Festivity on upswing in Old Town

       Old Colorado City is getting more active, and Charlie Irwin, an Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group board member who helped make that happen, is the OCCA president for 2009.

The 2009 officers for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group's board of directors are (above, from left) Secretary Nancy Stovall, President Charlie Irwin and Treasurer Don Wick, and (bottom right) Vice President Mazie Baalman.
Westside Pioneer photos

       In an interview this week, Irwin talked enthusiastically about five new festival-style OCCA events this year and pledged an openness that he hopes will enhance teamwork among the area's 120-some independently owned businesses and result in improved sales for everyone. “I want the communication from the board to the merchants to be as transparent as it possibly can be,” he said. “I want people to see what's happening and why it's happening. With these economic times, we're all in this together, and if we work as a team we can really make a difference down here.”
       Irwin, owner of The Attic retail store, is one of five merchants from the 2008 board who were re-elected in a vote of OCCA members in December. The other four holdovers are Mazie Baalman, Julie Fabrizio, Jake Topakas and Don Wick. New members are Bernideen Canfield, Diane Dimbat, John Edwards, Dr. James Maguire, Nancy Stovall and Deb Wallbaum.
       Jim Heikes, who had been president for the past two years, did not run again.
       The new 11-member board met for the first time Jan. 13, voting among themselves to decide on their officers. Baalman is vice president, Stovall is secretary and Wick continues as treasurer.
       Though still in the planning stages, the five new events will bring the OCCA total to 18, Irwin said. He described an overall plan to have a larger event every quarter, with at least some event every month to get people thinking that if they go to Old Colorado City, they'll find things to do. New this year are the Ice on the Avenue (highlighting ice sculpture creations Jan. 17-18), Jake & Telly's Greek Glendi in May, the Chili and Beer Cook-off in June, the Freedom Festival (including military appreciation) in July and the Summerfest (focusing on ethnic foods, music and art) in August.
       Other traditional events/activities are expected to continue. These include the Easter Egg Hunt in April, the First Friday Art Walks starting in April, Territory Days in May, Scarecrow Days and the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off in September and October, Safe Treats on Halloween, Holiday Magic in November and Lights on the Avenue (a possible offshoot from “Christmas in Old Colorado City”) in December. Three annual events in Old Colorado City are organized separately but supported by the OCCA: the Saturday Farmers Market from June to October, the Good Times Car Show in August and Founders' Day in August.
       Irwin spoke highly of the arrangement with marketing consultant Seiko Tran, who was originally part of the Zeal Group that the OCCA hired last fall. When Zeal had to pull back for business reasons, Tran formed his own firm and is now doing a “fantastic” job leading the marketing effort, Irwin said.

Westside Pioneer article