Festival throws down in Dolores

Escalante Days will include music, motorcycle race, parade

Bill Ragland demonstrates his cutting skills in the chain saw contest at last year’s Escalante Days. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Dolores Star

Bill Ragland demonstrates his cutting skills in the chain saw contest at last year’s Escalante Days.

A live music marathon, off-road motorcycle competition, mountain bike race, parades, 40 vendors and a softball tournament are just some of the attractions at the 2014 Escalante Days taking place this Friday and Saturday in Dolores.

“It has become a very popular festival that has expanded into a nice variety of events for the whole family,” said Ruby Gonzales, one of the organizers.

This year’s theme: “Celebrating Escalante Days and Nights!” in reference to the added addition of a bona fide music festival at the Dolores River Brewery.

“We’ve essentially grown the event, but not to the point it loses its hometown essence,” said chamber director Rocky Moss. “It’ll be good, clean summertime fun.”

Flanders Park is ground zero for many events. On Friday, Louis Edwards and Yesterday will perform the kickoff concert, followed by the Kiddy Parade at 6 p.m., and an ice-cream eating contest at 7 p.m. Registration for the Kiddo Parade is at 5:30 p.m. in front of the General Store on Third Street. Local businesses have donated gift bags as prizes for the kids, and many certificates and ribbons will be awarded as well.

“We encourage kids to dress up, walk their dogs, maybe go in wagons and strollers, really anything goes,” said parade organizer Wendy Weygandt.

Wake up Saturday with an appetite and a generous heart to attend the pancake breakfast fundraiser from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Dolores Doghouse, next to the fire station.

“K9 Search and Rescue is a nontaxing organization and this is the only fundraiser of the year,” said director Chuck Melvin. “We’re a group of professional volunteers who respond to search emergencies across the West.”

The mountain bike race starts at 9 a.m. in town, climbing the hill to the Boggy Draw trail system, and finishing back on Central Ave.

The main parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday beginning at the school and going down Central Ave. to the General Store. Anyone can enter. There will be awards given for best group, best theme, most original, and best overall. Michelle Martin, business of the year winner, will be the Grand Marshal.

Racers in the vintage and modern motorcycle trials will travel in the parade and then peel off to begin their competition at the Fourth Street Bridge.

“We made it easier this year with shorter routes,” said organizer Tony Down. “Bring your motorcycle, and you can sign up the day of the race. We offer novices a lot of instruction and there is a lot of places for the public to watch.”

Dolores classic rock radio station, KKDC “D’Crow” 93.3 FM, will host the tradition games at Flanders Park throughout the day on Saturday.

Contests include: chainsawing, watermelon eating, balloon tossing, arm wrestling, and the always hilarious 3-legged race.

Buy a duck from the Kiwanis Club for the race down the Dolores River, and attend the water fight between area fire districts at 4 p.m.

There will be 13 food vendors and 27 arts-and crafts-booths set up in Flanders Park.

A type of “Dolorespalooza” will be ongoing on two outdoor stages at the Dolores River Brewery. Tickets are just $10 bucks for 10 bands.

Promoter Moe Cooley presents 12 hours of countrified folk-rock and funkadelic rock jams from noon to midnight. On tap are Bacon, Caruta Roma, The Crags, Last Nickel, The Porchlights, The Lindells, Arsenic Kitchen, Wake-up Laughing, the Bees Knees, Rhythm Method, plus more.

“It is going to be crazy fun with bands performing all day and into the night,” said brewery owner Mark Youngquist. “This year we are more prepared, setting up two stages. While one band is playing the other will be setting up on the other stage.”