SOUTH FORK— As the sun sank low behind the San Juan Mountains and bathed the small town of South fork in evening shadows, a huge bonfire was ignited as people gathered for the lighting of the town square near the visitor center Friday night, Nov. 24. The bonfire was surrounded by log seats and smaller bonfires in contained pits where people began to gather with hot drinks and warm food. The night was off to a great start and anticipation of the display to come floated in the air like a holiday breeze.
Yuletide Committee members could be seen bustling here and there as they prepared the last-minute details for the night’s celebration. The front entry way of the visitor center was transformed into a cozy layer for Santa and his elves where he was going to spend the evening taking Christmas wishes from several children who were in attendance. The outside of the visitor center was adorned with bright red bows, pine boughs covered in sparkling fabric and metal reindeer lined the sidewalks, creating a winter wonderland for the attending crowd.
The Yuletide Committee spent the last several weeks of fall preparing for the night’s events and with the help of donors from all walks of life, was able to cover the town center with bright LED lights that can be used for years to come. “We wanted to create a tradition here in South Fork. This is a base camp for adventure in the summer and winter months and it is our goal to let people know that. We want people to come here to enjoy their holidays every year and not only in the summer,” said committee member Kris Steffens.
As the evening wore on and the sun sank lower behind the mountains, trees began to light the way for guests as they made their way towards the cozy fires. A trailer adorned with Christmas decorations was placed in front of the town hall so that a group of people could use it as a stage for Christmas carols which traveled to nearby neighborhoods after the event to continue the caroling. Steffens took a moment to speak on behalf of the committee and to thank the volunteers and donors for their generosity and help with the event. “We could not have done this without the help of so many people,” said Steffens.
Finally, as the sky darkened, the committee flipped a switch and the entire town center lit up with blue, green, white and red lights. The transformation into a winter wonderland was complete and the attending crowd cheered while the children ran into the yard to walk along the lit paths around the visitor center.
The Yuletide Committee would like to thank the following for their efforts on behalf of the First Annual Lighting Festival. “These are the on the ground, ‘make it happen’ teams: Mayor Rodney Reed; Nate Goldsberry and family; Mark Teders; Rob and Kari Navara and the Outdoor Depot team; Beverly and Cliff Darrow; John and Bobbi Fuegel (Keep it Clean); Michelle Cruse; L VanOsdol; Joe McCarn (McCarn Computers); Linda and Lowell Hicks; Glynn Polter; George, Amanda and TJ Hill; Pam and Steve Peterson; Ron and Jackie Jones; Sharon Spencer; Lori Golding and Tammy Worle; Christian and Margareta Grill; Dennis and Cathy Montowsky and Melanie Hart and family. Special thanks also goes to Hathorn Construction and Hoot Communications for their equipment and teamwork.”
The committee would also liketo thank the following for their generous donations: Greater South Fork Community Foundation, Kent Miller of Frontier Mechanical Systems, South Fork Community Banks of Colo. , Fine Tuned Apparel, The Del Norte Bank, Rio Grande Club and Resort, Steffens and Co. Realty, Lowell and Linda Hicks, Outdoor Depot, South Fork Lumber, Ute Bluff Lodge, LaGarita Mtn. Nursery, The Cabin, Connie Goodnight, Ross and Mary Lea Wait, Twin Pines Motor Sports, SF Propane, the Malt Shoppe, Rainbow Grocery, Rick and Kathy Ellithorpe, Wayne and Suzan Ginani, Two Rivers BBQ, Keith and Becky Helmstetler, Doc’s Outdoor Sports, Mountain Lighthouse and Gallery, Ramons, Santiago Arroyo, Beiriger Bros., Peter Olivet, Mary Corbin, Madison Joy Property Mgmnt., JD Dyess, Storm Energy USA, Joel Hart, Robert Edwards, Blue Eyed Bear, H.L. Stehwien, Thomas Miller, South Fork Title, James and Diane Swartzendruber, Frank Walter, Patricia Hendricks, Charles Dees, Steve and Linda McCormick, Beaver Mountain Estates, Greg and Kathy Green….and many thanks to all the anonymous donors.
South Fork would not be lit up without all of the support! Enjoy the lights and Merry Christmas to all.