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RANGELY I After years of playing a major role in Septemberfest activities, the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District (WRBM) has become the event’s sole coordinator.
In the past, the Chamber of Commerce has worked with the WRBM on Rangely’s largest annual event. But last winter, WRBM Executive Director Tim Webber offered to take over the planning of both Septemberfest and Christmasfest.
“It seemed like the right thing to do,” Webber said. “At some point, (former chamber member) Paula Padilla said to me, ‘You know, Septemberfest really should be a rec and parks deal.’ Who was running it kept changing from year to year. This way, who’s running it will stay the same.”
Rangely Chamber of Commerce board president Henry Hames said the change was necessary.
“I couldn’t see any reason the chamber was still doing it,” Hames said. “Its primary function is to promote business, so to operate something like this just didn’t seem right. I think the WRBM taking it over is a much better fit. The rec district was already doing a lot of the work.”
For seven years now, Webber and his staff have coordinated many of the events people have come to associate with the Labor Day weekend celebration. That includes the 5K walk/run and park games on Saturday, the chili cookoff Saturday night, and the parade and craft fair on Monday.
Still, Webber said that contributions made by community members and businesses are key to the event’s continued success.
“We’re still investing the same money as before, if not more,” Webber said. “That includes staff time and in-kind work. But there is an immense amount of time, effort, and people that goes into this. We have lots of different players, from churches and volunteers to the town and the county, plus a whole lot of local businesses. This is truly a community event.”
In addition to activities that return to Septemberfest each year, the WRBM has added several new items to its calendar of events. Those include a cardboard boat race Sunday afternoon at the camper park, the delayed Fourth of July fireworks display Sunday night at Kenney Reservoir, and a magician’s show sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts on Monday evening.
“When we decide to go for something, we pretty much decide to go big,” Webber said.