by John Weckerle
Wildlife West Nature Park’s Harvest Festival and Edgewood’s annual Run, Rally & Rock event, organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, were held this weekend. Both events were hosted by Wildlife West.
Festivities began with a sock hop Friday night, and continued with Wildlife West’s annual 5K Pronghorn Fun Run & Pancake Breakfast the next morning. Edgewood’s first parade, organized largely by Chamber volunteers Judy Hudgins and Pauline Freeman, was also held Saturday morning. With 110 entries, the parade was reportedly both well organized and well attended, and a great time was had by all. Former mayor Howard Calkins participated, riding one of his well-known antique tractors. Town Councilors Rita Loy Simmons, Brad Hill, John Abrams, and Glenn Felton served as judges for the parade. Conspicuously absent from the festivities was current mayor Bob Stearley, who earlier this year spearheaded a successful effort to eliminate most of the Town’s funding for the events.
The fun continued throughout the weekend, with a business expo (organized by the Chamber) and the Harvest Festival held at Wildlife West. Events included a Farmer’s Market, carnival games, Jack Russell terrier lure coursing, a climbing wall, music with several bands, tractor games, a juried fine art show, pet micro-chipping, “Dumpy Big Foot” rides, dance exhibitions, costume parties, jam sessions, a horseshoe tournament, and wine tasting. Wildlife West estimates that at least 650 people passed through the gates to enjoy Saturday’s events. The Chuckwagon Dinner featuring Syd Masters and the Swing Riders boasted 325 attendees (two more of these events are scheduled for the season).
The success of these events, and that of the music festival held at Wildlife West earlier this month, may be an illustration of the old saying “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” While the Town did provide some funding for advertising, most of its support was cut off, with little time for alternatives to be pursued. In the case of the music festival, local residents declared that they wanted their music festival by raising approximately $13,000 to support the event. The success of both events clearly shows that when the community comes together to support the things it values, great things can happen.
For photos of the events at Wildlife West, including full-size renditions of some of the photos seen here, visit the slide show on the Wildlife West web site.