DEL NORTE— Grand Avenue in Del Norte was packed with people from all over the Valley on Saturday, Aug. 4 for the annual Covered Wagon Days. An enormous American Flag was stationed in all its glory at the end of Columbia Avenue while the crowds of visitors set up chairs and wandered along the closed streets to get in place for the coming parade. The morning was cool and fresh after a decent rain shower the night before, offering sweet relief to the hot summer heat.
Earlier that morning, patrons, staff and volunteers of the Del Norte Public Library were hard at work setting out trailers lined with books for their annual book sale and fundraiser. The library has hosted this event for several years, bringing people to Del Norte in the early morning hours to find a good read. The event was a hit, and the library was close to selling out of their supply by the time the parade was gearing up to begin.
The Val Alto pancake breakfast was also well underway, and with hundreds of people crowding into the High Valley Community Center for breakfast, the day was off to a wonderful start. The organization donates all of the funds collected during the breakfast to the Ruth Marie Center for activities such as yoga and exercise classes that are held there weekly.
This year’s theme for the event was “Women of the West” and with that in mind, the Rio Grande County Museum set up a beautiful display showcasing some of the women who helped make the San Luis Valley— and particularly the Del Norte area—what it is today. The museum has been closed recently for several weeks due to burst pipes that flooded the building over the winter and was pleased to have everything ready in time for the Covered Wagon Days event.
The parade began at 10 a.m. with the National Anthem and the local Color Guard marching down Grand Avenue. This year there were more than 50 floats and participating businesses from around the area— everything from covered wagon displays to vintage cars and trailers pulled by antique tractors. The colorful parade included businesses like Del Norte Bank, Jack’s Market and many more.
After the parade, guests dispersed to see the car show on Columbia, participate in the pie sale at the Ruth Marie Center or venture over to the Del Norte Fire Department for their annual barbeque. The firehouse was filled with the smell of delicious food as guests gathered at the many tables to have lunch and raise money for equipment and training for the department.
Later in the afternoon, as the rain storms moved across the Valley, guests gathered at the big tent set up near Jack’s Market for the tractor pull, Dutch oven cooking demo and a special show hosted by the Seven Falls Indian Dancers.
The entire weekend was full of fun and good cheer as guests welcomed August in one of the best ways possible. A huge thank you goes out to all who helped make the 2018 Covered Wagon Days a success and to all of the sponsors for their continued support!