Basalt plans to do it up right for its 100-year anniversary
One hundred years after Basalt residents pulled together to incorporate their town, they are rallying to celebrate their centennial this summer.
A recently-formed organization called the Basalt Regional Heritage Society is planning activities, recruiting volunteers and generally getting people fired up about the town’s 100-year anniversary.
Libby Pettit, a founder of the heritage society, said the organization’s board aims to put together an event that appeals to Basalt old-timers as well as newcomers. “All people have an affinity for where they live,” she said.
The celebration is planned for Sunday, Aug. 26 in Arbaney Park. It will feature a community picnic; a square dance in a tent; a Sadie Hawkins dance, where the gals ask the guys; old-fashioned events like a three-legged race, hoop rolling and sack races; and a mass photo of town residents.
A king and queen will be crowned, possibly one week prior, during the town’s River Days festival. And instead of a big fireworks extravaganza, organizers plan to let kids put on a mass sparkler display.
“Fireworks are fun but a tremendous waste of money,” said Pettit.
The centennial will probably also be used to launch the heritage society’s pet project – a walking tour of Basalt and its historic treasures. The town government has pledged to help commission plaques that describe the historical significance of buildings, artifacts and sites in and around Basalt.
For example, a plaque for the old Frying Pan building, where Primavera restaurant is located, could recount a colorful history that includes its days as a bordello.
Pettit said the heritage society board of directors doesn’t want to buy a building for a museum where it displays a bunch of dusty artifacts. Instead, cool places like the kilns near Arbaney Park would be displayed.
“Everyone has seen the red horsehair sofa,” she said. “Let’s make the town itself the museum.”
The board – Pettit, Janice Duroux, Nancy Maurin, Terri Zeits and Susie Evans – is looking beyond Basalt’s borders for ways to show the heritage. They consider the region to stretch from Old Snowmass to Prince Creek, and from El Jebel to Hagerman Pass. It engulfs the treasure loads of history in the Fryingpan Valley and Emma.
The organization will launch a fund-raising drive this winter or spring, raise proceeds from the sale of the centennial’s community photo and search for other moneymaking ventures.
“Let’s open that bordello one more time,” joked Mayor Rick Stevens at a meeting to discuss the centennial Tuesday night. That probably won’t make the list.
The fledgling heritage society welcomes new participants to help with planning as well as volunteers for the centennial celebration. Midvalley residents who are interested can attend the group’s next meeting on March 14 at 6 p.m. at the Shenandoah Inn, 600 Frying Pan Road, or call Libby Pettit at 927-9319.
“Everybody says they’re interested but I haven’t seen a lot volunteerism yet,” said Pettit.
She’s confident that will change by Aug. 26.
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