As soon as Oregon Trail Days is over for another year, a group of volunteers gets to work organizing the celebrations for the following year.
“We begin again almost immediately,” said Rebecca Shields, this year’s Oregon Trail Days committee chairperson. “We kind of review how everything goes (during the current year), you know, do we need to make any changes or anything like that. Then you have to start planning everything for the next year.”
The 102nd annual Old Oregon Trail Days festival’s theme is “Rediscover the Old West.”
The topic, according to Shields, is reconnection with and appreciation of the natural beauty in our surroundings.
“I chose that theme because I felt like we have so many things here, like the monument, Legacy of the Plains, Chimney Rock, all of these things that people who live here don’t go visit all the time.”
The tweet below confirms the news:
As soon as one Oregon Trail Days is in the books, a committee of volunteers is back at it again, planning the next year’s festivities. https://t.co/tH06o3rlBU
— Star-Herald (@sbstarherald) July 9, 2023
Oregon Trail Days to Draw Visitors from Across the Region
She added that the committee enjoys organizing activities that will draw guests from outside the neighborhood. Participants in the mud volleyball competition come from Wyoming and Colorado.
“One of the purposes of Oregon Trail Days is to bring in tourists,” Shields said. “We can’t gauge where people are coming from for every event, but for some like the mud volleyball, we can ask entrants what city or state they are from. I’ve noticed every year that I’ve got a team from the Cheyenne Air Guard coming and then there are some teams from Denver who come to compete.”
The headquarters for the carnival, a weekend concert, and more will all be at Five Rocks.
According to Shield, the weekend’s events will include several fan favorites that have become classics.
“Some of our most popular events are the chili cook-off, the mud volleyball, the food fair and, of course, the carnival,” she said.
The Old Settlers Reunion, which is the centerpiece of Oregon Trail Days, features local residents who have lived there for many years. It has also developed into a season for class reunion get-togethers. Shields said it’s a nice opportunity to celebrate the community’s founders and get up with old friends.
On Thursday, July 13, the festivities will get underway with a street dance and BBQ in the Gering Civic Plaza. Shields pointed out that the barbecue’s placement has shifted to take into account the new plaza.
“We were encouraged to take advantage of the new plaza, and I think people will really enjoy it,” she said.
With 14 categories in which kids can compete, the kiddie parade on Friday attracts a lot of families. The festivities will get underway early on Saturday with a procession along 10th Street.
According to Shields, she wants Oregon Trail Days “to be for all ages, kids to adults.”
The Gospel Jubilee in Legion Park is the weekend’s last event, which takes place on Sunday, July 16.
Both page 8 and the Oregon Trail Days website, oregontraildays.com, include a complete schedule of events.
Of course, there is always interest in additional events that are scheduled over the weekend. Tickets for Sara Evans’ event at Five Rocks Amphitheater are on sale now and can be found at outhousetickets.com. Throughout Oregon Trail Days, additional locations will offer food, entertainment, and other activities.
Stay tuned for updates. Visit our website focushillsboro for the latest news on this issue.
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