Meekerpalooza and Range Call plan to move most events to Ute Park

MEEKER I Meekerpalooza Arts and Music Festival, to be held on Saturday, June 6, and Range Call, held annually during the Fourth of July in Meeker, will take on a new look this year as both events, which have had a heavy presence in downtown Meeker, will be making a major move to Ute Park, located just west of town, where the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials have been held.

Meeker Town Manager Scott Meszaros said Friday that the town itself has had very little to do with the decisions on each event’s relocation. He said the Range Call Committee asked the town if they could use Ute Park instead of downtown while continuing to place several events at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds.
The annual Fourth of July parade will remain in town along Main Street, Meszaros said.
Stephanie Kobald and her sister, Vanessa Trout, are spearheading Meekerpalooza for the Meeker Arts and Cultural Committee (MACC) on June 6 with live bands running to 10 p.m. with three bands from other parts of Colorado and four local bands, Kobald said. The four Meeker area bands are: Matt Holiday and Friends, Casserole Beans, the Clover Loafers and Los Venados; the Colorado bands are: Great American Taxi, Hog MaGundy and the Brian Jordan Band.
The event is a tribute to Bobby Castaldo and Jason Hightower, Kobald said.
“We all felt that Ute Park is more spacious, more visible, it can hold more people and White River Electric Association has really enhanced the power capability at Ute Park,” Kobald said. “That makes it much more convenient for all the vendors.
She added that vendors interested in setting up for Meekerpalooza can still do so by calling 970-439-0183 or by emailing: vanessa@meekerartsandculture.org.
Other events scheduled for the day include: arts and crafts; a kids’ crafts corner with interactive arts activities; A Taste of Meeker, featuring area chefs and restaurants; a beer garden; a giant Jenga game; and a noon triathlon from the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation Center to Ute Park.
Those who wish to can either camp on site or there is lodging available in town.
Kobald also said there may be fireworks at dark but that event is still a bit tentative.
Price of admission to Meekerpalooza will be $5 while kids under 10 and adults 65 and over will be free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.
There is still a question, Meszaros said, as to whether this will be a one-year-only change or if it will become permanent.
The town is glad for the move this year with the work going on at the justice center between Fourth and Fifth streets, Meszaros said, adding that the town didn’t want to shut down any more that Fifth Street because of the gazebo project as part of the county project.
“The town, the county and the recreation district are going to have to get together to decide what to do with our outdoor events,” he said. “The reality is that most of it will be up to the county as they own the courthouse, the new justice center property and the gazebo, which will be right in the middle of what is now Fifth Street.
Range Call, which will run Thursday, July 2 through the night of Saturday, July 4, will utilize the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, Ute Park and Main Street in downtown Meeker only for Saturday’s Fourth of July parade.
Dawn Pozorski, one of the organizers of the Range Call activities, said Monday that activities will begin on Thursday with carnival rides opening at 2 p.m. at Ute Park, and a diesel tractor-truck pull at 6 p.m. at the fairgrounds.
Friday activities will begin at 8 a.m. with Colorado Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) slack roping, followed at 10 p.m. with the carnival at Ute Park, 2 p.m. with a hypnotist, and at 3 p.m. with the CPRA Rodeo. At dusk will be the recreation of the Meeker Massacre inside the rodeo arena at the fairgrounds.
On Saturday is the ERBM Rec Center’s 5-kilometer run with registration from 6-7 a.m. The 5-kilometer run will begin downtown at 7:30 a.m. Also at 7:30 a.m. will be start of the Lions Club breakfast, which will run until 10 a.m. at the Meeker Masonic Lodge.
The Range Call Parade will follow the breakfast at 10 a.m., running down Main Street in Meeker.
Vendors and rides will again open at 10 a.m. and run until 4:30 p.m. at Ute Park. A hypnotist will also be entertaining again, this time at noon at Ute Park and at 11 a.m., Faith Baptist Church in Meeker will put on two barbecues, one at Ute Park and one downtown, Pozorski said, “so no one is missed, whether they are at Ute Park or downtown to watch the parade.”
At 1 p.m. will be the recreation of the Meeker bank robbery and that action will again take place at the intersection of Sixth and Main streets.
At 1 p.m., the calcutta will take place at the county fairgrounds; and 2 p.m. is the start of the kids events at the fairgrounds, all sponsored by the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Parks District. Those events will run the same time as the Ranch Rodeo at the fairgrounds.
At 5 p.m., the gates will open for the Sawyer Brown Band concert; at 5:30 will be another performance by the hypnotist; and at 7 p.m., the concert kicks off with the Country and Western Chancey Williams Band, followed by Sawyer Brown.
Fireworks will again take place at dusk, and the Meeker Fire District will conduct the fireworks, to be shot off from Highlands Cemetery, towering above Meeker’s City Park.
After the fireworks, there will be the annual barn dance in the old exhibition hall at the fairgrounds. That will run until midnight.
“We were told not to go downtown,” Pozorski said of the Range Call. “The town said they didn’t want all these people running around with the new county Justice Center construction project under way.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens next year” she said. “I would hope we can be downtown where we can use the new gazebo and lawn on the courthouse and justice center blocks.”
“But certainly our best bet for size this year was Ute Park,” Pozorski said.