Constitution Week ‘ripped from the headlines’ |

Constitution Week ‘ripped from the headlines’

The 8th annual Constitution Week kicks off Monday with a dozen speakers over the course of six days and culminating in a parade, barbecue competition, fireworks, live music and festivities downtown on Saturday.
Courtesy Constitution Week, Ryan H. Alworth

Ahead of a 2020 election that is sure to include debates around socialist policy ideas, the purpose of the electoral college and how racism still displays itself, Grand Lake’s eighth annual Constitution Week isn’t shying away from the hard topics.

Kicking off Monday, this year’s Constitution Week features an array of speakers and scholars to discuss various elements of the country’s governing document. Then the week concludes on Saturday with a parade, fireworks, a barbecue contest with $10,000 prize, live music and keynote speaker and actor Kevin Sorbo.

“The theme this year is promoting an educated citizenry,” said Tom Goodfellow, organizer and founder of Constitution Week in Grand Lake.

This year’s festivities also include the event’s first-ever panel. Lily Tang Williams, Karin Smith, Aida Witt and Mailyn Salabarria Cappuccio will be sharing their experiences with socialism living in countries like China, Cuba and Sweden.

“Being that we are supporters of the constitution, we’re going after socialism a little bit this year because we think that a lot of people don’t understand what it’s all about,” Goodfellow said. 

Another topic “ripped from the headlines,” as organizer Mike Tompkins put it, is Professor Robert Natelson’s speech on how we choose our president, which will touch on the national discussion around the electoral college and the national popular vote compact.

Tompkins said they picked speakers and topics that are a part of current political discourse to try to attract younger people, families and others who may not have been to the event before.

Last year, the event had more attendees than ever before and many speakers had standing room only crowds. However, Goodfellow added that they never know what to expect, but they have strong support from the town.

“I just don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Something like this is always going to get criticism because there are people that love it and people that don’t like it, but the whole idea is to get people to start talking about it again.”

Other notable events is the Constitution Trivia on Thursday, which can be played from anywhere because the trivia questions will be aired on local radio station KFFR 88.3 FM, and the flyover salute to veterans.

Goodfellow said they hope to start conversations with the speakers and week-long event because he feels “it’s not talked about enough,” especially when it comes to the why behind many founding ideals and systems.

He said that goal goes back to the original idea behind Constitution Week, which was founded by President Dwight Eisenhower and the Daughters of the American Revolution to promote the study of the Constitution and educate people about the document.

“It’s more than just understanding the different branches of government, it’s more of the why,” he said of the upcoming discussions. 

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