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Colorama offers rodeo, activities

— There’s a whole lot more going on this year at the annual Colorama Festival and Pro-West Rodeo celebration.

“We have beer gardens and carnivals and helicopter rides and lots of stuff,” Grand Coulee Dam Chamber of Commerce Manager Peggy Nevsimal said Monday. “It’s twice as big as last year.”

This year’s celebration begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. It includes live music Friday and Saturday night, a carnival, food and arts and crafts vendors, a parade, helicopter flights, three days of rodeo a beer garden, the parade and the Over the Dam fun run.

Most of the festivities will take place in North Dam Park on state Highway 155, but the Colorama parade will weave its way through downtown Saturday.

The Over the Dam run will take runners and walkers across Grand Coulee Dam, and the Pro-West Rodeo will take place at the DeLano Rodeo Grounds, located just outside town on Alcan Road.

The fun kicks off for the 56th annual event Thursday with the carnival, vendors and music in the park. The carnival runs from 5-9 p.m., Nevsimal said

“Lots of people consider it family night,” Nevsimal said of the carnival opening.

The carnival also operates from 3-9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

In addition to the carnival, the park will host more than 60 vendors this year, more than double the number registered last year.

The park’s tennis courts will also serve as the stage for live music on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, Love Stitch will play classic rock ’n’ roll from 7-9 p.m.

“The band has some members from the Omak area,” Nevsimal said.

Rock A Bar will perform from 6-10 p.m. Saturday.

While you’re listening to music, Nevsimal said adults are invited to join the fun in the beer garden.

“The beer garden is new this year,” she said.

The biggest event of the weekend, however, will be the Colorama grand parade.

Parade line up is at 11 a.m., just off Spokane Avenue.

The route will take participants down Spokane to Midway Avenue. There, it will turn left onto state Highway 155 and continue to state Highway 174, where it will turn left and head uphill before ending and returning to the staging area.

“Colorama Queen Erin Wieldraayer will lead off the parade on her horse,” she said.

Wieldraayer will follow a color guard and be followed by the Ridge Ridgers club and George Kohout.

The Ridge Ridgers were named the Business of the Year after bringing the DeLano rodeo grounds “back from death’s door,” Nevsimal said.

As a Ridge Riders member, Kohout was named Achiever of the Year for his instrumental role in resurrecting the venue.

They will be joined by the Volunteer of the Year, Eloise Bowman, a volunteer at the Senior Center Thrift Shop, 203 Main St.

Dozens of other local organizations and businesses will also participate.

Nevsimal said event-goers won’t want to miss this year’s Pro-West Rodeo – there are performances at 6 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re excited about the weekend,” she said. “The weather is supposed to be great.”

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