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By JEFF BURKHEADjeff@theheraldtimes.comRANGELY I Everyone is welcome to attend Septemberfest — Rangely’s annual Labor Day celebration.But Tim Webber, director of the Rangely Recreation and Parks District, which is the main sponsor of this weekend’s events, has some people he would like to personally invite.“I would like to extend a personal invitation to the governor,” Webber said of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, who is not seeking re-election. “I know I have some things I would like to personally say to him, and I know others would, too.“And I’d like to invite (John) Hickenlooper (Democratic candidate for governor) and those other guys running for governor,” Webber said.”The governor’s push for increased state regulations on the energy industry in late 2008 didn’t go over well in this part of Colorado where oil and gas production dominate the local economy — and the regulations are blamed for a work slowdown.Asked what he would say to the candidates for the state’s highest elected position, if given the opportunity, Webber said, “I’d just say I want you to know we need to get things straightened out here. It just seems Rangely is an unwanted place (in the view of politicians). We need to make things even across the board, and start functioning as one community, as one state, as one country.”Like others who are concerned about the direction of the state and the country, Webber is frustrated.“Our politicians should be working for us, and not us working for them,” he said. “That’s what I see and I don’t agree with it, and I know I’m not the only one.”Septemberfest, which has been Rangely’s big end-of-the-summer event for three decades or so, is a celebration to honor the working men and women of the town and the area.“This was put together to honor the working men and women of this northwest region,” Webber said. “It’s for the workers. It started out as a town function years ago, then the chamber took it on. Now we (the recreation district), basically, run the event.”As far as the event itself, there will be the usual highlights, such as the Do-Da Parade down Main Street and the barbecue in the park, both of which will take place on Labor Day, as well as other standbys such as a bike rally for kids and a pancake breakfast.The event will start on Saturday and run through Monday, with a full slate of activities on both of those days. Sunday’s lighter schedule includes an ice cream social on the grounds of the Rangely Museum.The three-day celebration will include a number of activities at Elks Park, which is where most of the Septemberfest events, such as a chili cook-off, a craft fair, an art show, a car show and kids’ games, will be held.A couple of new events at Septemberfest include bull riding on Sunday at Columbine Park as well as something called the Win It In A Minute challenges Monday at Elks Park, following the barbecue.The barbecue at Elks Park is always a big draw. Typically, between 1,000 and 2,000 people are served.“Monday will be the big day,” Webber said. “That’s when we have all the classic cars come in and we have the arts and crafts vendors. We have 65 or so arts and craft vendors. That’s pretty close to the most we’ve ever had, if not more. And the food for the beef dinner will be good again. That’s the one that draws them all in.”Even in these tough economic times, Septemberfest is a time for the community to come together and celebrate.“It’s about camaraderie and friends seeing each other,” Webber said.This is Webber’s fifth year to be involved with Septemberfest, and he has taken on an expanded role this year, as Peggy Rector, longtime community leader and Septemberfest organizer, has had to step back because of her husband’s health.“I told her not to worry about it,” Webber said. “She’s done so much. I told her just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.”With Septemberfest just a couple of days away — a 5K run/walk will kick off the event Saturday morning — final preparations are under way.“Everything is coming together great,” Webber said.Now, if he would only receive an RSVP from a certain politician.“Tell the governor he can even come,” Webber said. “Tell him we’d like to have him out here. He has a special invite from me.”
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