Mountain Mayhem: Hay Bale Ball fundraiser for Smiling Goat Ranch
The annual Hay Bale Ball benefit took place on Saturday, Aug. 27 at the charming barn and grounds of the Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum, set along the bike path in Aspen.
The event served as a fundraiser for Smiling Goat Ranch, the Carbondale-based nonprofit that helps humans heal through interactions with horses, goats, dogs and bunnies.
The afternoon served as a party with a purpose, featuring many of their animals in action. Guests watched demonstrations of sensory work on horses and interacted with the ranch’s small, social therapy animals. They heard testimonials from families and veterans who have been helped by their work.
Light bites from Hickory House were complemented by batched cocktails from Marble Distillery and varietals from Delicato Family Wines.
The Aspen Fire Protection District led a procession of veterans, who rode in on Harleys to honor special guest and 87-year-old Lt. Col. Dick Merritt, a founding board member of the ranch. Merritt was honored for his contributions in starting the veterans’ program there and for the role he’ll continue in as an emeritus board member, an honorary title he earned in recognition of his outstanding service over the years. Smiling Goat Ranch founders Karl Hanlon and Sheryl Barto presented the colonel with a plaque and a horse painting commissioned for him.
The primary sponsors for the event included the Selz Foundation, Melony and Adam Lewis, Bender West Foundation, Slifer Smith & Frampton, Integrated Mountain Group, The Aspen Times, The Caine Family, Midland Clothing, the Flynn Family and Decorative Materials. Learn more at smilinggoatranch.com.
The Aspen Choral Society (ACS) announced its 47th Annual Presentation of Handel’s “‘Messiah,” taking place on Friday, Dec. 8, at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Saturday, Dec. 9, at TACAW in Basalt, and Sunday, Dec. 10, at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs.