Inaugural Bluff Blowout is unqualified success
Frances Vander Strappen, Twin Rock Cafe’s general manager, had a great idea: She believed that after the past year and a half dealing with COVID-19 issues, it was time for the greater Bluff community to come together once again.
Our slice of Utah, and especially the northern Navajo Nation region, was especially hard-hit. Restrictions on group gatherings, however, have recently been relaxed.
Consequently, Frances knew it was time to celebrate. Never one to shy away from supporting the town, Frances cooked up a cookout.
Throughout the pandemic, Twin Rocks has supported hunger relief, promoted student success, and propped up starving artists, but now it was time to get Bluff folks together for a good time, including food, fun, art, and music.
So, Frances set to work. With the assistance of her trusty staff and Steve, Priscilla, Rick, and Susie; Frances pulled together the Inaugural Bluff Blowout. Make no mistake; this is just the first of many parties Frances has planned.
On Sunday, June 13, the temperatures reached 104 degrees, so it was the perfect time to throw an outdoor celebration featuring cold drinks, free food, entertainment, a Whitehorse High School student art show, and a dog adoption program.
We put up invitation posters all over the area and lots of folks showed up.
The tasty food, prepared and served by our hard-working cafe staff, brought together local residents and some lucky travelers.
It was the first time in over a year our parking lot was full, and no one went away hungry. The staff prepared and served 75 pounds of potato salad, 270 brats, and 125 hamburgers.
We estimated more than 250 people attended the festivities, which was the break-out gathering in Bluff for more than a year.
We were forced to cancel last year’s Balloon Festival, Arts Festival, Winter Solstice celebration, and any number of other town events, so it felt good to be together in communion with our fellow Bluffoons.
One of the attractions was a program by Underdog Rescue from Moab, which brought some adorable puppies for adoption.
The canines come from the Navajo Reservation and at least one lucky dog found a new home, with Frances, of course. It was all we could do to keep Susie from adopting them all, to go along with the five feral cats she currently cares for.
Local musician Pete Sands coordinated the musical program for the afternoon, and young Navajo singer Kylie Jim, of nearby Montezuma Creek provided a fine set of songs. Allan, from Tooele Meats, was creative with his brat recipe, and they were delicious.
Once again, we were impressed by the local talent which surrounds us here in southeastern Utah.
It was the mixture of people that was most impressive. Folks from the nearby Navajo Nation came bringing their families, and they were joined by a number of the senior LDS missionaries currently serving in Bluff Fort.
Old and young were equally represented, and for the first time in a long time, we were once again a community.
The entire community, and all the people who just happened to drop by at the right time, owe a debt of gratitude to Frances and our cooks and servers who labored in such high heat.
Their efforts brought people together to share a meal and re-establish a spirit of neighborly cooperation.
We are confident this will be a re-occurring event because this first edition of the Bluff Blowout was an unqualified success.
Thanks Frances and the entire Twin Rocks staff.