was their first time in Craig, but banjo player Mark Epstein said they enjoyed their set.
“It’s just a really nice town and a good environment,” Epstein said. “My favorite part (about performing) is just getting to share with the audience what each of the songs are about.”
Later in the day, community members could visit the Center of Craig for the town’s Ghost Walk Tours, which features stories of local historical figures and about the city of Craig during the Wild West. A sit-down performance began at 4:40 p.m., with walking tours continuing throughout the evening until 7 p.m. Ghost Walk returns next Saturday at the same times.
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