Sandrocks star needs a little help as nonprofit club looks to brighten up one of Craig’s longest-running holiday traditions |

Sandrocks star needs a little help as nonprofit club looks to brighten up one of Craig’s longest-running holiday traditions

The star on top of the Sandrocks in Craig is shown on Dec. 21, 2022. A local club is working to replace lights on the star so it will be brighter than ever next year.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

The star that shines over the holidays on the top of the Sandrocks in Craig has been a tradition for nearly 60 years, but it might need some support to keep the lights on.

Every year the star is turned on around the start of the holidays, usually at the same time as the Parade of Lights after Thanksgiving, and it stays lit until the new year. 

“Most of the people in town see the star and like the star, but they don’t know who puts it on,” said Mary Lou Allen, who has been involved with the effort for many years.

The Sandrocks star was originally a four-pointed star that was first lit on Dec. 17, 1963, by a local civil group called the Jaycees that was extremely active in Craig until the 1970s. When the Jaycees disbanded, the star was left unlit for a number of years until the 1990s, when another community group decided to bring it back.

The Upper Big Gulch Better Community Club, a local nonprofit, decided to take on the star project. Val McFarland, Gene Updike, John Allen and other club members got together and built a new iron frame from scrap metal for the five-pointed star seen on the Sandrocks today. 

The club purchased the lights and obtained permission from the city to put it inside a gated property. 

“The issue this year is (the star) needs some new lights, and we’d like to make it bigger and brighter,” Mary Lou said. 

This year the star is looking a bit dim as some of the lights, especially on the east side of the star, need to be replaced. Mary Lou said club members want to take the star down for maintenance, repairs and new light bulbs, so that the star can be restored to its original glory. 

The Big Gulch Better Community Club pays for the lights, electricity and maintenance for the star. Throughout the year, the club does “good old fashioned” fundraising, such as bake sales and pie socials, to raise money for the club activities and the Sandrocks star. 

Mary Lou also said the club also started hosting cornhole tournaments during festivals in downtown Craig throughout the summer, which will help bring in some ongoing funding for the star. The club is also accepting donations from the community to restore the star that shines over the town. 

Donations can be made to the Upper Big Gulch Better Community Clubs account at Yampa Valley Bank at 435 Mack Lane in Craig. 

The Big Gulch Better Community Club also has a long history in the local community. The club began in 1916 as an all-women’s club from residents who lived on what is now Moffat County Roads 3, 7 and 15 northwest of Cedar Mountain.

Named after a small creek that runs through the area, the Big Gulch had a simple goal of making the community a better place to live. 

In 1923, the women voted to allow men to join as members, and the group has continued to meet monthly for a potluck dinner since its start. The club also does an annual cleanup on Country Road 7, and does maintenance and repairs on the 95-year-old Midway schoolhouse, which the group is working on getting into the historic registry. 

Mary Lou said the club has since expanded from those specific areas and is open to anyone who is interested in promoting fellowship, being together among neighbors and helping others.

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