Blue Fest brings party to town

Event to benefit Oak Creek's gentle giant, who has a brain tumor

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Over the years, Oak Creek Mayor Cargo Rodeman has thrown more than 25 benefits for people in the community.

It's just a way of life, she said. When someone needs help in the small town, people pull together to provide it.

But one of the biggest benefits Rodeman has ever been involved with will happen Saturday.

Blue Fest, a party to support Oak Creek resident Blue Halterman, who recently was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, will start at 2 p.m. Saturday and last until 2 a.m. Sunday.

There will be 10 hours of live music, a full buffet and a cash bar. Bands including Blue Rooster, Two plus One, and Independent Unlimited will play.

The night will also feature a raffle with prizes, including $50 restaurant gift certificates and a sleigh ride to a teepee dinner. There will be a silent auction featuring prizes such as a round of golf for four, new skis and a registered mastiff puppy named after Blue, valued at $1,800.

Halterman grew up in Oak Creek, played sports at Soroco High School, worked as a chef at Big Tuna's Restaurant, the Colorado Bar and Grill, and Curve Market and Deli. He is known across the valley as a "gentle giant" because he's big but a peacemaker.

He has a positive attitude despite his illness and is focused on getting better so he can help others going through similar experiences, Rodeman said. He is a friend to everyone, she said, and supports people for who they are and what they believe.

"It doesn't matter what lifestyle, be it the younger ones, or the cowboy types," Rodeman said. "He's like one of the things that melds everybody together because he accepts everybody."

Blue Fest is meant to help Halterman and show him the community is behind him, Rodeman said.

It's also a big party, with music ranging from folk to gospel and country to rock 'n' roll, and food provided by Oak Creek's big-name restaurants, such as Taylor Made Dinty Moore's, The Colorado Bar, Big Tuna's, Pisa's of Oak Creek and Chelsea's.

To ensure that people don't drink and drive and to make it easier for Steamboat residents to join the party, Alpine Taxi is offering a free shuttle service from Steamboat to Oak Creek and back every hour on the hour, with the pickup at the Meadows parking lot.

At midnight, the benefit will turn into a birthday party for Halterman, who turns 30 on Nov. 9.

Whether people know Halterman, the benefit offers a good time for everyone, Rodeman said.

The support and interest from people in the entire valley show that communities can pull together, she said.

"All of our communities in Routt County are separate in so many ways, and something like this lets you know that the valley is all one home, is one family," she said.

For more information and a story about Halterman, go to www.cheapskier.com. Direct donations can be made to the Blue Halterman Benefit Fund at the First National Bank of the Rockies in Oak Creek.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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