Picketwire’s Having a Party and Everyone’s Invited!

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Picketwire Banner 50th

By Susie Sarlo, Tracey Salzbrenner, & Zach Zamora

(La Junta) – One of the oldest community theatres in Colorado is turning 50 and they want everyone to celebrate with them. Picketwire Players of La Junta, Colorado performed their first play in 1968, and they have had a show or season of shows every year since that time. To celebrate all the players, technicians, patrons and audience members that have been a part of this rich history, Picketwire is having a three-day celebration July 12 – 14 in their historic WPA-era building and grounds.

“We are so excited about what we have in store for our alumni and community as we celebrate Picketwire’s history,” said Board President, Tracey Salzbrenner. “The three-day celebration this July is open to all.” As a courtesy, the non-profit organization reached out to its alumni first, but is now letting everyone know that it’s having a party this July and the community is invited.

There was so much to be done that the Picketwire Board assigned a couple committees to accomplish this monumental task. The event committee consisted of Board President Tracey Salzbrenner, Board member Susie Sarlo and past Board members and Players: Helen Hollar, Sharon Kolomitz, Lindy Nelson and Malle Schindler.  The event, along with Picketwire’s 2018 season of shows was announced at its Mickie Awards night in late January. Thanks to a grant from the La Junta Tourism Board, invitations were printed and mailed to Players and patron addresses that we had. If you didn’t get your invitation, no worries, just sign up on line.

The second committee (Darlene Blackford, Tracey Salzbrenner, and Susie Sarlo) studied 50 years-worth of productions, chose about 30 productions to highlight, and contacted the original players to revive their roles. It was fun, fun, fun, but hard, hard, hard to accomplish.

Well, after nearly two years of planning, Picketwire is ready to give a party. Registration is open until June 18. Please visit our website: www.picketwireplayers.org or our FaceBook to download a registration card. Once completed, cards can be sent via U.S. Mail [PO Box 912, La Junta, CO 81050] or via email [info@picketwireplayers.org].


July 12: The Gala. Picture a ginormous, white tent on the Picketwire parking lot (802 San Juan Avenue in La Junta). It’s full of beautifully decorated tables and chairs, complete with a cash bar, entertainment, and a wonderful menu prepared by professional chef Travis Masar. Hors d’oeuvres will be offered during the social hour at 6:00 PM. A formal three-course dinner will then be served at 7:00 PM. The dinner includes salad and your choice of the following:

  • Green chili grilled pork loin with roasted summer squash, Mole Negro, and masa corn cakes
  • Coconut grilled chicken breast with sesame caramel, snap peas, and cilantro rice cakes
  • Eggplant parmesan with grilled tomatoes, burrata and balsamic vinegar reduction.

The meal is followed by delectable desserts. Coffee, ice tea, water and wine are served with dinner.

During the afternoon/evening, a slide show of 50 years of shows will be running in the building and tours will be offered. Picketwire has been busy making improvements to the building and grounds, so that alumni and community members will be able to enjoy better productions and a more comfortable building.

  • Thanks to donations from Picketwire families, metal cut outs featuring theatrical characters grace the sidewalk area along San Juan Avenue.
  • A new light booth was built through Ken Schroll memorial donations. It was built with many painstaking hours by Board members Cameron Salzbrenner, Zach Zamora, and Scott Goheen.
  • Jeff Jackson was busy setting up remote capabilities for the lights.
  • A new ticketing system was put in.
  • Through an El Pomar grant, new carpeting was purchased and installed and the stage floor was refinished and a protective layer added.
  • A local fundraising effort helped purchase more efficient LED stage lights.
  • A CCI grant helped Picketwire purchase new stage curtains.
  • Last year a ramp was added to offer easier access into the theatre.
  • Other improvements include new paint and updates to the bathrooms.

July 13: 50 Fabulous Years ~ A Retrospective Show. Picture all your favorite shows from the past 50 years, bring back the original actors, singers, and pianists and you have an idea just how fabulous this night is going to be!

July 14: My Fair Lady. The weekend concludes with a premiere of Picketwire’s summer musical. Two different shows in one weekend – quite a feat!


To recap: 

  • Three days of magic
    • Fully catered Gala by Travis Masar at Picketwire Center, July 12
    • 50 Fabulous Years: A Retrospective Show, July 13
    • “My Fair Lady”, July 14
  • Over 1,000 invitees and an open invitation to the La Junta community.
  • NUMEROUS improvements to our historic building and grounds
  • Did we mention delicious food?

We want everyone to come. And, if you can’t make it, you can still order memorabilia by filling out your RSVP for merchandise only and mail it back to us. This small community theatre loves its Players/Patrons/Audience members and wants to make sure that anyone that got their feet inside the door is remembered. Picketwire was created as a family-focused organization that spanned all personalities, ethnicities, and generations; that gathered together to produce amazing shows year in and year out; and preserved the magic of live theatre in the Arkansas Valley for 50 years. This is a family that cannot continue to grow without all you lovely people. You are the ingredient that will make it last. 50 years down, FOREVER to Go!