DEL NORTE—Enjoy a fun-filled weekend in Del Norte for the annual celebration of Covered Wagon Days. Activities begin Thursday, Aug. 3, and continue through Sunday, Aug. 6.
Kathy’s Fabric Trunk kicks off the event on Thursday with a quilt show at the store located on the corner of Grande and Columbia. For more information, call Kathy at 657-9314.
“Meet Your Neighbor Night” is a potluck sponsored by the Del Norte Ministerial Alliance. The dinner will be held at the Knights of Columbus hall at 595 Pine Street on Thursday evening, beginning at 6 pm. Bring a covered dish and visit with others from the community.
Friday evening is the annual pig roast to benefit San Luis Valley Veterans. Profits from the event are used to help local veterans with expenses that are not covered by their insurance or VA benefits. The money is distributed through the Rio Grande County Veterans’ office. The dinner will be held in the big tent located just east of Jack’s Market. Serving will begin at 6 p.m. Various merchants and individuals have donated food, services, supplies and items for the auction.
Fred Hargrove and Oden Dean will perform live music, a mix of original works and old favorites, throughout the evening. There will also be an auction to raise additional funds for the cause.
The “Band of Brothers”, a group of 11 soldiers from the Plaza who served their country in Viet Nam will be featured guests at the benefit. Their memorial is located on West County Road 5 North, just east of the old church.
Admission for the meal and evening is $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 6 to 12, and under 6 years old are free. Payment will be at the door.
Wildwood Sounds located on Grande Ave will be hosting “The Rifters” for a concert and dance. Tickets are $20.
Saturday morning is the main day of the celebration. The Val Alto Study Group will feed the early risers at their annual Pancake Breakfast. They will start serving at 7 a.m. at the High Valley Community Center on the corner of Grande and Columbia. The group raises money for various activities and scholarships.
Also beginning at 7 a.m. is the Del Norte Library Book Sale at the Library located at 790 Grande Ave. The sale will run until noon.
“It’s the Bee’s Knees 5K Trail Walk/Run” starting at 7:30 a.m. from the High Valley Community Center. For more information, call Laura Haefeli at 657-2044.
There will be a pie sale at the Ruth Marie Center on Columbia Street beginning at 8am. Those interested in the yummy desserts should be there when they open to insure the best selection; they tend to be sold out fairly quickly.
Local merchants will be hosting open houses in their businesses all day. Be sure to support them as they support the community and its activities. Del Norte has several unique shopping experiences; take time before or after the parade to visit each of them.
Parade line up will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Cedar and Sixth Street. Participants are encouraged to register online at www.coveredwagondays.com. The site also contains the parade rules, terms and conditions. Registration will be available the morning of the parade. All entries need to pick up their assigned number so they can be identified by the parade announcer.
The famous Biscuit Throw will kick off the parade. It is an actual historical event of Del Norte. In the late 1800s, the Windsor Hotel offered accommodations to the miners when they came down from the mountains. Historians say that these miners, who had not yet found their gold, used biscuits as wagers in their poker games. One of these friendly games turned into a fight and the miners started throwing biscuits, among other things, at each other. The fight spilled out into the street and shots were fired. No one seems to know if anyone was hurt, but the story is always fun to tell. Spectators, near Columbia Street on Grande Avenue, will be treated to a re-enactment of the Biscuit Throw at approximately 9:55 a.m.
The theme of this year’s parade is “Preserving Our Western Ways”. The opening ceremonies will be at the intersection of Grande and Columbia. The annual parade is always a mix of old and new. From covered wagons to hot rods, old folks to young folks, horses to motorcycles, the parade has something for everyone. It might be some candy or just a memory, but it is to be enjoyed by all.
After the parade, take some time to look at the beautiful vehicles in the car show on Columbia St. Anyone interested in showing in the car show should complete the registration form found online at www.coveredwagondays.com and bring it with them along with the $20 entry fee. Line-up will start at 9 a.m.
The Del Norte Fire Department will be serving their traditional lunch at the firehouse on Grande beginning at 11 a.m. The lunch is always outstanding food and a chance to visit with other community members.
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” was a novelty song released in the late 1920’s. But for Del Norte, it means homemade ice cream by the San Luis Valley Antique Iron Club and an ice cream social at the Rio Grande County Museum. The club makes their ice cream with an old “hit and miss” engine powering the ice cream freezer. The butter pecan is very popular with vanilla coming in a close second. The museum along with the Spanish Trail Association will be serving ice cream in the courtyard of the museum at 580 Oak Street.
Kristi Mountain Sports will be hosting a Kids’ Bike Safety Rodeo at the beautiful location beginning at noon. For more information, call the store at 657-9902.
Don’t think of leaving now, there are lots more activities planned for the afternoon. The Historical Hay Wagon Tour will depart from the lot across from the museum at 12:30 p.m. The narrative description of the buildings and homes of the early days of Del Norte will be given by Del Norte native DeAnn Wright Jacobs with research done by Louise Colville, director of the museum, the late Mark Jones and others contributors.
At 1 p.m., the Dog Daze Dog Show will be held at the High Valley Community Center. Those showing their dogs should register online at www.coveredwagondays.com. Line-up will be at 12:30 p.m. All dogs must be on a leash.
The San Luis Valley Antique Iron Club will have a Tractor Pull at the big tent by Jack’s Market beginning at 1 p.m. For more information, contact Darrell Davis at 873-0280 or Jim Clare at 850-0072.
Also at the big tent at 1 p.m., there will be a Dutch oven cooking demonstration and other mountain man activities by members of the SLV Renegades.
The Seven Falls Native Dancers will be performing in the big tent at 2 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. This group from Colorado Springs is preserving the culture of their ancestors by teaching the native dance to each upcoming generation. The colorful costumes and intricate dance steps should mesmerize all who watch them.
The Rio Grande County Museum will be hosting a program on the Bunker Site at 2 p.m. at the Museum. According to Louise Colville, museum director, “the Bunker site is a 16-acre area that was discovered several years ago by ranchers, Bob and Shirley Bunker. It is located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristos on the East Fork of the Old Spanish Trail. Excavation and research have revealed that the site may have been used for over a thousand years.”
The museum’s featured artist for the summer is Wade Collins. His paintings and sculptures that “are actual life experiences and his art work is a way of keeping the memories. He celebrates his life with his art and enjoys a life style that the rest of us may only dream.” Collins will be at the museum throughout the day on Saturday.
The Del Norte High School Mud Volleyball Tournament will be held in the town park on Spruce and Second. Online information and registration form can be found at www.coveredwagondays.com. There should not be a lack of mud for this year’s competition.
Finish out Saturday by dancing to the infamous “Gunbarrel Junction” at the High Valley Community Center at 8 p.m. This group has played for Covered Wagon Days dances for many years. Don your best dancing boots, grab a partner, and dance the night away.
Sunday morning brings the annual Fly-in/Cruise-in Breakfast at the Kent Rominger Regional Airport north of Del Norte beginning at 8 a.m.
The Del Norte Ministerial Alliance will be conducting an all town church service in the Park at 10 a.m. Bring your own chair and worship in the great outdoors.
For a full schedule of events, go to www.coveredwagondays.com Come join the celebration and help “Preserve our Western Ways”.