Though the event this year is being billed as the 81st anniversary, the Deltarado Days celebration started as a week-long event in 1920 and was called "The Annual Farmers Spree." It was held from 1920 to 1936 and was instituted when Holly Sugar was built in Delta. One of the requirements for the sugar factory to locate in Delta was to guarantee that 9,500 acres of sugar beets would be grown in its western Colorado territory. When establishment of the industry became a reality, and the necessary acreage was under contract, a company banquet was staged for the farmers.
With little more than 24-hours notice, the first Farmers Spree banquet, organized by John Davis, was held in the local Gallup Building (then the Laycock auto garage) with about 500 farmers in attendance. Today the Gallup Building contains two businesses, Classic Computers and a used book store. In subsequent years, annual banquets were held in the armory, and a program was presented to approximately 1,000 guests.
In 1936, the Delta Chamber of Commerce held a "name the event" contest and Mrs. Glen Ellington, wife of the postmaster, submitted the name "Deltarado Days," winning the $15 prize that was offered.
With war looming on the horizon, the Deltarado Days celebration was discontinued until 1946, when it started back up in full swing. Originally held in February, the Deltarado Days celebration was moved to three days in September and eventually settled in the month of July.
Over the years, Deltarado Days celebrations have included PRCA sanctioned rodeos, bubble gum blowing contests, archery demonstrations, pancake breakfasts, mud volleyball, fiddle contests, sidewalk sales, fishing contests, hay rides and always a parade down Main Street.
Courtesy of Jim Wetzel and the Delta Historical Museum.