41st annual Septemberfest preview

RANGELY I  Rangely’s annual Labor Day celebration, Septemberfest, offers a variety of activities and competitions — and a lot of food — for all ages this Saturday through Monday. 

Rangely barbecue aficionados can start cooking at midnight on Sept. 3 in preparation for the open barbecue cookoff at Elks Park on Saturday at 3 p.m. 

Spend Saturday on the Uintah Railway tour, starting at 8 a.m. Provide your own vehicle, lunch, drinks and snacks, and meet at the True Value Garden Center.

Get a head start on burning off all the goodies you can munch over the weekend by participating in the Fast, Flat and FREE 5K run, starting at 8 a.m. at Elks Park on Saturday. Then visit the Rangely Automotive Museum for an open house and annual bike rally (sponsored by the Rangely Police Department) as well as an open house at the Tank. 

The cornhole doubles tournament starts at 11 a.m., and there will be inflatables and fun at the park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as the annual chili cookoff at noon. 

Head out to Cedar Ridges Golf Course for the Spartan ball drop and carnival from 5-9 p.m. Saturday, followed by fireworks at dusk at Kenney Reservoir. 

On Sunday, get to the lake for the Jackpot Fishing Derby starting at 7:30 a.m. The beloved ice cream social at the Rangely Outdoor Museum is at 1 p.m., with a $1 donation appreciated. 

Like cribbage? Visit the Rangely Rec Center at 2:30 p.m. for a cribbage tournament. 

Wrap up Sunday with dinner and a movie at Elks Park at 6 p.m. Get your tickets in advance for a drawing for two hog halves. Sponsored by New Creation Church of Rangely.

The fireman’s pancake breakfast starts bright and early Labor Day Monday from 6:30-8:30 a.m. at the Rangely Fire Station, followed by the 75th Anniversary Parade down Main Street from 9-10 a.m. 

Elks Park will host the 25th annual Car Show in the Park, a craft fair, and the annual barbecue ($2 per person minimum), followed by the duck race from 5-6 p.m. at the Green River bridge and Chris Peterson in concert at 6:30 p.m. back at Elks Park. 

Depending on who you ask, the year of origin for the Rangely community event known as Septemberfest varies. Most old timers agree Flossy Eddy and Barbara Wade organized the first Septemberfest, but it wasn’t in September. In 1976 when the celebration began it was actually held around the 4th of July weekend. Eddy and Wade dubbed themselves as the R.A.I.D. (Rangely Area Independence Day) Committee. Local historian Bob Haag and longtime Rangely Town Manager Don Peach recall its origination in the early 1980s. 

Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District Executive Director and go-to-guy Tim Webber has been involved with ensuring the event takes place for almost two decades. Webber credits Peg and Carl Rector, Jane Miller, June Striegel, the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Town of Rangely for the organization of the celebration prior to his beginning. Today the Rectors (Jeff and Rebecca) are still heavily involved as is Webber and his crew from the recreation and park district.  

Festival planning committee member in the early days and longtime Rangely resident Kelvin White reports that everything was centered around a free pit barbecue with all the fixings that town folk would line up for down the street. The celebration has evolved over the years, events and competitions have come and gone, but the barbecue in the park is still a focal point.

By HT STAFF – editor@ht1885.com