By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— July is just around the corner and with it comes a wide range of activities for the entire family throughout the Valley. Unlike other towns in the region, South Fork has opted to give guests an opportunity to not only celebrate the Fourth of July holiday once, but twice. Several years ago, the town made the announcement that they would host their event on the third of July, marking one of the largest celebrations in the Valley.
South Fork town officials have been working closely with area organizations, like the South Fork Fire department and local farmers market to create a day filled with activities that the entire family can enjoy. “We have an entire day planned for those who wish to come visit. It will start in the morning with our parade and keep on going throughout the day. People can come spend the entire day here and will not be disappointed. We are the base camp for adventure after all,” said Town Administrator Dan Hicks.
Along with several other Colorado communities, South Fork is in the midst of a drought that forced the town and fire district to cancel their fireworks. “We felt that in the midst of this drought that we could not afford the risk of having the annual fireworks show; it was far too great, but the events of the day will make up for not having the fireworks,” said Hicks.
The parade will begin at 3 p.m. on July 3 and those that wish to participate can register at the South Fork Visitor Center. “We want to invite everyone to come out and participate in the parade. Dress up in a costume, decorate your ATV or OHV, bicycle or vehicle and come help us celebrate. Everyone is invited to join the parade,” said Hicks.
Hundreds of people come out for the event as spectators every year and this year will have the chance to actually be in the parade. “It will be so fun if everyone joins in on the parade. It’s an opportunity that not everyone gets to enjoy year after year, well this year, they can,” said Hicks.
Before the parade, those preparing to march along the frontage road in South Fork can work up an appetite, which they can quench at the annual South Fork Fire Department’s catfish fry that begins at 10 a.m.. The volunteers and firefighters at the department spend weeks planning for the event that pulls hundreds of people to the area. Crews work to prepare thousands of pounds of catfish for hungry guests. The catfish fry is the only fundraising event the department hosts throughout the year. Funding collected during the event is used to pay for equipment and training for the department.
After the catfish fry, guests can head over to the local farmers market that will be taking place at the visitors center. The market boasts fresh produce, handmade gifts and local merchandise. “The market has really taken off this year and offers local produce that may not be available yet in other markets around the Valley. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon,” stated Hicks.
In addition to the farmer’s market there will be live entertainment as part of the Summer Soiree music series hosted by the South Fork Music Association. There will be dancing and light refreshments for all who attend.
After the music ends, guests can head over to the Rickle Arena and enjoy some good old-fashioned rodeo events hosted by Burris and Sons Rodeo. The rodeo will begin at 6:30 p.m. and go until the bulls get tired.
The day is packed with activities for all to enjoy. For a full schedule of events, please visit www.southfork.org.