Janet Day: Why cant we start a Pine Beetle Days festival?
July 28, 2008
Local Pride. The great DeVos duo Francie and Friday always makes me laugh. More often than not, there are interesting ideas behind the silliness that causes me to chuckle.Francie was walking around the Alpine ArtAffair on Sunday wearing a blue T-shirt that read, Pine Beetle Capital of the World Grand County Colorado. It bore the silhouette of a needle-bare tree and a couple bugs. The shirt, available at Elk Creek Arts & Crafts in Fraser, launched Friday and me into a discussion about small Colorado towns that celebrate what they’ve got, no matter how bizarre.If Heeney can spend a weekend celebrating the lowly tick, Nederland can make a frozen corpse the centerpiece of a fiesta and Fruita can turn a long-lived headless chicken named Mike into a reason to party, why cant we start a Pine Beetle Days festival? Just think of the fun we could have. Let Fraser host the celebration at the library or in the ball fields where the view of mountains with dead trees is panoramic. Fraser is just weird enough to pull it off. This is a town that relishes the fact that we have winter nighttime temperatures of 42 degrees below zero and waits for spring by watching a refrigerator fall through melting pond ice.We could set up lumberjack-type competitions such as tree cutting, log hauling or stump-carving. There could be bark-eating contests (using candy bark, of course), a beetle run to see who can travel across the county the fastest, a judging of the most creative use for dead trees, even a Miss Pine Beetle costume contest. Why not take what some see as a huge negative and turn it into fun? And why not turn it into something good like raising money to assist lower-income property owners struggling to pay for tree removal? Why not raffle off a few hours of tree-removal service or a nice piece of pine furniture? The possibilities are limitless for our own beetle-mania.Back at ArtAffair, the crowds were as huge as the shopping opportunities. Elizabeth Kurtak’s poster created for the arts fair was a gorgeous painting of aspen trees and blue spruce (not a single orange-dead pine tree anywhere). Copies of the poster sold quickly.There were many new artists at the festival this year and some intriguing new products from our local crafters. April Thomas-Lang was showing and selling her glassware for the first time, including attractive and thoughtful hand-blown urns for pet ashes. Heidi McNinch’s beadwork now includes some cute cell phone charms that are very popular with teenaged girls. And part-time area resident Susan Rubin had dozens of gorgeous prints of close-up flower photographs she took along the Fraser River Trail one day recently.Mistakes happen. No one’s perfect, least of all me. Occasionally, factual errors find their way into my column. I could blame it on all kinds of things such being tired or being pre-occupied with other work I have to do. But those are excuses, not reasons. The real reason is always simply being inattentive. A lot of people think I make mistakes all the time. They don’t agree with my reviews of some restaurants or my criticism of some residential developments. But those are differences of opinion, not errors of fact. I can’t “correct” an opinion – it reflects how I think. But I can and will correct factual errors. In my long journalism career I’ve always believed that mistakes should be acknowledged and corrected. With that in mind, my July 15 item about the art prints available to benefit the Horace Button Foundation misstated the name and accomplishments of one of Button’s protgs, and should have read:Button built a ski jump in Hot Sulphur Springs in 1911 and trained or financially supported legions of young athletes. One of them was Robert Barney McLean who went on to become a three-time Olympic competitor in ski jumping (1936) and alpine skiing (1940 and 1948).Details about the organization and the art can be found at http://www.horacebutton.org.Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.