Rain can’t stop Rifle’s Western weekend
For the first time in decades, Rifle hosted a concert on its downtown streets Saturday, and despite a little rain, city officials and longtime residents expressed excitement over what the future holds for Western Adventure Weekend.
More than 1,700 people reserved tickets for the big downtown street concert, which 36-year resident Gary Miller said was the first he’s seen in Rifle since fiddle festivals in the 1980s.
“Nice to see it come back,” he said. “It really introduces Rifle to a whole new group of people that haven’t stopped by before. I hope to see more things like this in the future.”
Led Zeppelin cover band Get the Led Out, the headliner for the weekend, played a free show to close out the block party just after the rain stopped Saturday. The band, having just played at Red Rocks Amphitheatre the Thursday before for $42.50 a ticket, remains a notable attraction for the town as it attempts to continue to expand Western Adventure Weekend for years to come.
Event coordinator Alice Beauchamp said that the band wasn’t familiar with Rifle prior to the show, but was a perfect fit because it is currently on tour.
Who will be booked for the event next year? Beauchamp joked that organizers might begin planning as early as next Tuesday.
“We plan to keep it going and to keep building it,” she added.
Only in its second year, Beauchamp and many others with the city hope to make the fourth weekend of September Rifle’s weekend. While the Saturday concert was the main attraction, city officials brought in a gun show at the Garfield County Fairgrounds for Saturday and Sunday to go with the Western adventure theme. It’s the first gun show in Rifle in recent memory.
After the first show, operations manager Carlos Ramirez hopes to expand the two-day event next year.
The Ute Theatre also got in on the fun, hosting the Hazel Miller Band on Friday. Ute manager Wayne Pleasants was pleased with the attendance. On Saturday the theater hosted a quinceanera.
Western Adventure Weekend wouldn’t be possible without a collaboration among businesses, organizations and departments that make Rifle what it is, as anybody who has a stake in the town’s success wanted to get involved and ensure the event ran as smoothly as possible.
“It went as well as could be expected with rain for most of the event,” Beauchamp added, who started setting up the day’s events at 6 a.m. and had to buy new clothes because hers got soaked. She went to nearby Miller’s Dry Goods.
“If not for the rain … It will be even bigger next year,” she said.
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Citing employee safety and cost effectiveness, the city will soon relocate the five departments currently housed in its Municipal Operations Center (MOC).