Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Boulder Heritage Festival

I'm sitting here on my little porch in Boulder grappling with an opening sentence that will take me into the events of the last week or so. I really don't know where to begin. So, I'll begin by saying that The Boulder Heritage Festival was amazing, tiring, fantastic, emotional, stimulating, mind bending, and successful, all at once. Aside from all the suggestions I get each year from people, I can't think of much I would have changed this year, except a little more time to sit back, relax and visit. Then, that's always the way it is and will probably continue to be until I am an old man. 

If you have never been to the Festival, you should really put it in your plans to make the journey some year--its extraordinary in that so many different kinds of people ultimately show up and participate. Cowboys, Buddhists, pioneers, survivalists, farmers, mormons, revelators, drunks, poets, musicians, storytellers, farmers, farmer's daughters, rednecks, truck-drivers, historians, actors, writers, physical therapists, doctors, lawyers, mental patients, technicians, dogs, vendors, native americans, painters, etc. all show up at one time or another during the course of the festival. Its quite a collection of people. I am very fortunate in that I get to watch it all happen from the stage, and make my observations. 

This year, (because of some great donations) we were able to bring in some top talent to the stage, along with some amazing events in the conference room. Carla Werner was our main stage headliner this year, and she did an amazing job. Vikki Thorn, (of 'The Waifs') also brought here choral society to sing, which so confounded, (I mean that in a good way)  the audience that no one moved the whole time they were singing. 'Ridin' The Faultline' came for their eighth year at a Boulder Fest, and once again dispersed their bluegrass magic upon the crowd--'Home Jones', an R&B band from Phoenix kept the audience on their feet dancing until the festival closed that night. 'Camille and Doug Hall' did their best set ever--original songs with a regional flavor...magic songs for a magic setting. The night before, Rustin Reber's band Durty Burt went into Stevie Ray Vaughan territory, and again got the crowd dancing wildly amongst the beautiful lighting and cottonwood trees designed by Tracee Rohde and God. There were plays put on, great food, puppies, little kids with light necklaces dancing, reunions, and cool breezes for a hot day.  Seven riders rode the mail trail this year, from sun--up to six o'clock in the evening, in time to disperse the letters that came on horse back, from Escalante, twelve miles away on the mail trail.  The Barsch's gave their unique history of coming to Boulder, and the Peterson's came from as far away as Missouri to all get together for the first time in forty years. Ken Shurtz (of the Peterson family) told me that feuds were healed, songs were sung, and non-stop 'catching up' happening for three days. Dan Janssen, the saddle maker for 'Burns Saddlery', came from Salina to represent and sponsor the saddle show. Frank Lopez, 'The Saddle Man' was also there to do a workshop on braiding and be an in house expert on the saddles. Hell, my older brother even showed up, four weeks after having a heart attack. Everyone put in a maximum effort to make this the best festival ever!  Despite having to be very busy, I did have a great time, getting 'tiny' visits here and there. Cheryl did an amazing job getting people to talk about ranching, cowdogs, history, land ownership, and creativity, all while managing to pull off a dutch oven cook-off that fed probably three hundred people. Karen oversaw the silent auction, while her husband Rick cracked jokes and kept everyone laughing. (The Palmer's are all funny people).  My Aunt Margie, my Aunt Annie, my eighty-eight year old Aunt Renon, cousins, uncles, and second cousins were there. In a word, astonishing. 

Yesterday, I finally cleaned up my little house, which by the time the weekend was over looked like someone had lobbed in a hand grenade, order to chaos and back again folks, chaos to order... I also finally went to Deer Creek with my dear little pup, 'Baby' and walked up the creek, finally laying down in the cold clear water. I'm now looking for some order and routine again, so I don't go off on some bender and buy a horse or something stupid, but I think with the people around me, and my optimistic state of mind, I don't think that will happen, but if it does, I'll probably call someone from Mexico... 

Today, its off to Escalante for some propane so that I can take a shower, and then physical therapy from Jerome, and then up to The Hell's Backbone Grill' to sing for my supper and some gas money. What a great life, great life. I should have some time now to continue on with the reporting, there is much more to talk about, and more revelry to come...

6 comments:

Gerry said...

I was happy to see on my blog list, you reporting on the festival. Sounded like a most interesting time for you, especially, with so many of your Shurtz cousins also Petersens. I know you have not visited with them for a long time. I hope it was a memorable reunion for them as well as for you, and for many others. I still haven't talked to your brother Gary yet, but he peeked on the family site. He must still be tired and having to stay busy at work.
I am just waiting for Ronda and Jamal and Ethan to come bringing lunch. Hope to talk to you some more when you have unwound. Mom

caroline said...

It was WONDERFUL, Raymond. life really is so good, eh? see you at the grill.

Connie said...

Sounds like a very nice time was had..hope your momma makes it next time

Pamela said...

It all sounds great! You seem so happy. I'm so glad you are doing well.

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

I enjoyed your update about the Boulder Festival. It WAS an amazing time. The Peterson's together for the first time in 40 years is a miracle in itself. I was impressed and loved it all.
Aunt Annie

Cheryl said...

It was a great Festival. We just keep getting better and we don't even need therapy this year to be friends again. We are getting pretty good at this thing but it does take a little longer to recover, I finally didn't fall asleep when I sat down today.