Welcome one and all to Mustang Days 2015. Welcome to visiting family members and friends, class reunion attendees, visitors from afar or anyone else who has arrived in our community for our annual celebration.
This is showoff week for our town, a time to kick back and celebrate but also to show those coming to visit what our little town has to offer. We’re glad the Main Street Project and the high school remodel have wrapped up. The “pardon our dust” message of last year is no longer needed.
Be sure to check out the new hanging baskets on Main Street. With the median strip going away with the street repair project, Gary Emmett launched an effort to place hanging flower baskets up and down Main. The flowers add a lot of color to our business district, although the median strip flower planters are missed.
The Mustang Follies production is festive and fun, and there are many opportunities to get together and share a good time like the street dance next to Minchow’s Food Court Friday night, the Family Fun Night Friday evening, the two mornings of the Mustang Breakfast at the fire hall, the Rose Parade Saturday and, of course, the fireworks display at Horseshoe Bend.
There’s also fun competition including the fun run, volleyball tournament, golf tournament and rodeo. Check out the artist market and show at the Lovell Rec Building downtown Friday and Saturday and the Queen Bee taste testing Saturday afternoon.
Speaking of the fireworks show, it’s support it or lose it time for this grand event. If there’s a better stage for a fireworks display in Wyoming, we’d love to see it. Horseshoe Bend with its red rock and amphitheater setting, along with the grassy lakeside spectator area, is as fine a place to watch fireworks as there can be.
But this could be the last year for the fireworks show unless folks support it better. The Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. has sponsored the fireworks show at Horseshoe Bend for about 40 years now, and it is better than ever due to the modern, computerized choreography.
But the show is expensive to produce, now costing the fire department around $12,000 annually, and last year spectators only contributed around a quarter of the cost of the show – around $3,000 at between $2 and $3 per carload.
The fire department needs to receive at least $10 per carload just to approach the break-even point, and $15 is more realistic. That’s pretty inexpensive entertainment for an entire family. Some folks are generous, to be sure, but others give a pittance.
Fire Capt. Bob Mangus said the department met with the National Park Service recently and a good parking plan is in place. He said there was plenty of room last year, despite a scare about limited parking. He said the Park Service does a good job preparing for the event.
If people don’t step up to the plate, the fireworks show will go away, plain and simple. The firemen are determined that the show be able to pay for itself without dinging businesses for yet another donation. The department dipped into savings from past events last year, but the show “took her all,” as Mangus put it, adding, “The savings are gone.”
Let’s all enjoy a great Mustang Days Week but also remember to financially support events like the fireworks. If we don’t, it will disappear and that would be a shame.
— David Peck