Rain or shine, Rifle’s an adventure
Rifle had some commotion on its downtown streets on Saturday: For the first time in decades the city hosted a block party. Anybody who attended might have left a little wet, but for city officials it showed that Rifle’s new Western Adventure Weekend should be here to stay.
“If not for the rain … it will be even bigger next year,” said event coordinator Alice Beauchamp.
Mayor Barbara Clifton said that Rifle’s new fall blowout is something the city will continue to try to support and expand.
“I talked to one couple that came all the way from Denver,” she said.
Rifle Planning Manager Nathan Lindquist said it was the first time he’s ever seen a story posted to the Facebook group Rifle COnnected where all of the comments were positive.
“This was something people seem to have wanted for a long time,” he added.
While Saturday was a whole new scene for Rifle, as long-time resident Gary Miller explained, it was not Rifle’s first downtown concert. Fiddle festivals used to come through town 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 Western Adventure Weekend just after the rain stopped Saturday.
Beauchamp said that the band wasn’t familiar with Rifle prior to the show, but was a perfect fit because they are currently on tour.
According to Lindquist, the band stuck around, answered any questions and could be seen hanging out at the Texan Bar well after the show ended.
“They seemed to really enjoy the small-town atmosphere,” he said.
Though the event is 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.
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 smoothly.
“It went as well as could be expected with rain for most of the event,” said Beauchamp, who started setting up the day’s events at 6 a.m. and had to buy new clothes because hers got soaked. She found a new outfit at nearby Miller’s Dry Goods.
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Garfield County is seeking to qualify its four west-end communities for Colorado’s Rural Jump Start program, providing tax breaks for new businesses.