Inside the Chamber column: Strawberry Days — 50 Years of Peace, Love and Learning with CMC | PostIndependent.com

Inside the Chamber column: Strawberry Days — 50 Years of Peace, Love and Learning with CMC

Angie Anderson
Inside the Chamber
Angie Anderson

In 1962, the newly hired Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce manager, David Delaplane, came across a file folder labeled “Education Committee.” Deciding that a community college was needed, he convened a committee to collect signatures for a petition and prepared a ballot measure. In 1965, voters in five counties approved the new taxpayer-supported college. In 1966 Spring Valley ranchers and landowners donated 588 acres for the West Campus. Colorado Mountain College’s first classes were held in the fall of 1967.

Fifty years later, Delaplane’s vision has blossomed into a multi-campus college that has served a half million students across Colorado’s Western Slope. Since CMC was essentially born out of what is today known as the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, it’s fitting to celebrate this incredible milestone at our community’s largest celebration, Strawberry Days.

Strawberry Days celebrates 120 years June 16-18 with the theme 50 Years of Peace, Love and Learning with CMC. Coincidently, 1967 is also the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love.” The weekend includes live music and entertainment, FamilyFest, a parade, an arts and crafts fair, beer garden and food court. The festival officially opens on Friday at noon.

Main Stage entertainment begins Friday evening with the crowning of the Bighorn Toyota Miss Strawberry Days and an appearance by the Strawberry princesses. Colorado’s best ’80s covers band, The Goonies, headlines Friday night. Gora Gora Orkestrar takes the stage Saturday after the parade followed by Let Them Roar and the Scones-Kinder Band. Saturday’s headliner, the Freddy Jones Band, is best known for its No. 1 hits “In A Daydream” and “Take The Time.” Sunday’s locals’ showcase includes the Earthbeat Children’s Choir, Sleepy Justice and The Dave Notor Band. The festival concludes Sunday evening with La Fiebre del Sabor and Conjunto Revelación, an exciting combination of cultural music and dance.

FamilyFest offers children’s amusements, pony rides, a petting zoo, mini train, a caricature artist, face painters, the Salida Circus performers and more. The FamilyFest stage emceed by Jammin Jim offers entertainment Saturday and Sunday.

The parade takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 16, on Grand Avenue. David Delaplane and Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, president & CEO of Colorado Mountain College, will be honored as grand marshals. The Kiwanis Club will serve free strawberries and ice cream at Sayre Park after the parade until supplies run out.

A mixture of over 100 local, regional and national artisans will be selling their one-of-a-kind creations.

Some people come to the festival just for the food. From gyros to funnel cakes, Navajo tacos and giant turkey legs, the choice of what to eat in the Strawberry Days food court isn’t easy.

The Wright’s Amusements Strawberry Days Carnival will take place at the Glenwood Springs Mall parking lot June 15-18. Discount passes can be purchased through June 15 at strawberrydays.com or at the Glenwood Springs Chamber, located at 802 Grand Ave.

Other community events include the Miss Strawberry Days Fashion show at the Glenwood Hot Springs on Thursday, June 15, where contestants will model clothing from local stores. The annual Valley View Hospital Auxiliary Pie Day takes place on Friday morning at the First United Methodist Church. Sunday begins early with the Strawberry Shortcut Race and Rotary Pancake Breakfast, and of course the Kiwanis Ball Race takes place Sunday afternoon.

For me the biggest celebration of the weekend takes place June 18, when our strawberry blonde daughter turns 3. She was born during Strawberry Days week in 2014 amid all the last-minute preparations. While our amazing team pulled off the festival without a hitch, just across the street from Sayre Park at Valley View Hospital our family of two became three.

A sign hangs in our daughter’s room that reads: “Dream Big Little One.” Thanks to David Delaplane and other visionaries, I can share with her the story of how a dusty old file folder turned into a nationally recognized college. I will continue to encourage our daughter to dream big even when the sign in her room is replaced with something of her own taste. With passion, hard work and collaboration, anything is possible.

See you at Sayre (Strawberry) Park, June 16-18. A special thanks to our sponsors, volunteers and so many others throughout the community that make this event possible. For more information about the 120th annual Strawberry Days Festival, visit StrawberryDays.com. To learn more about CMC’s 50th anniversary, visit cmcbecauseofyou.org.

Angie Anderson is the executive vice president of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.