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A berry good weekend

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A good time was had by just about everyone.This year’s Strawberry Days was a success by many accounts. The parade route was packed with enthusiastic onlookers, most vendors reported good sales, the kids had fun on the carnival rides and lots of people enjoyed the live entertainment in Sayre “Strawberry” Park. “This year’s festival has been great,” said Rae Lynn Westley, a staff member of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, which puts on the event. “It’s been very successful. I think people really liked the `paradise’ theme and had fun decorating floats. We’re almost all out of the Hawaiian shirts we’ve been selling.””And we only have extra-larges left in our regular T-shirts,” added Donni Cochran, who was helping out. “We’ve sold out of everything else.”Vendors had a range of opinions regarding this year’s “Days.” Debra Partin of Katya’s Korner, a jewelry booth featuring handcrafted copper and brass ear cuffs and chokers, said she is on the road every weekend all summer doing shows. Partin, who lives in Pueblo, rated Strawberry Days a “seven and a half or eight” out of 10 on the festival circuit.”It’s not the best and it’s not the worst,” she said in terms of sales, customers and quality. “I’m not sure if I’ll come back. I can’t say. I always say I’ll never do the rodeo in Las Vegas, and I always end up there.”Lowell and Ruth Rohs of Scottsdale, Ariz., were a bit more sure.”We’ll be back,” Ruth said. “This is our second year here and we love it.”The Rohs make their own gourmet fudge sauce that Lowell said “goes wonderfully well with strawberries.”That may be my only complaint,” he said, smiling. “I thought a festival named `Strawberry Days’ would have more strawberries!”Jane K. Smith is an artist and jeweler out of Littleton who creates colorful, whimsical picture frames, magnets and jewelry.”This is a nice show,” Smith said, as she made change for a customer buying a picture frame. “I’ll most likely be back next year.” She brought her booth, called “Just Plain Jane,” to Glenwood, and was met by her uncle, Glenwood resident Dick Ryman, who helped her set up her tent and unload her wares.”It’s nice to have family in town,” she said with a smile.Jerry and Donnetta McMullen couldn’t say enough good things about their experience in Glenwood. The two create jewelry from recycled telephone wire and call their booth “Conversation Pieces.” “This is a dream!” Jerry said of Glenwood’s weather, amenities and hospitality. “We’re from the Midwest, and this is our favorite event.”Jerry, who came up with the idea of making jewelry out of phone wire when he was a contractor, said they’ve been participating in Strawberry Days since they discovered Glenwood Springs by chance several years ago. “We were driving through and needed to go to a Wal-Mart,” he said. “Somebody told us there was one here. We headed through town, and discovered Strawberry Days was going on. We’ve been in love with Glenwood since.”Over at the Food Court, “Uncle Angelo” Decamillis, who also sells his Italian food at Denver’s Invesco Field, was experiencing his first Strawberry Days. And although he loves Glenwood (“I’ve been coming up here for 50 years,” he said), he did have one complaint.Decamillis said Strawberry Days’ organizers weren’t upfront with him when they didn’t tell him that the Elks were going to be grilling Italian sausages within sight of his cart. He said he doesn’t mind competition, but when it’s a fraternal organization like the Elks, it cuts into his business.”Don’t get me wrong,” he said, standing at his booth, Uncle Angelo’s Italian Sandwiches. “I like the Elks. But I don’t think it’s fair they’re selling Italian sausage over there.”Ironically, the Elks get their sausages from Uncle Angelo’s cousin, Carmine Luiggi, who’s also in Denver.”I love my cousin, and I got no problem with the Elks,” said Uncle Angelo. “But will I come back next year? Maybe, if the organizers work something out with me. But not if the Elks are going to be selling my cousin’s sausage.” There weren’t any food fights at the far end of the Food Court, where Peter Read was spinning crepes. Equipped with crepe pans and a metal spatula, Read worked his magic, forming a delectable strawberry (what else?) crepe, complete with chocolate drizzles and whipped cream. “This is our third year here,” Read said of the Bountiful, Utah-based crepe makers. “We’ll be back.” Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com


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