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For the week of Sept. 1, 1999 through Sept. 7, 1999

Honor for everyone

The induction of Ketchum’s Wagon Days into the Idaho Hall of Fame is a much-deserved honor.

Like no other, the Wagon Days parade celebrates the heritage of Idaho and the West. The induction recognizes the foresight and effort that made the parade a success.

It is no ordinary parade. It is history illustrated. It has made Blaine County a once-a-year gathering place for the West’s living historians and artisans—wagon makers, tack and saddle makers, hat makers, vintage costume designers, riders, wagon masters, mule skinners, ropers, musicians, dancers, storytellers and flapjack flippers.

The city was more than lucky when the family that owned the incredible wagons of Lewis Fast Freight donated them to the city. It was wise.

It was wise to assume the care of the wagons in which much of Ketchum’s history resides. It was also wise to assume responsibility for the parade.

The event became a winner.

It garnered nationwide recognition as travel writers discovered the amazing displays of horsemanship, artifacts and other western arts. It attracts a bigger audience every year.

Local businesses benefited because the parade extended the summer season through Labor Day, a time that had previously been weak.

It would have been easier for the city to let the wagons go to a far-off museum or to a private collection. It would have been easier not to build the Ore Wagon Museum with all of its explanatory story boards and photos.

It would have been easier to sink into the homogeneity of mountain resorts and let it go at that. It would have been easier not to expend the enormous energy required each year.

It would have been cheaper not to back the event at all.

Instead, Ketchum decided it wanted to create something outstanding and unusual—a non-motorized celebration of the West’s heritage where the only thing combustible is the applause along the way.

It formed a public-private partnership with local businesses and residents to fund and organize the event. It recruited a cadre of volunteers. It partnered with the Sun Valley Ketchum Chamber of Commerce. The parade still relies on private donations as well as public support to cover expenses, however. (Ketchum Wagon Days, c/o City of Ketchum, Ketchum, ID 83340). Donations are tax deductible.

When Ketchum Mayor Guy Coles accepts the induction of Wagon Days into the Idaho Hall of Fame in September, he will represent all of the organizers, donors, volunteers and participants without whom Wagon Days would never happen.

It will be an acknowledgment that great things can happen when citizens work together to create something special and give unstintingly of themselves. It will be an honor for everyone.


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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.