Covered Wagon Days to celebrate the Golden Years

Photos by Lyndsie Ferrell Covered Wagon Days in Del Norte is just around the corner so mark your calendars, Aug. 4-7, and get ready for a four-day event that not only celebrates the 50th anniversary of Covered Wagon Days but the 150th anniversary of Del Norte. Every day is packed full of activities for the entire family.

DEL NORTE — For the past 50 years, Del Norte has paid homage to its historical heritage during August with celebrations honoring days from the past. The first-ever Covered Wagon Days event took place in 1972 when the town decided to host a bicentennial festival that eventually turned into the celebrations of today.

According to the Aug. 19, 1972, Del Norte Prospector, the town held a Queen’s Ball at Castle Hall, a pancake breakfast and parade and other fun events such as a beard contest, flower displays and dancing in the streets. Del Norte has a long history of celebration dating back to the beginning of the town in 1872. While reading through the newspapers that began in 1874, it is easy to find how much Del Norte loved to get together as a community and celebrate any given event and this holds true to this day.

For the next 49 years, Del Norte created a beloved-annual event which was a way to bid farewell to July and welcome August and the start of the fall harvest while honoring the days of the past. Over the years, each summer came and went with the celebration happening just before school went back into session and included similar festivities like those held in 1972.

The week of Aug. 4 will kick off with the opening of the San Luis Valley Quilt Guild Quilt Show at the Rio Grande County Museum. The guild spends the entire year preparing for this event and turns the museum into a quilter’s wonderland for a weeklong event. Be sure to stop in and see all of the changes happening at the museum and view some amazing quilts.

Also on Aug. 4, Kathy's Fabric Trunk opens its unique quilt show that features handmade quilts by local artists. Kathy’s Fabric Trunk is a staple in Del Norte and with the help of their amazing staff and customers put on a show that simply cannot be missed.

That evening the Town of Del Norte will host its weekly Music in the Park featuring local musicians and fun for the entire family. It is a wonderful way to get the weekend started with so much more coming in the days ahead, including the start of a treasure hunt that will last all weekend. 

At 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, the Homelake Veterans will host its pig roast and auction at the High Valley Community Center. Come out for a delicious meal with family and friends while supporting a wonderful cause to help veterans here in the San Luis Valley. Tickets will be available at the door that evening.

Saturday morning will begin with the Val Alto Pancake breakfast also at the High Valley Community Center at 7 a.m. and the Bees Knees 5K run. The starting line for the 5K is conveniently located at the High Valley Community Center.

At 8 a.m. the Del Norte Public Library will open its annual book sale with all proceeds going toward helping the library. There will also be a pie sale at the Ruth Marie building just down the street beginning at 8 a.m.

The fun just keeps on coming with the annual parade that begins at 10 a.m. with this year’s theme being “The Golden Years” and the annual Ice Cream Social at the Rio Grande County Museum beginning at 11 a.m. along with the Del Norte Fire Department’s barbecue luncheon fundraiser that helps the department with the purchase of equipment and training expenses.

In the afternoon, guests can enjoy mud volleyball in River Park, a historic hayride that takes participants around town to visit historical landmarks and a Mountain Man Encampment with demonstrations of days long ago. Guests can also participate in the friendly game of horseshoes. It will be a day packed with fun activities for all ages.

Sunday will bring a fly in breakfast for participating pilots and church at 10 a.m. in River Park.

For a full schedule, visit coverwagondays.com.

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