Celebrate community

Mancos Days, Fair, Escalante Days cinch local ties even tighter

The summer of 2012 has been difficult. The Weber Fire displaced local residents and rattled everyone, although Mancos fared far better than other fire-stricken communities. Last week’s movie theatre shooting in Aurora further disturbed our peace of mind.

In each instance, the affected communities rallied to offer emotional and material support to those affected. In the aftermath of disaster and tragedy, that’s something to which Colorado can cling.

Community is the value Southwest Coloradans celebrate for the next three weekends, beginning with Mancos Days this weekend, continuing next weekend with the Montezuma County Fair, and extending through Escalante Days in Dolores, which begins on Aug. 10.

Each of those events offers multiple opportunities for friends and neighbors to enjoy, together, some of the good things that are happening in their communities. They can reminisce about old times, muse about change, share their hopes for the future.

There’s something for nearly everyone: parades, sporting contests, arts and crafts, plenty of wonderful food, visits by former residents, live music and dancing, wholesome activities for children. Each schedule of events has been crafted by community members with the goal of emphasizing local talent and accomplishments and creating opportunities to honor local history and build on its solid foundation.

The Montezuma County Fair emphasizes the agricultural traditions of this area. It gives many people the opportunity to display their talents. Primarily, it highlights months of hard work by young 4-H and FFA exhibitors who, in the process of raising their animals or preparing their projects, have learned skills that will remain valuable for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, they have gained those skills in cooperation with their families, their peers and mentors within the local communities.

Rain may fall; it frequently does this time of year. The wind may blow. The unexpected is likely to happen, and both organizers and attendees will respond with equanimity and roll out Plan B or C or D, because an ability to think on one’s feet is one quality that enabled the pioneers and their descendants to survive in a sometimes harsh environment.

Bad weather and natural disasters will come and go. Horrific crimes will happen. Political fortunes rise and fall. Some athletes will win Olympic medals; some will come home in defeat and train harder for the next time.`

Community values, though, will endure. That assurance is worth celebrating for at least three weekends in a row.