SILVER CITY >> From restaurants to environmentalists, several Silver City organizations are banding together at the 3rd Annual Big Ditch Day this Saturday to improve the Big Ditch's look, ecology, and reputation.
The main event is organized by the Silver City MainStreet Project and the Gila Resources Information Project is a full day of events which hope to recognize the history of the Big Ditch and to remind people of water resource concerns in Silver City.
The Big Ditch used to be Silver City's Main Street before it was washed away by floods in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Silver City residents at that time repaired the area, moved the main street to where Bullard Street is today and constructed a pedestrian bridge over the gorge. Now, the Big Ditch Park runs right along downtown.
Big Ditch Day events include art exhibits, water quality monitoring, a puppet performance, and trash pickups - all to show that the Big Ditch is integral to many aspects of life in Silver City, even if it is often out of sight behind the trees and businesses along Bullard Street.
One of those businesses, Tre Rosat Cafe, is working with MainStreet to promote the Ditch as a place for Silver City residents to enjoy, rather than avoid, by opening their new patio seating section on Big Ditch Day. Like many businesses on Bullard Street, Tre Rosat backs up to a dirt path alongside the Big Ditch. The new patio is shaded by the thick line of trees which lines the ditch and so provides a nice space for a summer lunch. Tre Rosat owners King Crowder and Lyla Adrienne started work on the patio in June, according to Adrienne, just before they were approached by Steve Townley of MainStreet to collaborate with Big Ditch Day. They will offer $1 off of appetizers, beer and wine from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
"So it was perfect timing for one thing," Adrienne said. "But we would love for the Ditch to be more of a focal point for the downtown. We want it to be more tourist friendly."
One way the Gila Resources Information Project hopes to do that is with an early morning trash pickup of the Big Ditch and San Vicente Creek, according to a press release from the organization. Those wanting to help, meet at the 6th Street staircase into Big Ditch Park at 8 a.m. Gloves, trash bags and water will be provided.
The organization is also holding three water quality monitoring sessions, one at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. At the monitoring sessions, staff and volunteers will test the San Vicente Creek water in the Big Ditch to track potential impacts of pollution from the Silver City watershed.
The kids aren't left out of the celebration, either, with children's activities including puppet creation, nature arts and crafts, poetry, and hands-on birds and river ecology lessons.
The two Monsoon Puppet performances are also great for kids. There will be a parade from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning at Yada Yada Yarn on Bullard Street and ending in Big Ditch Park. When they Monsoon Puppet Theater gets to the Big Ditch at noon, they'll continue on into their performance, "The Flood of Innovation" down into the Big Ditch, which is open to public participation and celebration. If you would like to be in the Monsoon Puppet Theatre's parade or performance, email Jamie at email@example.com or go to nfo.edu/puppet.
Also at Big Ditch Day this year, The Wellness Coalition will host its Trash-to-Treasure art display. The display will present unique pieces of art constructed from and inspired by the trash and artifacts found in the Big Ditch and along San Vicente Creek. The display will be located at Big Ditch Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At 10 a.m., there will be a dedication of the Donor Monument for the Downtown Gateway Arch at 10 a.m. on the corner of Broadway St. and Hudson St.
The Silver City Museum's exhibit entitled, "The Flood Season: How Silver City's Main Street Became the Big Ditch" will also be open in an upstairs gallery at the museum. Drop by the Big Ditch Day headquarters in the Silver City Visitors Center parking lot to receive a 10 percent discount on anything in the museum gift shop on Big Ditch Day. The Silver City Museum is located at 312 W. Broadway in downtown Silver City, and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Benjamin Fisher may be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5803