Citizens of the Year
2016 Middle Park Fair & Rodeo Centennial Committee
The Middle Park Fair Board of Directors named the 2016 MPFR Centennial Committee as the Citizens of the Year for the 2017 Middle Park Fair and Rodeo. Recognizing the importance of the Centennial Celebration, the Fair Board realized that the event would require a community effort. The Board was thrilled when several citizens stepped forward to start planning and organizing the event. The Fair Board focused on the regular events while the Committee was asked to organize
the entertainment, several special events and, perhaps most significantly, the Pioneer Luncheon to honor the contributions of the Grand County Commissioners, Summit County Commissioners, Fair Board members, Founders, Royalty, Citizens of the Year and Pioneers.
To say the Pioneer Luncheon exceeded all expectations would still understate the significance of that Saturday luncheon. The luncheon brought together so many of the people that have been a part of the story of not only the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo, but of Middle Park.
The comments below are from the primary members of the Centennial Committee about their impressions of the event, followed by a Thank You penned by Mike Ritschard
During the Centennial meetings I really enjoyed getting to know everyone. Everyone had great ideas and pitched in to help anyway they could! It was a great group of people. I was lucky to be part of it with such amazing people! I particularly enjoyed the cattle drive, the music...kids games...ah, geez, I loved it all! What a wonderful celebration it was!
Everyone on the committee had something unique and personal to add to all our events, they were all great! My favorite was the cattle drive through town to kick off the 100th. From the beginning I wanted this to happen, it was fun for all participants and spectators, a memory that not many will forget!
Lurline Underbrink Curran
In planning for the Centennial Event, I really enjoyed the excitement of meeting every week and moving around events to fit into a fun packed 2016 Middle Park Fair and Rodeo. My favorite eventwas the entry of the pioneers on horse and antique tractor drawn stage and wagons. It was an honor to see all those who worked in the past to get us to the 100th year celebration
When I signed up to assist with the Centennial Fair celebration, I had no idea how rewarding the experience would be. It gave me the opportunity to meet the other wonderful Committee members, and to assist in coordinating a truly once-in-a-lifetime community event. My favorite memories will be that of speaking with the Founders, or their family members, to assemble the Remembrances booklet, and seeing the joy on the faces of those who attended the luncheon as they shared those stories and favorite memories with friends and family. I was blessed to be a part of such an experience.
The Centennial Celebration perfectly captured the feeling of a community event. From the branding party to the dinner, there were so many people visiting and catching up. It was just beautiful to see families, old friendships and traditions thriving! It just had a wonderful feel to it.
One of my favorite memories was a small one, but just captured the fair. Jodi Hill was giving rides to all the kids with his wagon and team of horses on the track. It was dusk and the kids were smiling and laughing. It was absolutely perfect and epitomized all that a small town fair should be.
Then, of course, there were the horse races. Watching Peg Toft smiling as the horses raced, gave me chills. I experienced a similar experience when Pat was riding in the cattle drive. She was on a horse with a big grin and her family was surrounding her. I guess at the end of the day, itwas nice to see family traditions were still alive and to feel a connection to so many.
The little details in the fair were also so important. From the special commemorative postal stamp designed by Rhea Gallagher and the postal ladies volunteering their time to stamp the post cards at fair, the collaboration with Tim Nicklas with the Grand County Historical Association, to the Centennial logo designed by Vanessa Villalobos Stiefel...everything was just perfect. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the fair - I never knew my great grandpa supplied the bucking horses when it all began. I loved that the fair solidified our traditions and made our community come alive!
What I will remember is the committee’s enthusiasm and sense of community that honored generations and past years of the Middle Park Fair. It was an honor to be a small part of the Centennial Committee and see the dedication and passion of the group. I enjoyed the Centennial Luncheon and being able to witness the long family history of the Middle
Listening to people talk about the luncheon, even today, is just wonderful. It was the most wonderfulevent. I can also remember Larry, Mike, Pat and Kim meeting months and months before fair making great plans for the Centennial celebration. Many hours of great planning put smiles on the faces of so many, many folks, far and near in August!
The best part of the Centennial Celebration for me was when people arrived at the luncheon and started to see their ranch brands that had been placed on boards at the Branding Party. Then they noticed the brands on the table center pieces and immediately wanted to know if they could purchase or keep the centerpieces. Brands were even on the cupcake desserts. The looks of recognition and appreciation really touched me as those people who have had such a long history in the county saw their heritage as a part of the celebration.
It was an amazing experience from the beginning. The committee members were incredible. Nobody complained, everybody was respected, all ideas were considered and everybody pitched in wherever and whenever needed. It was a community effort of the highest magnitude. As I walked around the luncheon and watched people connect with each other and the past, I was choked with emotion more than once. I still get a lump in my throat when I think about the Centennial Celebration. I was honored to lend a hand to this effort and privileged to enjoy the fruits of the labor of so many people, today as well as throughout the past century.
The centennial celebration was successful because of old and new volunteers joining together to make the fair an event. Many new and old activities were blended together to remember a rich past and a bright future of the fair. All the old friends and families that returned to be part of celebration, truly made the work and planning of the 100th, worth the time that was given.