‘Grand Olde West’ to return to Craig
Craig’s Old West past will be alive and well at this year’s 15th annual Grand Olde West Days celebration May 27 to 30.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Ramblin’ and Gamblin’.”
“One day a year we get to pretend to be cowboys and cowgirls,” said Carol Wilson, the owner of Neolithics and one of the celebration’s organizers.
Grand Olde West Days started as a way to promote the opening of the Museum of Northwest Colorado but has grown into a five-day celebration of the region’s Old West heritage.
Events include old favorites such as Monday’s street festival and Saturday’s bull riding, plus some new events such as Saturday’s chariot races and Sunday’s chili cook-off.
Wilson said the celebration is fun not just because it brings community members together, but because it brings people into Craig who usually wouldn’t see the town.
“It promotes Craig as a destination for that weekend,” Wilson said.
Moffat County High School’s graduation is the same weekend, so people from out of town already will be here. But, Wilson said, Grand Olde West Days will keep them here and hopefully draw them downtown.
Nadine Daszkiewicz, owner of the Kitchen Shop and a celebration organizer, said the celebration — especially Monday’s street festival — is a chance for downtown businesses to grab some customers who might not see them otherwise.
A Chamber of Commerce Carnival at the Moffat County Fairgrounds will be Thursday, the day before GOWD kicks off, as is tradition. The carnival runs from 5 p.m. until about midnight Thursday and from noon to midnight Friday through Monday.
Unlimited ride wristbands for the carnival are available now at the Chamber of Commerce for $15. The wristbands will cost $20 when the carnival starts.
Friday will feature a battle of the bands at the fairgrounds roping arena barn. Admission is $5.
Serving as judges and the headlining act for the event is national touring band Midnight to Twelve.
“I’m really excited about the battle of the bands,” Wilson said.
Midnight to Twelve also will play during the street festival Monday.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the GOWD parade makes its way through Craig. The parade route travels south on Yampa Avenue, proceeds west at Victory Way, turns north at Ledford Street and continues past Sunset Meadows and Sandrock Ridge Care Facility.
The parade will be followed by the first day of chariot races at the fairgrounds, the first day of the antique tractor pull downtown and the first day of the cowboy action shoot at Bears Ears Sportsman’s Club.
The bull-riding competition wraps up Saturday’s events at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds.
“The bull riding is always very popular,” Wilson said.
Sunday’s festivities include the second day of the cowboy action shoot, tractor pull and chariot races.
New this year is the chili cook-off from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds.
“We’ve got six entries, and we hope to get more,” Daszkiewicz said Wednesday.
Monday, the last day of the celebration, kicks off at 9 a.m. with the street festival.
The festival will feature arts and crafts, food vendors and live music. A portion of Yampa Avenue will be closed off downtown for the vendors.
“The street festival is always the highlight for me,” Wilson said.
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