Olde Tyme Saturday in Vernon, Colo. | TheFencePost.com

Olde Tyme Saturday in Vernon, Colo.

John Schaffner Wray, Colo.

It could be said that it all started in 1993, but did it really start in 1992? In reality the story of Olde Tyme Saturday in Vernon, Colo., actually started way back in 1892 when the town of Vernon, Colo., was established.

It is a commonly known fact that in most small farming and ranching communities of the past, Saturday was the day to go to town. After laboring all week long from before daylight until after dark the farming and ranching families could take a day to relax. They would hitch up their wagons or buggies and head to town to socialize and do their trading. Their trading, among other things, included swapping butter and eggs for products that they could not produce for themselves. Socializing often included some sort of entertainment such as baseball games, match horse races, foot races, dances, stage plays, silent movies and eventually the talking movies. The list of types of entertainment was extensive and varied from town to town.

As mentioned above, Vernon, Colo., was established in 1892. It grew and prospered for many years and was the hub of activity for the farmers and ranchers for many miles around. Those Saturday trips to town for both business and pleasure soon became the routine way of life for this new little town on Colorado’s Northeastern plains. Within a few years Vernon had two general stores, a hardware store, a barber shop, a bank, five Churches, a pool hall, a livery stable, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a millinery, a school, and an opera house. In fact the only things that Vernon lacked were a railroad and a paved highway.

When Highway 51, which later became Highway 385, was built in the 1940’s it diverted traffic 4 miles east and left Vernon off the beaten path. Buggies and wagons had been replaced by cars and pickups making it easier for those farmers and ranchers to drive to the larger towns for commerce. Vernon businesses began to struggle for lack of customers. One by one those once prospering businesses began to close their doors until the only thing left was the combination Post Office/Vernon Store. Before long many of the buildings were either torn down or moved to other locations. Vernon, Colo., soon became what some would almost call a ghost town.

The thing that kept Vernon from becoming a totally dead ghost town was that its heart kept beating. That pulsating heart was none other that the sense of pride and “community” that was still felt by the hardy farmers and ranchers in the area. Many of those farmers and ranchers were either descendants or admirers of the founding fathers and were determined to keep the blood flowing through Vernon’s veins.

It was as if Vernon was in its second childhood when a big centennial celebration was planned for August of 1992. Not only was the heart beating, but the brain was in gear, the feet were dancing, and the hands were waving with enthusiasm. Kin folks came from around the globe to take part in the joyful festivities of that hundredth birthday party. When the weekend was over everyone went home and let Vernon go back to sleep, but before long someone came up with the idea of waking her up again in August of 1993.

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It was decided to call the subsequent festivities “Olde Tyme Saturday in Vernon” and to keep them going year after year on the third weekend of August. Now Vernon, Colorado is 118 years old and everyone from near and far is invited to the party. The main festivities are planned for Saturday, August 21, with a few preliminaries on Friday and some carry-over activities on Sunday.

Friday’s activities start with a gun and coin show from 3:00-8:00 p.m. There will be a Chuckwagon supper from 6:00-8:00 p.m., followed by entertainment by the Highway 385 Band.

Saturday kicks off with a Chuckwagon breakfast starting at 7:00 a.m. followed by a flag raising at 8:30. The sixth annual Galen Hagemann Memorial Poker run will be from 8:30-10:30 a.m. The gun and coin show will open at 9:00 a.m. They younger generation has not been forgotten. Fun activities for them start at 9:30 a.m., leading up to the exciting stick horse rodeo at 10:30. The antique farm equipment demonstrations will begin at 11:00 a.m., and the ever popular parade starts at 1:00 p.m. The Olde Tyme Saturday fundraising auction will be held at 2:00 p.m. At 2:30 there will be entertainment by the Denver Concert Band on the stage while at the same time the antique tractor pull starts south of the schoolhouse. At 5:30 p.m., all participants line up at the fire hall for the annual Fireman’s Barbeque and entertainment.

Sunday starts off at a slower pace with another Chuckwagon breakfast from 8:00-9:00 a.m. The Community Church service starts at 9:30 and the wrap-up Community picnic starts at noon. When the picnic is over the town of Vernon will be picked up and put back to rest for another year.

More information and up-dates can be found at Olde Tyme Saturday’s web site: http://web.mac.com/ots3.