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September 27, 2012
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After a brief absence last week, the life-size statue of Col. Sanders is back home in front of Old Kentucky Tavern in downtown Eagle.

"I bawled my eyes out Monday when he went missing," said statue owner Monica Mattingly. "If we didn't have the Colonel, we wouldn't have the Old Kentucky Tavern. He was the inspiration for the whole restaurant concept."

Col. Sanders went missing Sept. 17 but Mattingly received a call from Bobby Reis of Wietz Construction on Sept. 19, reporting that he spotted the statue near the carpenter's union building on Chambers Avenue. Reis said that the statue actually gave him quite a start when he saw him outside the building when he was locking up during the evening of Sept. 18.

Eagle Police dusted the statue for fingerprints and found lots of them. "Everyone likes to have a photo taken with the Colonel," said Mattingly. Needless to say, the fingerprints were not very helpful in narrowing down theft suspects.

Col. Sanders is a bit worse for wear after his adventures last week, with some chipped paint and a ding in his fiberglass. However, he is now back outside the Old Kentucky Tavern, sporting a blaze orange vest and a camouflage hat in honor of hunting season.

Welcome home Colonel!

For years now, Mary Boyd of Eagle has organized the community's 4th of July bike parade. That's why it's ironic that someone recently stole her bike.

Boyd reports that her maroon Jamus mountain bike was taken from the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink earlier this month. She would love to get it back, no questions asked.

If anyone knows anything about her bike, call Boyd at 970-390-9455.

On Sunday, Sept. 30, Wild West Day will provide families in the Eagle Valley with a most remarkable opportunity - they can have a whole lot of fun and do a whole lot of good.

Eagle County School District's nine elementary schools are the beneficiaries of this annual hoe-down fund-raiser, held at the 4Eagle Ranch north of Wolcott. This year's fun marks the 22nd anniversary of Wild West Day, a fund-raiser that is the envy of PTAs statewide.

The event inspires the collaboration of this valley's nine elementary schools. Knowing that families and businesses are hit hard and hit often with donation requests, Wild West Day was conceived to give area residents a request respite. By providing local residents with a one-time-catch-all option, Wild West Day has successfully tapped a wellspring of good will. Last year's event tally topped $150,000 - an impressive figure for a one-day celebration. Wild West Day is made possible through the efforts and donations of countless area businesses and residents. Volunteers commit to many hours of work throughout the year and on the day of the event. Businesses graciously donate cash as well as gifts and services used for raffle prizes, the silent auction and bingo.

The school children of the nine elementary schools help with the fund-raising efforts by selling raffle tickets. The drawing for the great raffle prizes is held on the day of the event. You need not be present to win. Year in and year out, Wild West Day provides the largest and most varied silent auction displays. With more than $100,000 worth of merchandise and services available for bid, the silent auction is always a huge crowd-pleaser. Hundreds of dinners, lodging packages, sports activities and services are available.

Entertainment is a key part of the Wild West Day fun. There is live stage entertainment, craft booths, carnival games and wagon rides. There's also ranch cooking for lunch and a bake sale. A 3-mile run or 1-mile kids fun run/family trot is new this year. Races begin at 9:30 a.m.

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• Don't forget An Evening with Sandra Dallas is planned tonight, Sept. 26, at the Brush Creek Pavilion. The Colorado author will be speaking at a fund-raiser for the Eagle County Historical Society. For more information, contact Kathy Heicher at 970-328-7104.

• Eagle River Cleanup marks its 18th year this Saturday, Sept. 29. An estimated 500 will show up to clean the valley's important river corridors during the popular countywide event organized by the Eagle River Watershed Council, presented by Vail Resorts Echo, sponsored by many local businesses and supported by volunteers from Red Cliff to Dotsero to East Vail. Teams will begin work at 9 a.m. and clean nearly 78 miles of river. Following the cleanup, volunteers and their families are invited to Broken Arrow at Arrowhead from noon to 2 p.m. for a lively barbecue hosted by Beaver Creek Mountain Dining, served by the Arrowhead Alpine Club, with music from The Turntable Review, beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing Co., and gifts for the entire family. Call the ERWC office at 970-827-5406 or email to volunteer.

Gypsum's Oktoberfest on Sept. 29 is dedicated to simple, authentic fun.

Gypsum Oktoberfest is at Lundgren Theater Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this year. Admission is free. Beer is $5 a cup and food is $8 a plate, which includes a bratwurst, bun, sauerkraut and German potato salad. Glass beer stein mugs will also be available along with last years mugs, which will be sold at a discounted rate.

A 5K fun run/walk starts at 10 a.m. Registration is $29 before Sept. 26 and $39 after that. Like last year, the entry fee includes a T-shirt and a beer. Registration can be made at the Gypsum Recreation Center or at the event.

There will also be games and contests throughout the day, with prizes awarded for such categories as "best dressed" (in dirndls and lederhosen), stein holding, yodeling, beer drinking, alpenhorn and more.

"There won't be any kids activities," said Oktoberfest Coordinator Anna Englehart. "Though children are welcome, it is an adult event."

Eagle's Bonfire Brewing is providing its specially made Gyptoberfest beer again this year.

"There will also be a light beer option and maybe an option for red or white wine as well," Englehart said.

The Swiss Austrian Connection Band will provide music from noon to 6 p.m. The band includes Rosie Bürki and her husband and features several talented musicians from the area who have Bavarian roots.

Providing food at Gypsum's event is O.W.'s Heritage Sausage company. The Gypsum business recently opened a storefront as Strecker's Market and Cafe on 925 Green Way. The business uses German sausage recipes that were passed down from the owner's grandfather. They don't make veal brats, however, so those will be special ordered from Continental Sausage in Denver.

European pastries, strudels, pretzels and more will also be provided by Swiss-born valley resident Erika Ammann and the Alpenrose in Vail.

Author Linda Weaver Clarke will host a Family Legacy Workshop Saturday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m. at the Eagle Public Library.

During the two-hour workshop, Clarke will help participants turn their family histories into stories, and make ancestors come alive on paper. She will also discuss some of the most important elements of writing, including setup, characters, plot and the significance of conflict and emotion.

"This is the 'read between the dates' part of family history," says Jaci Spuhler, the Local History and Archives Librarian for the Eagle Valley Library District. "You know birth and death dates but it's the stories that come between those dates that make our ancestors memorable. Linda is just the person to help put all of this together."

Some of Linda Weaver Clarke's fiction work is available for checkout at the Eagle Public Library. She is the author of eleven fiction novels; five historical romances and four are mystery adventures. Clarke has also written two non-fiction e-books, including "Writing Your Family Legacy," published in 2011.

The Family Legacy Workshop is free but registration is necessary due to limited space. To register, call Jaci at the Eagle Public Library, 970-328-8800.

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The VailDaily Updated Sep 27, 2012 12:46PM Published Sep 27, 2012 12:36PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.