SOUTH FORK— Mayor Rodney Reed stepped out on his front stoop to hear Christmas carolers rolling through the neighborhood while a bonfire and live band roared outside the South Fork Visitors Center for the Second Annual South Fork Yuletide Extravaganza on Friday, Nov. 23.
The event kicked off at 4 p.m. with chili from the Friends of South Fork. Last year’s celebration gave birth to the volunteer organization, which has grown to 80 members in less than 12 months. Members pay quarterly dues to help fund activities, in addition to volunteering their time.
Volunteers outnumbered guests for the first 20 minutes of the chili feast, but the crowd swelled to nearly 100 to enjoy the food.
At 5:30 p.m., the Christmas caroling sleigh rolled out of the Community Center parking lot. About a dozen carolers sat on hay bales around a sparkling Christmas tree and belted out 15 songs. The group agreed that “Jingle Bell Rock” sounded best, so they repeated it when the sleigh pulled up to the bonfire at the visitors center.
With the South Fork fire crew at the ready, the blaze roared for the crowd while a trio on-stage sang and plucked their instruments with numb fingers. The crowd migrated from the bonfire to enjoy hot chocolate and count down to witness all the holiday lights shining at once.
In addition to the elaborate display at the visitors center, the Friends of South Fork created a copse of colored trees by the old water tower on Highway 160.
Before the night ended, Santa Claus arrived to field gift requests. A long line formed outside the visitors center with people of all ages. St. Nick disappointed an older woman who wanted a car for Christmas. But the children’s requests will likely be granted, depending on good behavior.