Burning Mountain Festival
Call it the modern-day version, but it appears that New Castle still attracts a few outlaws.
And while it was hard to miss Donnie Lente in his 1968 Dodge Charger, along with a few of his car rally rebels burning rubber on New Castle’s Main Street before the parade, the cowboys, it seemed, were … strangely absent.
But they had a good reason.
This year’s 33rd annual Burning Mountain Festival drew more than 1,000 people on Saturday.
The theme was “The Spirit of the Old West,” which honored the town’s rich history of coalmining and frontier life ” an idea some think, is getting lost in suburbia.
“We’re losing the real flavor of the Old West,” Ross Talbott said. He believes the festival is an important event because it connects the community to the people, places and events that set the atmosphere of New Castle.
“It’s who we are,” he said.
And perhaps Pete Mattivi embodies that native spirit more than anyone.
In his 101 years, Mattivi has played a major role in the story of the town through his involvement in the community. “He’s our role model,” said Chamber volunteer Patty Ringer.
This year they named him Grand Marshal of the festival.
“The older people have carried on the sense of community that is well established here.” Ringer said.
So maybe it’s best that Mattivi didn’t know where the cowboys were.
After all, no one had seen them near the old saloons, slinging their six-guns getting ready for a living history reenactment of a shootout at high noon.
“We were stuck in traffic,” Alan Lambert said.
But it wasn’t always like that, and Chris Tribble and his production company, True Media Foundation, who filmed part of the event, will make sure that future generations know that.
Through a youth mentorship program, Tribble and his team of aspiring filmmakers interview and film pioneers like Mattivi in vignettes that retell the history of Garfield County.
“The generation that’s coming up needs to be educated,” he said.
The documentary premieres in Glenwood Aug. 29 in Centennial Park during the Farmer’s Market.
PBS will air the film at a later date.
Meanwhile, the New Castle Chamber is at work on a new branding program that will market the authenticity of the town.
“It means we are a product of our geography … of the life that has always been here.” Ringer said. “We are not trying to be anything but what we are.”
And maybe that means that at least once a year, cowboys can be cowboys and classic car enthusiasts can put the pedal to the metal.
Just remember the rules of the outlaw still apply and if the authorities ask, you didn’t read it here, okay?
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