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How old is Deltarado Days?

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I have never met anyone who did not know how old they were. That's an easy one to figure simply because we all know our birth date, and simple math gives us the answer, not that anyone has to do the math to determine it. It's just something we keep track of. But how do we determine the age of a building? Do we use the date that ground was broken, or the date that the building construction was completed? In most cases, there could be a one-year difference.

Even more confusing could be the tracking of an annual event, such as our local celebration of Deltarado Days. This year (2017) marks the 98th year since the celebration of our annual harvest began under the name -- Farmer's Spree -- first celebrated in 1920. It wasn't until 1936 when the name -- Deltarado Days -- was selected in a "re-name the event" contest, and the event has carried that name ever since. So you will see in print that we are now in our 82nd year of celebrating Deltarado Days 1936-2017, but is that accurate? To muddy the situation even more, the city did not celebrate Deltarado Days from 1938 through 1946. Do we subtract nine years? I suppose technically we should, but I guess it depends on how we describe the event.

It has been 82 years since Deltarado Days originated. But we are about to celebrate the 73rd actual event under that name, or we could add the first 16 years and call it the 89th year of celebration.

Want some more confusion? When the event was called Farmer's Spree, for 16 consecutive years, a parade was not included in the celebration. In these early years, the celebration consisted of a huge banquet, during which there was entertainment.

Then, in 1936, when the event was referred to as Deltarado Days for the first time, it became a three-day celebration, with a parade each day. That's right -- three parades and each parade was different. By 1937, planners eliminated two of the parades, and only one parade has remained consistent from year to year.

Then, beginning in 1938, no event at all for nine consecutive years. In my research, I have been unable to find any mention as to why the event was cancelled in the late 1930s, though I can understand why there was no event held during the World War II years.

So here we are in 2017, looking forward, once again, to a great farmer and rancher celebration, planned and conducted by our Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. It is an enormous job to plan and run such an event, and takes lots of volunteers to pull it off. Perhaps it doesn't matter which celebration year we are in; what does matter is that we honor, and thank, our farmers and ranchers, once again, for the hard work they put in every year so that we have good, nutritious food available.

There was a time in our past when Delta County food products were shipped throughout the country and even to Europe. Perhaps that is still done, but I also know that a big draw to this Western Slope county is our farm industry, and that, along with our good soil, is plenty of reason to settle here. We are at the source! What more could you ask for.

This article is reprinted from a Delta County Historical Society newsletter published earlier this year.

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