Shoutout for Saratoga Days

This was my first Saratoga Days. Despite being a working day, covering the events from the Neal McCoy tour bus pulling in at about 7:30am to Neal’s performance, I did enjoy myself. Mostly though I ended the day impressed by the event, by everything. All three music acts were great; the bluegrass boys, West King String Band, That 80’s Band were a cover band of the highest quality, and then the headliner Neal McCoy. I felt that if you weren’t a Neal fan at the start of the show, you probably were by the end. He brought a lot of energy and of course, is a seasoned, professional, performer. The street vendors - all of them - food, drinks & merch, offered a nice variety of products. If you read our recent interview with Police Chief Mike Morris, it was very peaceful throughout also. The day represents a real credit to the town.

So, that brings me to the subject at hand. The folks who brought this all together, organized it and managed the entire affair from early morning setup to the late night close out. Several days ago Josh Wood had gone over to the Platte Valley Community Center to talk to Joe Elder, the Director, about something. He mentioned that Joe was writing thank you letters for Saratoga Days. My thought, and my comment, was ‘who is writing a thank you letter to Joe?’. Joe and all of the other people - volunteers all - who made this fantastic event happen. They comprise a board, of sorts, but without a formal structure, so we’ll call it a citizens committee. Those members are: Scott & Michelle McIlvine, Amanda Shahadey, Lauren Trostle, Megan Martin and Joe Elder.

They manage every aspect of pulling the day together. They find the music acts, manage the process of arranging the vendors, organize the schedule - and, find the money. This year’s Saratoga Days had a budget of about $50,000. Every dollar came from donations, by local companies and private individuals. No tax dollars, no town funds, are used for the event. There are town, and county, resources involved, like the police and other EMS, but the entertainment is covered from money given to the event. As Joe said to me that Saturday, “This is a generous town.”.

Quite an incredible collaboration of business and individual contribution of money and time. The Saratoga Days committee, mentioned above, begins planning work in February. That is a considerable commitment to making this happen for the community. Also, consider that there have been add-ons, like the car show and the art festival, which have grown out of the main event. From its start in 2015, as a street dance concept, Saratoga Days has turned into a true destination event. This small and dedicated group deserve our thanks and appreciation.

 

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