Still having fun: Businesses host events in place of Flaming Gorge Days
June 22, 2023
When it was announced that this year's Flaming Gorge Days was canceled, many people's first reaction was disappointment. But for some, the disappointment was quickly replaced by determination.
Local business owners got together, reached out, and found ways to quickly organize multiple events for June 23 and 24 to give the community options of fun things to do in place of Flaming Gorge Days.
The biggest events are taking place in Ever's Park and Downtown Green River with the "Party in the Park" and the "Not so FGDs Block Party" and "Summer Slam."
Party in the Park
The "Party in the Park" was organized by Alishae Blazich and Tori Thompson. Blazich, the owner of A.B. Designs Custom Signs and Decor, had already been planning to do an event in the parking lot of her store during the weekend, so when she and Thompson heard about the cancelation, they just decided to expand.
"As soon as they canceled Flaming Gorge Days, we thought 'well, heck, the park's open, let's go see if we can get a permit for it,'" Blazich said.
The permit was approved quickly, so the two started reaching out to vendors who had originally planned to be part of Flaming Gorge Days, figuring it would be a good way for them to not lose out on the money they'd hoped to make over the weekend. She figured they might get up to 20 vendors who wanted to join, but underestimated the way the vendors would keep reaching out to each other.
"We just kind of put it out there that anybody who wants to join us could let us know and we could make arrangements," Blazich explained. "Then it just kind of snowballed after that, and we're up to 70 vendors."
While she never expected so many people to join the event, Blazich is excited to give small businesses and vendors a chance to promote themselves and to give the community a chance for some family-friendly fun.
The event will feature multiple food vendors as well as things like face painting, permanent jewelry, semi-permanent tattoos, tarot card readers, woodworking, homemade crafts, and more. There will be live music as well as a DJ. Riverside Nursery will also be helping out and will have bouncy houses available at the nursery. Blazich is also organizing even more family-friendly games and activities, including a bike parade that families and kids are encouraged to participate in by decorating their bikes or wearing costumes.
Downtown Block Party and Summer Slam
Another business that already had plans for Flaming Gorge Days weekend and didn't want to miss out was the Embassy Tavern.
"Usually we are the afterparty," Mehgan Thomas, a bartender at the Embassy, explained. "I already had the bands booked, so we didn't want the bands to go to waste, and we still wanted people to come down here and still enjoy."
As soon as they heard Flaming Gorge Days had been canceled, the Embassy and other businesses along "Bar Row," including the Town Bar and the Ponderosa, came together and started brainstorming what else they could do.
The "Not so FGDs Block Party" will offer kid activities including bouncy houses and sumo wrestling with inflatable body suits, as well as food and treat vendors. There will be a cornhole tournament and music bingo starting a 5 p.m. on Friday, and ZamTrip will start playing at 9 p.m. On Saturday there will be a horseshoe tournament with sign up starting at 9 a.m., and Saturday evening Tyler Wilkinson will be DJing at 5 p.m. with Atlas Falls performing at 9 p.m.
In conjunction with the Block Party, other downtown businesses will be hosting a "Summer Slam" at the same time. Red White Buffalo, the Tomahawk Tavern, Stellar Coffee and Twisted Timber Apparel are working together to offer even more options downtown on Saturday, including a whiskey tasting event and even more food, drinks, vendors and bouncy houses.
When it came to pulling together and getting events planned in a matter of weeks, everyone behind the weekend's celebrations had the same motivation.
"We want some fun things to do," Thomas said. "Everybody does."
Thomas pointed out that it's not just Green River residents, but also people who come from Rock Springs, Lyman, and other places to enjoy Flaming Gorge Days every year. And when events don't happen, she hears about how disappointed people are.
Blazich also heard many people, including vendors, expressing their disappointment and frustration when Flaming Gorge Days was canceled.
"I've witnessed the emotionality over it," she said.
She added that while there has been negativity, there has also been people pulling together, defending each other, and helping out, which has been inspiring.
"The mutual respect between all of us has been a big deal," Blazich said.
When it comes to the way people work to make things happen even in the face of setbacks, Thomas believes it shows a lot about Green River.
"It shows our community's strong and we will all come together," she said.
The "Party in the Park," "Not so FGDs Block Party," and "Summer Slam" events will all start at 10 a.m. both Friday and Saturday.