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Ridgway Old West Fest

50 years since the release of the movie | Ridgway Colorado | October 11-13, 2019

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of True Grit, the movie that earned John Wayne his only Academy Award. The famous director Henry Hathaway brought a cast and crew to Ridgway and Ouray County in the summer of 1968 to film much of the movie, which was released in 1969.
The first annual Ridgway Old West Fest, organized by the Ridgway Western Heritage Society and scheduled for October 11-13, 2019, will celebrate Ridgway's brief transformation into Fort Smith, Arkansas, half a century ago.

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Ridgway Old West Fest

We work hard to bring the film industry to Colorado. It’s good for our state, it’s good for jobs and it’s good for the economy. True Grit was filmed 50 years ago in Ridgway. The town has benefited in many ways from that and we’re pleased to see that Ridgway is celebrating its rich movie heritage through a new annual Western festival, the Old West Fest.
Donald Zuckerman, Colorado Film Commissioner

Activities for Everyone

“We have a lot of fun activities planned, and there should be something for everyone, young and old,” said Eve Becker-Doyle, Ridgway Western Heritage Society president. "The 2019 Old West Fest is free. It does not have a registration fee. While some of the events require a paid ticket, the majority do not. That makes a really cost-effective weekend for our attendees."

Festival activities include cowboy music and poetry, a Western arts and crafts exposition, four movies, train rides, a tour of a model train that occupies an entire basement, a John Wayne look-alike contest, children’s horse and pony rides, horsemanship demonstrations and a cowboy action shooting contest.

  • A few highlights listed below, including a link to the most up to date full description of activities.

    Visit with Bob DeJulio, Paramount’s specialty painter for the True Grit movie: 
    Hear Bob DeJulio’s first hand stories and ask him questions about painting sets for True Grit. 3:00-4:30 pm Friday, OC Ranch History Museum.

    True Grit (1969) and Duel double feature:
    The original 1969 True Grit will be shown followed by the 1971 Spielberg movie Duel starring Dennis Weaver. (True Grit was filmed in the Ridgway area and Dennis Weaver was a longtime Ridgway resident.) The $3 price, paid at the door, is the same for attendees of all ages, whether they see one or two movies. 6:00 and 8:00 pm at the Ridgway Christian Center.

  • A few highlights listed below, including a link to the most up to date full description of activities.

    Ranch History Museum’s collection of original photographs taken during the shooting of True Grit:
    Locals and movie buffs alike will love these black & white and color images of locations and actor test scenes, along with local photographs and memorabilia. 10:00-3:o0 Friday and Saturday, 12:00-3:00 Sunday,  OC Ranch History Museum.

    Train rides:
    The Ridgway Railroad Museum will give three train rides per half hour on the track north of the Ranch History Museum. Attendees over the age of 10 will pay $5 at the gate (children 10 and under are free) and may ride the train as many times as they like. 9:00-5:00 Saturday and Sunday.

    True Grit walking tours:
    Guides will point out and talk about the various locations downtown where True Grit was filmed in 1968, and share other tidbits about the movie and its stars. Offered 6 times a day Saturday and Sunday. Click here to purchase tickets

    Western Arts & Crafts Expo:
    This juried exposition features Western arts and handicraft vendors who make or sell products that could have or may have been used in Western life, or have a Western theme, flair or focus. This includes publishers of Western magazines, books and posters; quilted and woven products; jewelry; wire weaving; wood burned signs; metal art and other items. 10-4 pm., Saturday, OC Events Center.

    Last Dollar Ranch:
    The Last Dollar Ranch, Mattie Ross’s home in the original True Grit, will be open to anyone who would like to view the grounds from 12 to 4 pm. on Saturday and Sunday.

    Natural horsemanship demonstration:
    The principles of natural horsemanship—based on positive communication, horse psychology, and understanding—will be demonstrated by Natural Principles Horsemanship. OC Fairgrounds Arena.

    Western music concert:
    Debby Campbell, oldest daughter of Glen Campbell who toured with him for 24 years, will perform a number of songs including those from her recent CD, a tribute to her father, as well as other artists’ hits. The performance venue will depend on weather. The indoor venue is the Ridgway Christian Center (180 tickets). If weather allows, Debby will perform instead at the Ouray County Fairgrounds Arena. Click here to purchase tickets

  • A few highlights listed below, including a link to the most up to date full description of activities.

    Cowboy worship:
    The United Church of the San Juans is serving up worship Western style Sunday morning at 10:00.  This casual, old-time service will celebrate our Western heritage and God’s creation through toe-tapping songs, Scripture, and a Bible-based sermon. Your spirits will be lifted, and you will leave with a smile on your face.

    Quiz master Rick Weaver, son of longtime Ridgway resident Dennis Weaver, is offering the winning team a $100 gift certificate to any restaurant in Ouray County. Names of bonus question winners will be placed in a ten-gallon hat for a drawing for a $25 gift card. Come and show off your knowledge of the West. Teams of up to 4 individuals may enter...you may come as a team. Or you may come alone, and join others to make up a team. If you prefer to take on all those questions on your own, you may be your own team. 1:30-3:30 p m, Sunday, United Church of the San Juans.

Debby Campbell

If the Hat Fits, Wear It Breast Cancer Fundraiser Brunch

Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 11 AM, Ridgway Fire House

This fundraiser provides hats to cancer patients who have lost their hair. Anyone wishing to support this cause may do so in several ways: by purchasing a ticket to attend this event, donating a hat, becoming a hat sponsor, or simply making a donation.

Breast cancer survivors wearing the hats will be featured in portraits and at a fashion show during the brunch. Singer Debby Campbell, oldest daughter of Glen Campbell, will perform a mini-concert following the fashion show. 11:00 am. Sunday, Fire house.

More info on the Breast Cancer Brunch Fundraiser

Register for Hat & Portrait Click here to purchase tickets

Ridgway, Colorado | October 11-13, 2019

Ridgway Old West Fest

The festival is intended to highlight Ridgway’s film, ranching, and railroad heritage, and celebrate Western arts & culture. We expect all of our ticketed events to sell out, so don’t tarry. Order your tickets now!

Are you a vendor? Interested in participating in this exciting event? Sign up today!
Want to participate in the hat & portrait show for the breast cancer fundraiser? Sign up below!

Visitors Center & Ridgway Area Chamber

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The chamber operates the Visitors Center, which is open from May 1 through October 1 and is located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62).

P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432


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