Founders to be honored as Silt Heydays celebrates 50 years
Silt Heydays 2019
Friday and Saturday, July 26-27, Stoney Ridge Park, Silt
FRIDAY SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
6 p.m. — Garcia Van Dylan and Listen to the Music: the Doobie Brothers Experience, with fireworks. Tickets available at townofsilt.org
SATURDAY SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
7 a.m. — Tom & Rodrigo, under the tent; Pancake Breakfast – Silt Historical Society cooks at the park. Adults $7, seniors and children $5.
8 a.m. — Flag raising, Garfield County Sheriff’s Patrol Honor Guard, Camp Badge, Edgar Allen Roe VFW Post 9304, and Rifle American Legion Kelly Hansen Post 78 (at the flagpole)
9 a.m. — Parade judging at Cactus Valley Elementary School
10 a.m. — Booths open, parade starts at Cactus Valley Elementary School, First and Grand. The parade’s route runs east on Grand Avenue to Ninth Street, north to the Park then back down Seventh Street and Grand to the school.
The theme is “Silt Heydays’ 50th Anniversary…Then and Now.” No entry fees, but sign up early. Lineup and judging starts at 9.
11 a.m. — Silt Historical Society Beer Booth opens in the park; Anvil Points Quilt Guild show at the Silt Historical Park; horseshoe tournament at the pits (sign up at the info booth); kids games, Grand River Historical Truck on Orchard Avenue.
11:15 a.m. — Raptor Fest, featuring Ted Floyd, editor of Birding Magazine and noted bird expert (in the park).
12:15 a.m. — Raptor Fest, featuring Chadd Drott (in the park)
1 p.m. — Vintage Base Ball (across from Silt Historical Park)
1:30 p.m. — The Scones (main stage)
2 p.m. — Cornhole tournament, in the park (sign up at the info booth)
3 p.m. — Raptor Fest Talon Talk, featuring natures educators (in the park)
3:30 p.m. — Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest (8 and older), with prizes (at the tent)
4:30 p.m. — Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by Village Inn, at the tent
5 p.m. — Jalapeno Eating Contest (18 and older), sponsored by Tequilas (at the tent)
6 p.m. — Ugly Rumor, sponsored by town of Silt (main stage)
If you trace back five decades of history, you will find Bob Gordon and Mary Jane Hangs were there when Silt Heydays began.
Gordon, who grew up in nearby New Castle, a carpenter by trade, had purchased a home in the small neighboring town of Silt with his wife Judy.
“Silt was kind of a different town back then. It was kind of a shot out of the Wild West. It was the perfect farming community,” Gordon said.
While working out of state in 1968, the Gordons came upon a small festival in Northern California.
“I spent a short time in California framing for a guy,” Gordon said. “I was there when they did Big Foot Days, and it was just a celebration that brought all kinds of people together. They just had a really good time …
“I had an idea. We came back to Silt, and I started talking to all my good friends about this Big Foot Days, and how impressed I was with it,” Gordon said.
Lifelong Silt resident Mary Jane Hangs, who ran the local drug store at the time, remembered when Bob came home from California and asked everyone to meet at the Odd Fellows Hall.
“All the business people and anybody else he badgered into coming that night … there must have been 50 people at that first meeting,” Hangs said.
“He said he had an idea that can put Silt on the map. We all went, because we respected Bobby. He didn’t tell us what it was about until we got there.”
Hangs recalls the idea as a little hometown type of doing.
She said Gordon was bound and determined that Silt was going to do it, and everyone there thought it was a good idea and they were willing to do the work.
When it came to deciding on what to call it, Gordon remembers the chatter between everyone.
“We started talking about it and people began saying, ‘Hey, what you think?,’ and someone else would say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?,’” Gordon said.
That’s pretty much how it started. And Silt Heyday, singular in those days, was born.
Gordon and Hangs said it was a real town effort to get the community event off the ground and running.
“They took the fire engine out and gathered up donations for the first one. They did that for a couple of years,’ Hangs said.
The first annual Silt Heyday all began in Veterans Memorial Park in 1969, in the heart of town.
Gordon said fellow Heyday founders Ray and Veta Scherar lived right next to the park back then.
“Ray opened his garage door and we cooked breakfast right there,” Gordon said.
“There were a few of us cooking and people really turned out. It was pretty much a whole town effort,” he said.
Hangs can’t recall how many people came, but she still remembers everyone there who helped cook that first breakfast.
“We fed a lot of people. The Silt people came that first year, and they really took a part in it. They have always been true to it,” Hangs said.
Hangs said the first year after the breakfast, they had a parade and even had a queen contest, hamburger lunch in the park, children’s games, and finished the night with a potluck supper and a dance.
“The park was full with people chit-chatting,” Hangs said.
She even remembers that it rained the first year, but it didn’t stop people from enjoying the day.
“It was all over by midnight. Everybody had a good time and enjoyed it so much.”
The 50th Silt Heydays will get underway Friday with live music and fireworks at Stoney Ridge Park.
A full day of festivities begins at 7 a.m. Saturday with the traditional Pancake Breakfast.
Gordon and Hangs will lead the parade down Grand Avenue at 10 a.m.
“I’ll be happy to see some old friends that I haven’t seen for a while. I know they will be there — I’m sure they will,” Gordon said.
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.