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Mayberry for a day?

Geraldine Haldner

Minturn promises a block party today straight out of 1950s-era television and movies harkening back to small-town values, says Minturn’s special events coordinator, Liz Campbell.

“It’ll be the kind of celebration Opie Taylor and Aunt Bea would be proud of,” she says of the afternoon celebration in the town’s market square off of Nelson Avenue, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and go until 9:30 p.m.

Campbell says the town’s visionaries – known as the Visioning Committee, a marketing task force – wanted to put on an Independence Day bash that’s wholesome for the whole family and, at the same time, dig down to the roots of good ol’ fashion fun as only a small town like Minturn do.

“We tried to think of things we did as kids, things that reflect Minturn’s small-town charm,” she says, adding that contests from horseshoe-pitching to watermelon-seed spitting promise to make Minturn’s celebration honoring America’s independence a place to kick back and watch the kids run loose – all in the safety of a small town that comes together even closer for the day.

“It’s a grassroots effort. We have a lot of people in town volunteering for this and businesses are chipping in in a big way,” Campbell says. “We were basically looking for fun things to do that don’t cost all that much.”

For example, Darla Goodell of the Turntable Restaurant is busy baking cakes that will go to the winners of the cake walk – a musical-chair competition; and Jeff Kennedy of Moe’s Original Barbeque will serve up some of the best pulled-pork sandwiches in the valley.

A block-long special event’s permit, meanwhile, allows weary and thirsty revelers to sit down in the beer tent and enjoy a cold one.

While the adults kick back in the shade, kids will have an inflatable castle in which to bounce around, face-painting appointments to keep and teams to build in activities organized by Meet the Wilderness.

A high-striker, a carnival fairway gadget that dings when someone swings a hammer hard enough, and a baked-goods contest judged by sweet-toothed town seniors with extensive pie-eating experience, will provide outlets for adults to prove their might. Entries for the baked-good contest can be dropped off at the venue in the activities tent between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Musical entertainment for the afternoon will be provided by local bluegrass favorite WherezFloyd, and an ice-cream eating contest promises to transport participants either into sugar-induced heaven or brain-freeze hell.

“We’ll line up six at a time and give them three scoops of ice cream with lots of chocolate and whipped cream and see who can finish the fastest,” says Campbell. “We’ll do it in heats, and whoever wins gets a blue ribbon.”

Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 602, or at ghaldner@vaildaily.com


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