SOUTH FORK — The Hungry Logger building in South Fork was transformed into a winter wonderland for the 5th annual Yuletide and Winterfest celebration this past weekend in South Fork.
Vendors from as far away as Nebraska and as close as Del Norte and Monte Vista gathered to welcome holiday shoppers, offering homemade wares, and delectable treats.
The new owner of the Hungry Logger graciously allowed the community to utilize the space and it turned out to be the perfect venue for the beloved event.
“I purchased the building about six months ago and one of the things I noticed right away was that the community could really use this space. I am not exactly sure where my plans will lead me but one thing, I do know is that this building needs to be open to the community,” said building owner John Leder.
Leder was thrilled to offer the venue to the South Fork Friends Foundation (SFFF) and was pleased to see it full of people, lights and holiday warmth.
“I am a long way away from opening the doors but in the meantime, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be used until I figure out exactly what I want it to be,” he said.
The South Fork Friends Foundation worked countless hours over the past several months to prepare for the event, even going as far as to offer a free meal, warm beverages, and treats for the children in attendance.
Vendors filled the large space ready for holiday shoppers looking for the perfect gift.
“My daughter came down from Missouri so that she could sell her handmade gifts and we came down from Buena Vista to join her. It really has been a wonderful weekend so far and we can’t wait to come back again next year,” a vendor said.
Other local vendors like Kathy Anderson, who makes handmade jewelry, said the event was a success.
“I have done shows in Denver and other areas this year and this one has been really successful,” Anderson said.
Beyond the holiday cheer in the Hungry Logger, SFFF was busy outside the South Fork Visitor Center getting ready for the Yuletide lighting, stringing trees, bushes and outdoor buildings with festive lights. At 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, people were gifted Yuletide candles that added to the holiday cheer. With the sun setting behind the San Juans, South Fork Public Works Director Nate Goldsberry flipped the switch at 6 p.m. and turned the entire Visitor Center park into a winter wonderland.
After the lighting ceremony, the crowd ventured back to the Hungry Logger to greet Santa and his elves and to enjoy an evening of great food, friends and family.
“Friends, we just want to say thank you for making our 5th annual Yuletide Celebration a success," SFFF stated. "The SFFF enjoys bringing the South Fork Community together. We were graced with the presence of 200-plus of our friends at the event. Wow, what a turnout."
SFFF thanked its event sponsors — Ramon's Mexican Restaurant, Two Rivers BBQ, Hot Doughnuts N More, Outdoor Depot, Mountain Pizza, Tiny Timbers, Rainbow Grocery, Nate and Town Maintenance Dept., Don Spencer, Judith Brennan, Beverly Darrow, Michele Cruse, Bobbi Fugel, and Judee Sandman — and the Winterfest vendors. SFFF extended a special thank you to Leder for the use of his building.