New Castle gears up for a party |

New Castle gears up for a party

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” Those who know and love New Castle all say the same kind of things. It’s a great place to raise a family, they exclaim. It’s beautiful and friendly, a community with a real heart.

Why then, does it only get one big celebration a year?

That’s what Judy Shaffer is saying.

Bring on the first ever New Castle Day and Fall Festival.

“It’s just a great community for people to be together,” she explained. “We decided it would be great to honor that birthday.”

This all started when the 34-year New Castle resident was having coffee with Andy Barton, Bucky Moser and mayor Frank Breslin. Knowing that New Castle’s 120th anniversary was coming up, they felt there needed to be a new gala in town.

Move over Burning Mountain Festival.

Saturday’s brand-spanking-new shindig won’t be nearly as big, but its small-town soul should be the same.

In Shaffer’s words, “People just seem ready to help this community.”

Kristi Wirt, for example, will be holding free wine tastings at her liquor store, Spirits of New Castle, all through the afternoon. Wirt, who’s lived in town for the last 13 years, will be rotating out six different wines, giving passersby four, one ounce tastes. For her, helping out with the day was a no-brainer.

“The town is growing so much, and it brings awareness to what a cute little quaint town we have,” she said.

Down the street, New Castle native Patti Reich, of Patti’s Main Street Coffeehouse, feels the same.

“We have so many new people,” she said. “It’s nice to let people know that we’re here, that we’re in our 120th year, and we’re still going.”

Her contribution to this Saturday?

Hot cider, caramel apples and a fall menu, all available at her little shop.

At Burning Mountain Park, Tracy Flores-Cordova and Bridget Gonsalez are showing their community spirit by hosting activities for adults and children alike. After kids-only pumpkin painting, a doggie costume contest will fill the park. While Flores-Cordova has lived in Rifle most of her life, she’s had her business, Sassy Cutz, in New Castle for the last two years. When given a chance to volunteer with Saturday, she jumped at it.

In her words, “It’s a great, historical downtown, and it’s growing, and why not celebrate something like that?”

Other folks on the same wavelength are Patti Ringer, whose Oz Gallery will be presenting artist demonstrations all day. At Burning Mountain Park, like-minded growers such as the local Osage Gardens, will be showing off their produce, as artisans show off their wares. A few food booths should be on-hand as well. At some point, the first ever Citizen of the Year award will be given out, though the recipient remains a guarded secret.

Of all this activity and excitement, Shaffer just seemed pleased to be a part of it. In the future, she explained, she can imagine it growing and evolving, being the kind of down-home little festival that only New Castle could put on.

“It’s fun doing event planning,” she said. “And I really enjoy seeing people get together.”

Then she’s definitely in the right town.

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