San Luis Valley promises weekend of fun


Beat the Heat BBQ in Alamosa

ALAMOSA — The San Luis Valley Beat the Heat BBQ is back - bigger, better, and more barbeque-y than ever.  

On Friday, August 4, the festivities get started at 6 p.m. in Cole Park with the Steak Cook-off and Kids Q, pictured below. Anyone can enter these two events, or just come down and watch while listening to live music by Indian Nickel. While there, join in the Cornhole Tournament.

On Saturday, the competition sets fire with 43 award-winning professional barbecue competition cooking teams. Highlighting the line-up are Clark Crew and The American Dream, currently in first and sixth place, respectively, in the Kansas City Barbeque Society nation-wide team of the year standings.

From 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., the People’s Choice tasting event is the best way to sample tons of tasty barbecue from more than 25 cookers.

Live entertainment starts at 12 p.m. with Blue Sky, and from 2– 4 p.m. will be high-energy, get ‘em out on the dance-floor bluegrass music by Chain Station. Then, stick around for the Hot Pepper ChowDown at 4:30 p.m., benefitting America’s Bravest. Fun activities are scheduled all day with the Hogwaller Mudrun pictured above, beer garden, backyard fun and games and more. Check out the full line-up at

Also, this year the San Luis Valley Beat the Heat BBQ welcomes The Great American Cookout Tour with food sampling and a lively, interactive pitmaster demo tour. The Great American Cookout Tour makes 20 nationwide stops at the biggest barbecue contests and food festivals to share background and professional grilling techniques while providing tasty samples and tips for food enthusiasts. The tour features KCBS professional pitmasters and judges Mike and Christine Peters. The fan-favorite duo will reveal tips and techniques that professionals use in competition barbecues.

Rock and Mineral Show in Creede

CREEDE — The 16th annual Rock and Mineral Show will be held this weekend in Creede. The show is an area favorite and brings people from all over the globe to enjoy a weekend of geological delights.

This year, more than 1,500 people are expected to show up this weekend for the show in the Underground Community Center and Mining Museum located north of Creede. Admission is free, and the show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. August 4, 5 and 6.

The Underground Mining Museum is a great place to begin the weekend, offering a place for guests to gain a perspective of what life was like in Creede so many years ago. The dark, cool caverns throughout the building speak to the lifestyle many lived while silver was mined in the hills above town. Experienced staff takes guests to the entrance of the museum, donned with coats to keep the chill at bay, while they explain the origins of mining in the area and send guests on their way into the museum.

Each guest has a handheld device that talks about each exhibit, mining techniques used during specific time periods and tells the tales of mining long ago. The entire tour takes about 45 minutes and lands guests in a gift shop adorned with precious gems, stones and minerals that sparkle under the low ceiling and strategically placed lights.  

Once guests have a basis for the mining history in the area, they can venture to the Rock and Mineral Show that is spread out along the corridors inside the Underground Community Center. This year, more than 40 vendors and educational booths are expected at the show, which is a slight increase from prior years. Guests can wander among the many booths laden with rocks, minerals, precious gems, homemade crafts and other delightful merchandise.

Each evening at the community center a presentation will take place that highlights certain geological lectures by local geologists. See

Also occurring in Creede this weekend is the 34th Annual Snowshoe Shuffle 5K Run/Walk, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 5th at 9 a.m. This year’s race is sponsored by Arp’s Restaurant.

The Snowshoe Shuffle 5K is a fun run or walk for all abilities, runners, walkers, baby strollers and families; well-behaved leashed dogs are welcome to join in the fun. Snowshoes are optional.

The race begins at Town Park in downtown Creede and goes up the canyon and heads back to town by the same route. Hang out after the race for wonderful snacks provided by Arp’s, awards for overall winners as well as age group winners and door prizes from local merchants.

All proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to Mineral County Search and Rescue. For any questions, leave a message for Deb Haverfield at 852-0829.

While in Creede, attend one of several excellent plays performing in repertory at the Creede Repertory Theatre ( including: on Friday, Aug. 4, Pants on Fire at 11 a.m., Arsenic and Old Lace at 1:30 p.m. and The Syringa Tree at 7:30 p.m.; on Saturday, Aug. 5, Arsenic and Old Lace at 1:30 p.m., She Loves Me at 7:30 p.m. and Boomtown at 10:30 p.m.; and on Sunday, Aug. 6, She Loves Me at 1:30 p.m. and Arsenic and Old Lace at 7:30 p.m.

Annuel Crestfest in Crestone

CRESTONE — Crestfest will be held Friday and Saturday August 4th and 5th at the Challenger Golf Course in Crestone. Advance ticket prices are $12 for adults and seniors for Friday and $27 for adults and seniors for Saturday. Teens will be $5 for Friday and $10 for Saturday. Under 12 are free. Camping is $21 for the weekend. Tickets are available on line at or call 719-256-4533.

Crestfest T will have great music, food, libations, arts and crafts, a raffle and an old fashioned Mid-Way Carnival with games, rides, contests, and outdoor activities. The Salida Circus will be returning with their array of activities. They bring costumes for parades, tumbling and circus act lessons, a magician, a clown, and stilt walkers.

There will still be traditional men’s and women’s wood chopping and limbo and pie-eating contests.
Crestfest will also act as a showcase of presenters who participate, or plan to in the Youth Enrichment Program school performances.

Arts and crafts vendors will have everything from clothes, hammocks, shoes and hats, to massage, crystals and jewelry.

There will be great food with a nice variety of choices like pizza, Greek, Mexican, organic and Thai. There will be coffee, lemonade, baked goods and ice cream. There will also be extremely likable libations with a mix of micro-brews and Mojitos. New this year will be wine from Vino Salida. The festival booth will be selling T-shirts, hats and mugs plus CDs from the performing artists.

Crestfest is very excited about the entertainment line-up this year. Each day will start off with the very best locals. Then on Friday night The Alcapones take the stage bringing their high energy Ska/Reggae dance grooves. This six-piece group features drums, bass, guitar, and three talented horn players who switch around between trumpet, trombone, saxophone and clarinet. Come get your dance on.

Saturday features comedy gypsy swing from Zoltan and the Fortune Tellers. Zoltan is an accomplished guitarist who plays in the style of Django Reinhardt. Listen, laugh and dance all at the same time.
Next is 2MX2 who are a positive message, bilingual hip-hop group that has performed six times so far in SLV schools. They are young, full of energy and even do some break dancing.

They will be followed by one of the hottest Latin/salsa fusion bands in Denver, Onda. This is a 9-piece full blast band featuring three horns, all kinds of percussion, beautiful female vocals, bass, guitar and keyboards.   

The Saturday headliner will feature full-fledged funk by Groovement. From Arkansas, this 6-piece funk-rock band is well traveled and tight. Front man, Alex Carr, was a 2011 American Idol contestant. He can croon it or slay it with the best of them. Groovement has a reputation for putting on one of the tightest, hottest, high-octane shows around. Come check them out and get sweaty.
For information and tickets go to or call 719-256-4533.

Covered Wagon Days in Del Norte

DEL NORTE — Enjoy a fun fill weekend in Del Norte for the annual celebration of Covered Wagon Days. Activities begin Thursday, August 3, and continue through Sunday, August 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 pm. Various merchants and individuals have donated food, services, supplies, and items for the auction.

Fred Hargrove and Oden Dean will be performing 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 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 8 a.m. 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 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 that 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 1800’s, 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 am.

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 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 Iron 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 court yard of the Museum at 580 Oak Street.

Kristi Mountain Sports will be hosting a Kid’s Bike Safety Rodeo at the beautiful location beginning at noon. For more information, call the store at 657-9902.

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. 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 on line at Line-up will be at 12:30. 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 Museum Director Louise Colville, “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. On line information and registration form can be found at 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 or watch for the insert in the newspaper. Come join the celebration and help “Preserve our Western Ways.”

Rhythms on the Rio in South Fork

SOUTH FORK — The Rhythms on the Rio will take place in South Fork on the banks of the Rio Grande August 4-6, featuring a weekend of fun, family and music!

The festival kicks off on Friday at 3:30 p.m. with the talented Charley Wheeler of Ghost Town Whistlers and wraps up Sunday at 7:15 p.m. with Shinyribs. Friday’s headliner is Elegant Survival, a collaboration featuring Bonnie Paine, Daniel Rodriguez and Darren Garvey of Elephant Revival and Jessie Dalton and Noah Jeffries of The Deer. Saturday’s headliner will be the Larry Keel Experience, featuring Jeremy Garrett and Andy Hall of the Infamous Stringdusters and Alwyn Robinson of Leftover Salmon.

There will be a live plein air art contest on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 11:30 a.m.-2.30: p.m. Artists who would like to participate will get a day pass, and if interested artists can have a vendor booth at the fest to sell their artwork. The artwork can be anything viewed from the festival grounds, and judging will take place immediately following. The winner will be announced at the fest, on the rhythms FaceBook page and will receive an all-weekend pass to the 2018 Rhythms on the Rio. Those interested in participating should contact [email protected].

Rhythms on the Rio is great for the whole family, with weekend passes just $60, and kids 15 and under free. There will be food vendors for everyone’s taste and plenty of beer and wine. Grab a friend, lawn chair and dancin’ legs. For more information, to see the rest of the lineup and to purchase tickets, go to

File photos by Keith R. Cerny