RANGELY I Fall in Rangely means the celebration of three important events; hunting season, a new school year and Septemberfest.
Septemberfest is put on by the Western Rio Blanco Parks and Recreation District, and for WRBM Executive Director Tim Webber, the best part of the celebration is watching people connect.
“What gets me most excited is to see people enjoying their day talking with old friends or meeting new ones, people laughing, joking and having a flat out good time,” Webber said.
The celebration kicks off on Friday, Sept. 4 with a visit from Crocodile Reef at 5 p.m. in the Rangely High School Auditorium. Crocodile Reef will provide the audience with a rare chance to see snakes, an 85-pound turtle, a 14-foot python, crocodiles and other reptiles.
Activities on Saturday begin at 7 a.m. with the shuttle to the Blue Mountain Half Marathon departing from the Elks Park Playground Pavilion. Runners must be preregistered and pay a $20 entrance fee if they want a T-shirt and medal, otherwise they may register on site. For runners seeking a shorter distance, the Fast, Flat and Free 5K at Elks Park begins at 8 a.m.
Another long-time favorite for many locals is the Uintah Railway Tour, guided by Rodger Polley. Participants will spend the day touring the old Uintah Railway line. The group will meet at Elks Park at 7:30 a.m. The tour will last all day and participants will need to have their own vehicle, food and drinks as well as a full tank of gas.
The Rangely Police Department will host its traditional bike rally at the Elks Park parking lot at 9 a.m. Kids of all ages are invited to attend and register their bikes with the police department.
Locals who want to showcase their chili-cooking skills will be able to put their pots of red or green chili to the test at the Chili Cook-Off Contest. Judging begins at noon under the Elks Park Pavilion, and prizes will be awarded.
Beginning at 1 p.m., children can participate in the free inflatables at Elks Park. Before playing on the numerous water slides, obstacle course and bounce houses, parents will need to sign a waiver so that their kids can receive a wrist band and be allowed on the inflatables.
At 2 p.m., those age 15 and up can test their muscles with the Bench Press Contest. There will be multiple men and women’s divisions.
Saturday activities conclude with the Rock ‘N’ Bull Rodeo. Starting at 7 p.m. at Columbine Park, locals can cheer on the Colorado Northwestern Community College rodeo team. VIP passes are available for $20, adults are $10, $5 for kids and kids 3 and younger are free.
Sunday’s activities start with the annual Rangely Museum Ice Cream Social at 1 p.m.
The Muddy Dip ‘N’ Dash, starting at 5:30 p.m, involves taking on a muddy obstacle course sure to leave you filthy. Following the obstacle course is the Muddy Tug ‘O’ War at 7:30 p.m. Both events take place at the vacant lot next to the Recreation Center.
Wrapping up Sunday’s events is a free pulled-pork dinner and family-friendly movie in the park sponsored by New Creation Church and Rangely Christian Church.
Labor Day Monday kicks off bright and early with the Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served until 8:30 a.m. at the Rangely Fire House. After fueling up with pancakes, participants can head down to Main Street for the Star Spangled Parade, which begins at 9 a.m.
Following the parade is the day-long Craft Fair and Car Show at Elks Park. With more than 30 vendors, there will plenty of handmade crafts and a wide variety of services and items available. After a morning of shopping and viewing classic cars in the park, the traditional barbecue lunch will be served at 1 p.m.
Rangely High School’s Student Council will begin its Duck Race at the Green River Bridge at 5 p.m. Ducks will be available for purchase throughout the weekend from RJ/SHS Student Council members.
Activities end with a free Charley Jenkins concert at the Elks Park softball field at 6:30 p.m, but be sure to arrive early to get a good seat. Jenkins, who is from Duchesne, Utah, may be familiar to locals, as he has played in Rangely before.
A new addition to the Septemberfest activities will be several opportunities to go visit The Tank.
On Saturday morning from 9-11 a.m. and Sunday from 7-9 p.m., interested parties can participate in a Meet the Tank activity. The Tank folks will also have a booth at the Craft Fair on Monday for more information.
“The staff and volunteers from the Recreation and Park District give so selflessly of their time, money and efforts,” Webber said. “The few who assist with the whole event and during the event are truly remarkable people.”