From the editor: Our ‘Welcome to Craig’ moment |

From the editor: Our ‘Welcome to Craig’ moment

What a weekend, folks. Congratulations to you, Craig.

I don’t know what these Whittle the Wood weekends are usually like, but I have to tell you, as a newcomer to this great place, I was suitably impressed with my first one.

My kids woke up early (for them) Saturday morning raring to go after our promises the night before of a day of fun about town. First things first: The Bear River Young Life car show.

This was sure to be a crowd-pleaser, no matter what, to be honest. My littlest, Joseph, is a car fanatic. At one-and-a-half years old, his absolute favorite thing in the world (other than Mom) is to play with his little matchbox cars. Next favorite is to look out the window and point out the cars as they pass. I don’t know if he’s a future mechanic or what, but the kid is a gearhead — such as they come at this age, anyway.

We hit Yampa Ave. a little after 10 a.m., and the crowds were already thronging the street. There was no hint of press or stress, and my wife and I were able to comfortably walk up and down downtown without worrying too much about the littles getting lost or into too much trouble. I’ve told you before about our big-city former life — let me tell you, this was a breath of fresh air.

It was as laid-back an atmosphere as one could hope for — and let’s not forget the incredible vehicles. What a show it was. We were so impressed with the classic cars, some from before most people on the avenue were even born. Beautiful pieces of machinery, on a beautiful day, with beautiful, kind, welcoming people strolling leisurely up and down the street. My kids even met the mayor — who could ask for more?

From there it was a quick drive down Ranney to check out the final hours of the main event — Whittle the Wood itself at Loudy-Simpson Park.

My kids weren’t the only ones stunned by the carvings. My wife and I were amazed as well. The detail, the precision, the beauty — what skilled craftsmen the city does so well to bring to town every summer for this incredible event. When Sarah and I toured Craig that first time when we were considering taking this job, the wood carvings that populate the city were a big part of what excited us about coming here. They bring such character to a place like this. We loved it then and still do.

Friends from the school board, from church, from my son’s soccer team, all were there at the park. My big kids even joined my wife and I in getting library cards. What a joy to come together as a community and celebrate life. We’ve got to be grateful for these simple, powerful moments of communal enjoyment.

We got a babysitter for the kids before heading to the concert, and, after introducing my bride to Vallarta’s, we settled in to enjoy a great show. If Everclear made us contemplate our age a little bit, The Verve Pipe did the opposite, introducing us to well-performed tunes we’d never heard and gracing us with a pair of fantastic classic covers. The show was a lot of fun. The atmosphere was better.

When the Everclear frontman said “Look at where we are, this is God’s country,” I couldn’t help but agree.

We’re happy to be here, Craig. Thanks for showing my family such a great time this weekend.

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