Shoring up 'favorite shared events'
Via Telluride News By Leslie Vreeland Contributing Editor
Bo Peep before the hordes: A themed aid station at Ridgway’s Rally Through the Alley last year, before costumed families and kids took to the town’s backstreets during the annual “fun run.” (Courtesy photo)
Nonprofits seek support for popular Fete and zany Alley rally
Weehawken Creative Arts and the Ridgway Chautaqua Society (better known as the Sherbino Theater) are “separate organizations with separate budgets, boards and bank accounts,” an email reads.
Together though, they represent two sides of the same (metaphorical, at least) coin: Ouray County’s premier arts organizations share venues, office staff and creative brainpower to program the concerts, literary readings, arts classes, theater and dance, and more that its growing, culturally voracious constituency thrives on.
As the summer programming season heats up, the two groups are requesting literal “coin,” in the shape of financial sponsorships and underwriting, to keep making that happen. Fete de la Musique, the annual event timed to the solstice, and World Music Day, is coming up Sunday, June 25. “It’s being held a week later this year,” the Sherbino’s programs director, Tricia Oakland, said of Fete.
“Last year, we ran it the same weekend as Telluride Bluegrass,” Oakland added of the popular outdoor event that showcases all ages, and types of music, in downtown Ridgway. The attempt to capitalize on the increased numbers of visitors drawn to this region for Telluride’s venerable summer festival had an unexpected downside.
“More and more people kept approaching us saying they were super-bummed,” Oakland recalled. “They told us they would have to miss Fete, because they never miss Bluegrass. We realized, we’re really trying to create this event for our community” (which is the Ridgway Chautauqua Society’s chief mission). “We sat down and took a look and determined that we could hold it (this year) the following weekend,” the same weekend — but, crucially, not the same day — Ridgway RiverFest, a celebration of the Upper Uncompahgre River Watershed, takes place. “In some ways,” the coincidental, synchronous timing of the events “is great,” she added. It turns out the Voyager youth group “will run its first-ever triathlon at the Ridgway reservoir the morning of Sept. 25."
Suddenly, Ridgway’s weekend gatherings had morphed, as Oakland put it, “into a multi-day event. Now there really was an opportunity in Ridgway to have a really full experience,” she said, given the number of cultural, environmental and athletic events taking place — but not competing — in the space of two days. “We hope this can do for Ridgway what Bluegrass does for Telluride: boost the overall economy” by drawing more people — who require places to eat, and spend the night, and possibly shop — to this mountain town.
Unlike Telluride Bluegrass, though, Fete de Musique is free. “Sponsorship and underwriting are the name of the game,” Oakland said. “Fete only exists because of the help of our sponsors and underwriters. The more sponsorships, the more musicians we can bring into the mix, the broader spectrum of types of music we can offer — the better, the more variety.”
Originally conceived of as “a safe outdoor event” with musicians strategically positioned on street corners, and in parks, during the pandemic, Fete has grown and developed into a superb showcase for local musicians of all ages.
“One of its greatest features is that is offers so many up-and-coming local bands and musicians a chance to perform live,” Oakland said. “The more sponsorships we have, the more we can afford to bring in musicians from outside the area. The more we can introduce people to new styles, and new bands.”
“The event will again be free,” Fete organizers say of the event June 25. “Our plan is for many, many musicians of all genres to participate … we’d love your support in helping to underwrite honorariums for performers,” offering more musicians payment and valuable exposure.
As Fete has grown, so too has the Ridgway 1K Rally Thru The Alley, a “fun run” (or walk, your choice) that ends with a tasting event in Town Park. “We would love to gather support to help with the cost of the themed ‘break’ stations,” organizers write.
“We’re super excited: this would have been our fifth year, but one year was a 0K, ‘stay-in-bed’ event,” Oakland said wryly.
As you might have guessed, that year was 2020.
“A lot of the Rally will stay the same this year,” she added. “We will have at least five aid stations. That’s our minimum; we don’t really have a maximum!”
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You can also join Mountain Rose Realty in supporting the Fete de Musique and Ridgway 1K Rally Thru The Alley. When you support these events, you are investing in the local economy and giving back to the Telluride community. Visit their website today for more information on how to help promote these wonderful events!
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