The autumn festival brings the community together

Dale Jablonski of Vernal, Utah, shows off his merchandise at Craig’s annual Downtown Fall Festival on Saturday.
Eliza Noe / Craig Press

Stalls and vintage cars lined the sidewalk of the 500 block of Yampa Avenue on Saturday for this year’s fall festival.

Various traders and community groups gathered to sell their handicrafts and connect with the Craig locals. From wreaths to dog snacks to outdoor gear, festival goers had a wide range of opportunities to support local and slightly less local businesses.

Dale Jablonksi, an artist from Vernal, Utah, represented one of these companies. Jablonksi said this is his third year at the Fall Festival, but he comes back to Craig regularly for other events like Whittle the Wood. Jablonski mainly works with wood art, which he has been doing professionally for 10 years.

“I fought fires for 33 years,” said Jablonski. “I’ve worked with wood all my life, but that’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since. For me it’s a good habit and a healthy obsession. “

Jablonski’s wife also exhibited pottery at the festival. She originally learned to make pottery in community classes, but has since moved to sell her art to the public.

“My favorite art is the one that uses segmented wood,” added Jablonski. “That takes a lot of patience. Firefighters typically don’t have much of that. We always try to just get out and get things done quickly. “

In addition to sellers, local groups used the festival to collect donations. The Moffat County High School cheer team sold bags of cotton candy to cover the cost of personal items that are part of the team’s uniforms. Though the school carries high costs like uniforms and shoes, head coach Kamisha Siminoe said, the festival funds help the girls afford additional accessories like matching bows.

Moffat County High School cheer team representatives are working on the cotton candy machine at Craig’s Fall Fest on Saturday to raise money for cheer accessories.
Eliza Noe / Craig Press

“We were busy all day,” said Siminoe. “We hang bags on the edge of the tent and we couldn’t keep them in stock.”

Siminoe added that the fundraiser is one of two the team will be running this year. The other will be a cheer camp that will take place later this fall.

“The people in this community are great supporters of the school and the teams,” added Siminoe. “We had people who would just come up to us and give us five or ten dollars – just like that. We are just very grateful for everyone who came today to support us. “

The festival also featured a variety of food trucks and live entertainment. On Saturday, festival goers heard a live performance by The Badly Bent, a bluegrass group whose members are from the Durango area. This was their first time at Craig, but banjo player Mark Epstein said they enjoyed their set.

“It’s just a really nice city and good environment,” said Epstein. “My favorite part (about gigs) is sharing with the audience what each of the songs is about.”

Later in the day, community members can visit the center of Craig for the city’s Ghost Walk Tours, which share stories of local historical figures and about the city of Craig during the Wild West. A sit-down performance began at 4:40 p.m., with hikes that lasted until 7 p.m. all evening. Ghost Walk returns at the same time next Saturday.

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