When events populations exceed town size

Mark DeLap
Posted 5/3/23

A weekly editorial by Mark DeLap

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When events populations exceed town size


We live in a county where events are not just events, but bring more people than the populations of the towns that host the events.

This last weekend one such annual event is the Marge Cares Foundation’s annual fundraiser, raising money for people who are sick and needing to travel out of county for treatment. Most of the time insurance won’t pay for travel, lodging or gas money – so this foundation helps with that burden to families in need.

The event is held at Glendo High School with a chili lunch, big bucks bingo, silent auctions, live auctions and entertainment. Each year the gym is packed with people and although the town on Glendo only has 239 people, the town was packed with over 400 people on Saturday which was a rough estimate.

Similar events include the Chugwater Chili Cookoff in a town with a population of 178 people. Each year thousands come for the festivities held in June. Chugwater hosts a car show, a chili cook-off contest, live entertainment throughout the day and a rodeo. The town is usually packed for three days for the one-day event.

In Guernsey the population is 1138, but at the annual Fourth of July parade, which is the only parade on that date in Platte County, it seems as if the whole county turns out. The population of Guernsey is almost exceeded just with the participants IN the parade, much less those who come to watch and then find their way to the North Platte River to go tubing afterward.

One thing about Wyoming is that there is never a lack of things going on – especially in the summer months where places like Wheatland stack three, four and more events all in one day. One of the most up and coming festivals in Wheatland is the Blue Mountain Car Show where the population of the town of Wheatland is challenged as thousands turn out for the 5K, the car show, the celebrities and the demolition derby that follows.

It is one thing to see such crowds in big cities where the draw is from a metropolis, but to see the crowds and excitement here in little old Wyoming is something to see.

And who could forget the little town of Sunrise – population: One. It has become a hotbed of activity with archeology, lectures, camps for kids learning a skilled trade or how to dig into the past, a new archaeological museum and concerts.

Then there is the little town of Hartville with a population of 62 – and every week one of the most famous restaurants which features the oldest bar in Wyoming, “Miners and Stockmen’s” breaks the population record on a weekly basis with people who travel from all over Wyoming and from adjacent states to dine and belly up to a historic bar.

From Duck Daze to pre-Clovis man’s remnants to reservoirs packed with tourists and local fishermen, Platte County has it all and it has it all the time. Add to the schedule, sporting events such as the Wheatland Invite which brought 32 busses to town this past March and you will find that those who are in the planning and development of all of these things are to be commended for generating such fervor in the county. Not to mention the many hundreds of volunteers who keep every event running smoothly.

The Platte County Economic Development Committee hosted a “shop local” day at the Platte County Agriplex last week putting the emphasis on finding everything you need without having to leave your own back yard. Looking at the festivals and events, you will soon realize that it’s a great place to shop local and party local.