All smiles as 117th Strawberry Days kicks off
June 22, 2014
While many locals were still at work, Strawberry Days began quietly on Friday, with some old traditions and some newer additions. Although many of the biggest events take place over the weekend, here are some highlights from the first full day of festivities.
The Valley View Hosptial auxiliary has sold home-baked pies for the last 52 years, raising money to fund scholarships and medical education.
Mark Rinehart and his family left Pie Day with 30 pieces and two whole pies, but there was still some pie left for latecomers at the First United Methodist Church. Rinehart has attended nearly every Pie Day since 1986. Organizers call him the "Pie King", but he prefers "Pie Whisperer," which he characterizes as a "tasty position".
"To me, this is the high holy day of pie," said Rinehart. "It's the only time you can eat as much pie as you like and not hurt anyone else's chance of getting some."
Those who opted for only a single piece were faced with the daunting challenge of choosing from a dizzying variety. Some opt for the largest piece they can find, others hunt for a specific flavors, and still others judge solely by crust.
"It's personal preference," explained auxiliary member Sharon Andersen. It helps to be in line at 9 a.m. when they open.
"The sooner you get here, the more choice you have," she said.
MISS STRAWBERRY DAYS
Karyme Meixueiro, sponsored by À la Carte, was crowned Miss Strawberry Days 2014 and will receive a $3,000 scholarship. Runner-up Courtney Olson will receive $2,500, second runner-up Mariah Kadrmas $2,000, and Miss Congeniality Sierra Martin $500.
For the first time, The Roaring Fork Quilt Guild's Quilt Show is taking place in tandem with Strawberry Days. 57 quilts of all sizes are on display at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church just north of Sayre Park today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Quilters from Rifle to Aspen contributed to the show, titled "Colors of Colorado". Although it's usually an annual event, the guild missed last year and has been planning this weekend since last fall.
This year, quilters were challenged to create a "postcard quilt" no more than 6" square. Also, in keeping with the weekend's theme, each quilt contains a strawberry.
Susan Husseman took 1st and 3rd for "French Braid" and "Bold over Texas Beautus." A special Judge's Choice award was presented for Kelly Wood's "Grandmother's Flower Garden". Vicki Ruechel's "Northern Wilderness" took second.
The Roaring Fork Quilt Guild was formed when guilds in Carbondale and Glenwood merged because of overlapping membership. They meet at the Carbondale Library at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month and at the Glenwood Library every fourth Monday.
"We're all fabriholics," explained event co-organizer Lynn Kerr. "We try to be active and teach new techniques."
For more information, call 274-4030.
VERN'S MINI TRAIN
Vern DeGroot's has brought his Mini Train to Strawberry Days for the past 22 years. DeGroot built the ride himself out of a modified lawn mower and an assortment of barrels. Mostly, the train is booked throughout the Front Range for block parties, company events, birthday parties, church functions, school carnivals, and the like. During Strawberry Days, it's located on the north end of the park and costs $2 to ride. For more information check out vernsminitrain.com.
AN AUSPICIOUS ANNIVERSARY
Daniel and Stacy Mortensen were married during Strawberry Days in 1981 and drove past the festivities on their way to their honeymoon, wearing a tuxedo and white dress in a convertible with the top down. Daniel, a Glenwood native, never missed a Strawberry Days before or since.
You won't see many Styrofoam cups at the park this year.
It's the fourth year in a row that Evergreen Events is serving as the green team for the festival, and the second with SGM as the primary financial support.
Thanks to mandatory recycling and composting and the cooperation of the food vendors, waste from Strawberry Days has been drastically reduced in recent years.
Last year, only 14 yards of trash went to the landfill, compared with 14 yards of cardboard recycle, 31 yards of commingled recycling, and 28 yards of compost. 165 gallons of used cooking oil was also captured for reuse as fuel.
"It's very apparent when you see the rolloffs," observed Evergreen cofounder Alyssa Reindel
Still, the team could use more help. The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association organizes "Green Strawberry" volunteers, but there aren't enough to cover every trashcan.
"It would be great if we had more volunteers to stand at the stations," said Reindel.
NEW CHAMBER CHICK
Planning for the 117th Strawberry Days festival took a brief pause Wednesday within Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association circles when word spread of a new addition to the chamber family. Angie Anderson, vice president of operations for the chamber and a key Strawberry Days organizer every year, gave birth to a baby girl, right on cue for Glenwood Springs' premier annual event.
She and husband Scott Anderson welcomed Paige Emaline into the world at 3 a.m. on June 18. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 21 inches.
"A new chamber chick has arrived," GSCRA President and CEO Marianne Virgili announced in an email blast to chamber officials later that morning. Virgili said planning for the festivities continued without a hitch.
John Stroud contributed to this report.