Grand Valley Days shortens to 1 day |

Grand Valley Days shortens to 1 day

Ryan Hoffman
Dressed as Tinker Bell, Sue Rill rides her motorcycle in the parade, which had become a tradition in recent years.
Provided by Lynn Shore |

One of the region’s longest running annual celebrations returns to Parachute Saturday with an abbreviated schedule.

The 108th Grand Valley Days celebration gets underway at 7 a.m. starting with a pancake breakfast at Grand Valley United Methodist Church on Parachute Avenue. A day filled with family fun, including a parade and rodeo, will follow the breakfast.

Unlike in previous years, this year’s celebration will be limited to one day. The change was made due to the loss of some experienced board members and difficult financial times, said Dave Devanney, with the Grand Valley Parks Association.

Organizers hope to return the event to its two-day format in the future and have no plans of dropping the “s” from days. However, this year the decision was made to cut the second day in order to try and focus on generating sponsorships.

Even with the programming change, there is still plenty to do, Devanney said.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Prior to the start of the annual parade at 10 a.m., Beasley Park will host a smoked turkey auction, sponsored by the Grand Valley Historical Society.

Speaking before Parachute trustees earlier this month, Devanney attested to the greatness of the turkeys, which are being donated by Rib City.

They “days of olde” parade will start at the intersection of Third Street and Parachute Avenue. Each year the parade honors a resident or group of residents for their commitment to the community by selecting them as grand marshal.

This year, Parachute Mayor Roy McClung, a lifelong resident whose great grandparents homesteaded on Parachute creek in the 1880s, will serve as grand marshal — a recognition that he said is an honor.

McClung, who works as a packaging supervisor at Natural Soda on Piceance Creek, said he loves living in a small town where his family has deep roots. Aside from aunts, uncles and cousins who live in or near Parachute, McClung has two daughters in high school and his eldest daughter lives in Rifle with her husband. His sister and her husband also live in Parachute and operate Old Mountain Gift and Jewelry.

“I love being in a small town in western Colorado,” McClung said. “The area is beautiful and it just feels like home to be here. … Knowing that my family has lived here for four generations and that my kids want to live here has a real sense of home to me.”

McClung, who handily won a recall effort earlier this year, also shared some optimism for the future.

“We live in an area with so much untapped opportunities for recreation and various businesses, it is exciting looking at what the area can become,” he said.

A bike rodeo and ice cream social will follow the parade. The rodeo, sponsored by the Parachute Police Department, will take place at the Grand Valley Center for Family Learning, and the social will be at the Beasley Park tent.

The rodeo gets underway at 7 p.m. in Cottonwood Park. General admission tickets are $10, while tickets for seniors are $5 and veterans and children 5 years old and younger get in for free. The evening ends with a street dance in Cottonwood Park from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Adding a twist to the fun, Shire of Draca-Mor, which Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur has described as a renaissance fair, will be in town Friday through Sunday.

After some initial confusion over scheduling space in Cottonwood Park, which also is hosting the renaissance fair, Devanney said he’s hoping the two events compliment one another and give the area a boost for the weekend.

“It’s going to be bigger and better with the medieval people and the cowboys and cowgirls,” he said.

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