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A Guide to Fall Recreation in the San Luis Valley Valley Publishing, Inc.


Photo by John McEvoy

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Autumn 2016

Monte Vista Potato Festival will feature Hooks BY ANTHONY GUERRERO

MONTE VISTA— The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (CPAC) is gearing up for the 2016 San Luis Valley Potato Festival in Monte Vista. The festival is an opportunity for farmers, workers and community members to celebrate the harvest. Since the potato crop has done well with the increased moisture this year, the 2016 celebration should be a lively event. This year’s festival will take place on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. For the past several years the Potato Festival has held a free concert at Chapman Park on Friday evening. This year will continue the tradition and will feature Arch Hooks. He is returning to the potato festival by popular demand. Hooks is a multifaceted performer who has performed for 5 million people worldwide. Playing the piano since the age of four Hooks is considered a prodigy. Hooks’ performances are an incredible musical journey and he has the unique ability to connect with each member of the audience. Known for performing with dark prescription sunglasses because he likes to play piano in the dark, Hooks has released three original music CDs. They have all been met with great critical reception and the admiration of audiences and fans. The concert begins at 5 p.m. and is surely not one to be missed. During the concert this year a special menu featuring Colorado potatoes will be served and prepared by SpudNation from Denver. According to their website the “soul behind SpudNation is that of freedom and innovationthe freedom to go beyond and do what has never been done before without fear. SpudNation inspires others to embrace the ability to enjoy potatoes through innovative recipes and uses. SpudNation is about the community-farmers, customers, employees and beyond.” After the Friday evening concert the activities will continue on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at Chapman Park. The morning will begin with the opportunity for anyone interested to participate in a 5K race. This is not a typical 5K race however. Hosted by the Monte Vista

Recreation Department it is filled with potato obstacles such as a potato sock hop. It is sure to be a truly enjoyable and unique racing experience. Throughout the day there will be food, crafts, music, tours, a kid’s carnival, live musical performances and free baked potatoes. Saturday musical entertainment will be provided by San Luis Valley based band Two Weeks in Figi. The popular professional chef cook off and demo will be held on Saturday afternoon. This event brings student and professional chefs from the American Culinary Association to the San Luis Valley. This is usually a crowd favorite at the San Luis Valley Potato Festival. Attendees also have the opportunity to try several different potato recipes. There is a tour through downtown Monte Vista with several different dishes available for tasting by visiting different Monte Vista merchants. Additional events for fun include the hilarious mashed potato dunk tank which in year’s past has afforded residents the opportunity to dunk local leaders such as members of the police department, city council and the mayor. There are also several activities geared towards children such as the potato decorating contest and potato sack race. Most activities at the Potato Festival are free. An event which should not be missed is the potato field bus tour. This tour is an exciting educational experience into the potato fields of the San Luis Valley. Participants will gain knowledge of the process of growing and producing potato crop. In year’s past this tour has included stops to the Colorado State University Research Extension Center and Martinez Farms. It is an opportunity learn about new varieties of potatoes, disease control, insect control, water consumption and other elements which are involved in the grow process. Tour participants may also get to see machinery used in the production and transporting of potatoes in live action. The San Luis Valley Potato Festival is a tradition deeply related to the culture of the area. Celebrating harvest and agriculture it is one of the best events to appreciate the hard work of local farmers, workers and to honor their contribution to the Valley’s way of life.

Photo by Anthony Guerrero

A professional chef cook off and demo will once again be held on Saturday afternoon. This event brings student and professional chefs from the American Culinary Association to the San Luis Valley.

Photo courtesy of CPAC

Ready, aim… fire! The potato gun target shoot is one of the more popular festival events and will take place during the day on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Colorado Potatoes partners with railroad for potato festival MONTE VISTA— This year’s San Luis Valley Potato Festival goers will have the opportunity to learn about Colorado potatoes in a whole new way. For the first time ever, Colorado Potatoes is partnering with the San Luis Central Railroad and the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad for the 2016 Potato Festival. The San Luis Central Railroad will be offering train rides during the potato festival on Sept. 10; participants can ride the train from Fullenwider Park past various potato fields and a potato packing shed around Monte Vista. The ride will take approximately one hour and is completely free. Trains will depart from Fullenwider Park at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Please note that this is a separate location from the potato festival, which is being held at Chapman Park. However, there will be horse-drawn buggies going from Chapman Park to downtown Monte Vista all day long that can drop passengers off at the train site. This will not be a typical train ridepassengers of this train are in for a big treat. Thomas Tancula of the San Luis Central Railroad will provide thrilling narration during the journey and walk passengers through the history of the surrounding area. He will tell all about the long and rich history between the railroad and

agricultural industry in the San Luis Valley. For instance, while the San Luis Central Railroad may transport many Colorado potatoes today, it was founded in 1913 to haul sugar beets. Spots on the train are limited, but those wishing to reserve a spot can contact Colorado Potatoes at 852-3322 or email info@ There is another exciting opportunity available at the potato festival to those who want to learn more about the potato industry. AgriTravels will be conducting a bus tour departing from Chapman Park in Monte Vista at 8 a.m. and returning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. Hosted by the executive director of Colorado Potatoes, Jim Ehrlich, this tour will visit a local grower’s field as well as the San Luis Valley Research Center where research on potatoes, including breeding, pathology and crop management, is conducted. Passengers will get to talk directly with growers and researchers and get to see firsthand how potatoes are grown in the San Luis Valley. This tour is free of charge as well,

but spots are limited. Those interested should contact Colorado Potatoes to reserve a space. After the tour, passengers stay for the 2016 San Luis Valley Potato Festival at Chapman Park in Monte Vista and all the other fun activities it has to offer. On Friday, Sept. 9 there will be a free concert by Arch Hooks with food from the Spud Nation food truck. Then on Saturday, Sept. 10, there will be a kids’ carnival, food and craft vendors, live music from “2 Weeks in Fiji,” professional chef demonstrations and more.

Celebrate conservation at the Headwaters Hoedown

SAGUACHE COUNTY—Get your dancing shoes ready for the conservation celebration of the year! The community is invited to the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust’s Sixth Annual Headwaters Hoedown on Sunday, Sept. 18 from noon to 4 p.m. This year the hoedown will be at a new location, the beautiful La Garita Creek Ranch in Saguache County. Locally known as the “Balloon Ranch,” this lovely location features spectacular views across the Valley, a beautiful meadow and grove of cottonwoods along the creek and fascinating rock formations and archaeology. The event will celebrate the many landowners and partners who help RiGHT conserve the Valley’s “land, water and way of life.” The afternoon will feature a local-food barbecue, fine wine and beer and live music by favorites Don Richmond & the Rifters. There will be a walking archaeology tour, a fabulous silent auction and lots of space for the children to run around -- so bring the whole family! For information and to purchase tickets at the early bird price of $30 before Sept. 12 (children are free!), visit RiGHT’s website at www.riograndelandtrust.ogr or call the Del Norte office at 719-657-0800.

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Fall fishing in the San Luis Valley BY TERESA BENNS

SAN LUIS VALLEY — That crisp and colorful time of year to take advantage of trout and other fish species fattening up for winter is just around the corner, so set out the poles and tackle boxes and get ready to head out. There’s great fall fishing at any one of the many locations below with great trout, salmon and German browns just waiting to take a bite. Anglers look forward all summer to the cool water temperatures of fall, when fish, invigorated by the cooler water temperatures are most likely to be biting any time they want to set down a line. For bait, try BWOs, tricos, midges, a few caddis flies and nymphs for those big ones feeding far below. With the monsoons nearly past, water levels will lower some and the temperatures will bring out the frisky in the fish. That’s when to head for any number of lakes and streams in the Valley and the list is nearly endless. Some 13 lakes and reservoirs are only 20 minutes from the town of South Fork. Among these are: • Million Reservoir — four acres of water, 8,700 feet elev., rainbow, great sightseeing; • Big Meadows, — 114 acres of water, 9,200 feet elev., rainbow, brook trout, salmon, German browns, great for kids and seniors, handicap access; • Beaver Creek Reservoir — 114 acres of water, same 8,850 elev., same amenities as Big Meadows; • Shaw Lake — 20 acres, 9,850 feet elev., great trolling for cutthroats and brookies, handicap access, boat ramp and restrooms; • Alberta Park Reservoir — Elevation 10,202, forest and meadows, large trout and brooks; • Hunters Lake — Eight acres of water, 11,400

elev., fly-fishing good for rainbows, one-half hour hike from car; • Tucker Ponds — Four acres of water, 9,700 elev., rainbows, great for kids and novices, camping, picnicking, restrooms, handicap access; • Pass Creek Pond — Good for bait and fly fishing, rainbows, limited parking; • Three high mountain lakes — Archuleta, Crystal and Crater — are all between 11,300 and 12,700 elevation. Archuleta and Crystal require a four-wheel drive vehicle or involve a difficult hike. • Rio Grande Reservoir – 9,541 ft., 2,000a. Rocky and steep shoreline; rainbows and browns with some cutthroats. • Road Canyon Reservoir – 9,725 ft. 100a. Bordered by grass and conifer/aspen forests. 1-3 lb. rainbows, 10-15 inch brooks. (Winter access by car.) • Brown Lakes – 9,840 ft., 180a Grassy meadow area surrounding pine and aspen forest. Rainbows and cutthroats, 1-4 lb. browns and 10-16 inch brooks. Occasional winterkill; best fishing early summer. • Rito Hondo Reservoir – 10,240 ft., 40a. Aspen groves and meadows, 1-3 lb. Stocked rainbows: 10-14 inch wild brook trout. • Spring Creek – Good fly fishing for 8-12 inch brooks in upper end. (Car/RV access with walk-in fishing.) • North Clear Creek – 10-14” rainbows and cutthroats, and 8-12” brooks. (Car/RV access with walk-in fishing.) Seepage Lake – 9,019 ft. 20a., fair for 1-6 lb. cutthroats and rainbows and 12-24 inch brooks. • Continental Reservoir – 10,300 ft. 150a., stocked rainbow, cutthroat and brook,

Photo courtesy of Michael Seraphin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife

A belly boat fisherman trolls for a catch in a Colorado lake. And don’t (overnight camping prohibited). forget the flies, especially the mayfly and the The Conejos River also is excellent for wild elk hair caddis fly, for those into fly fishing. browns and rainbows. Best fishing is in June Other suggested choices can be found on the or July. Sanchez Reservoir and San Luis Lakes website above. experienced extremely low water levels in 2013. Other fishing destinations include Taos, Call 719-587-6900 before visiting. For a more northern New Mexico and the Great Sand comprehensive list of fishing spots, visit http:// Dunes National Park. Anglers also fish in the Monte Vista Trophy Local hardware stores sell fishing licenses, Ponds, San Luis Creek near Poncha Pass, the which must be purchased by those 16 and over. Rio de Los Pinos and the Conejos River and Or purchase a license online at http://cpw.state. other locations in the San Juan Mountains.

Fall approaches, Colorfest is set BY LYNDSIE FERRELL SOUTH FORK— Residents and business owners in the area around South Fork have all agreed; this was one of the best years the town has seen since 2010. The number of people traveling to the area has tripled over the last six years and hopes are high that the trend will continue. Mark Teders at the visitor center has recorded a staggering 6,798 people that have gone through the center in July alone. This number is astounding compared to the less than 3,000 people recorded in July of 2010. Town officials have worked very hard over the last year, marketing the outdoor recreation possibilities in the area and have focused their sights on the coming Colorfest. As the bright vivid colors of summer fade into the soft sighing colors of fall, visitors of Colorado hit the road in search of the beautiful landscapes offered

by luscious forests all over the state. The town of South Fork offers a selection of roads that can lead the avid fall color seekers to grand places in order to enjoy the fall leaves. South Fork Visitor Center has decided to guide guests to some of the area’s most beautiful landscapes in order to enjoy the cool days and fresh mountain air while seeing Mother Nature’s ode to summer. The center will again provide a pamphlet featuring four vehicle tours for those who wish to get the full experience of a Colorado fall. Precipitation levels are at an all-time high and the area will be plentiful in fall colors in the next few weeks. Aspen trees become fall rainbows of yellow, orange and fire red as the leaves die and fall to the ground. People flock from all over the U.S. to see this spectacular show. Whether they choose to experience it by car, strap

on the hiking boots or hop on the ATVs, everyone is encouraged to enjoy this last bit of snowless days before winter sets in. Taking a drive up to Lake Platoro offers a wide variety of activities while out to enjoy the trees. There are late season campgrounds that remain open for offseason campers. There is also lake, pond, and river fishing available to those who wish to dive onto the area’s fishing opportunities while out taking in the scenery. The lake is nestled in the backcountry off of Forest Road 520. Another tour being promoted by the center is the journey on the Silver Thread Highway that takes visitors from the quaint town of South Fork to Lake City. Along the way the scenic highway brings guests to several area attractions such as the historic town of Creede and the site of the notorious Alferd Packer campsite. Packer was a prospector, who

with his crew, was stranded during the winter in 1873. Packer reportedly used cannibalistic means to survive the winter and was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The highway is home to several historical locations and a bountiful forest in which to enjoy the coming fall. Beaver Creek road is next on the list of places to visit. High up in the Rio Grande National Forest the road weaves its way through rich forests of Aspen and pine. The colors will be a site to behold for those who choose to take this route. Though the reservoir is currently drained in order to rehabilitate the dam, there are still several camping and hiking opportunities for anyone who ventures in this direction. For more information or to get a copy of suggested travel routes, contact Mark Teders at 873-5512 or simply stop in!

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Colorful Colorado offers a spectacular show BY A NTHONY GUERRERO

COLORADO— Every year in colorful Colorado aspen trees shed their leaves. Before the leaves fall to the ground they put on a spectacular show. The green leaves change into different colors ranging from red to orange, yellow and even purple. This amazing event only happens once a year and typically only lasts a few weeks. It draws tourists from all over the country who love to drive through the mountains or walk on trails shaded with color. The 2016 fall foliage should definitely be as breathtaking as ever. The aspens will likely put on one of the most colorful and memorable shows possible. Although the aspens are the main act, other trees join the performance and produce shimmering leaves colored yellow, orange and red. This special time in the state is a reminder of why it is nicknamed “Colorful Colorado.” The best time to witness the fall colors in Colorado is generally in the month of September. The peak viewing time usually occurs during the third or fourth week of the month and can run through the middle of October. If an unexpected cold front or high winds occur during this time frame the trees may peak earlier. It is important to time travel as close to these peak times as possible as the colors only last about a week in most places. Travel should be scheduled during the range of expected peak times but it is advised to keep away from a specific concrete date. Calling for conditions from local tourist information centers and the National Forest Service is helpful. For those who wish to see the changing colors with their own eyes, there are several popular destinations in Colorado’s mountains that offer spectacular viewing and opportunities for photographs. The best strategy to find the changing colors is to be prepared during peak times but not have a certain destination in mind. Simply, follow the colors instead. Some of the best drives to find vibrant fall foliage are as follows: In the San Luis Valley the west side of the Valley often offers breathtaking scenery simply by being in the right places. Del Norte, South Fork and Creede are all close enough to the mountains to have colors right in the middle of the towns at their parks and trails. Driving down the main roads and highways also offers abundant viewing opportunity. For southwest Colorado some places with amazing view are Dallas Divide and Lizard Head Pass as well as Kebler Pass. For northwest Colorado some scenic routes are the Maroon Bells Mountains which are situated southwest of the town of Aspen. These mountains are some of the most photographed in North America. Another favorite route is the drive between Grand Junction and Grand Mesa. This route boasts a scene of changing aspens and riverside cottonwoods. For south central Colorado some destinations include Cottonwood Pass and Colorado Highway 17 which stretches from Antonito to the New Mexico border. Cottonwood pass has one of Colorado’s most aspen-laden valleys. On Colorado Highway 17 travelers will have the opportunity to view some of the oldest and tallest aspen trees in the state of Colorado. For the Front Range some popular drives are the Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway and the Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway. Aspens are known to be visible in surprising places along the beautiful Peak to Peak route. Guanella Pass has pockets of aspen and some can be seen along the slopes. For southeast Colorado some memorable visits can be found on the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway and the Highway of Legends Scenic and Historic Byway. The

Photo by Teresa Benns

Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell

Fall is just around the corner, and the Valley will once again offer an array of beautiful colors. Frontier Pathways has amazing views of cottonwood and scrub oak turning brilliant colors beneath rugged rock formations. The Highway of Legends goes beneath ancient

volcanic walls that rise over pine, scrub oak For more information on the fall colors and aspen. The Highway of Legends is an and peaking times, please call the US Forest excellent destination for those wishing to Service at 1-800-354-4595 or visit their develop impressive photography. website

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Labor Day festivities floating into Creede BY LYNDSIE FERRELL

CREEDE— It’s that time of year again where the aspen trees begin to change; the air turns brisk, and fall can be felt tugging at the edges of summer, willing it to fade away. Creede knows how to go out flying and invites everyone to come up and enjoy the last few days of summer. Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-5, brings events ranging from a balloon festival in the early mornings to an ATV rodeo and much more in between. Creede is known for their upbeat and laid back festivities and for knowing how to have a good time in celebration of another year gone by. Beginning early Friday morning residents and visitors are greeted with colorful hot air balloons filling the air south of town, near the airport. The view is no less than spectacular against the high ragged caldera cliffs surrounding the town of Creede and is a sight not to be missed. The balloons will be in the sky every day throughout the Labor Day weekend, with their annual Balloon Glow at 7 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. The 29th Annual Creede Mountain Run starts Saturday morning in downtown Creede. Runners with endurance levels of all types can choose to run a two, 12 or 22-mile race through Creede’s historical mining district. Runners can register online for this event by going to or on the day of the race by 8:45 a.m. People who The Balloon Festival will kick off the Creede Labor Day weekend fun on Friday morning. wish to experience the race without participating can watch the event from the sidelines beginning at 9 a.m. Last year there were over 170 participants lining Main Street to begin the day’s journey. The annual Salsa Fiesta kicks into high gear mid-day Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local businesses and residents break out their special recipes to compete to be awarded the best salsa in town. Salsa categories range from green to red, fruit to savory and the creations will please the taste buds of those who participate. CREEDE—PreLast season, Kip’s Grill featured several salsas for guests and came away with the winning fruit registration for the salsa for the fiesta. The winning salsa comprised Cruisin’ the Canyon Car of pineapple and different types of peppers that Show begins on Friday, not only rocked the taste testers, but took the Sept. 16 with a social winning spot in the fruit category.Arp’s Restaurant hour, and the car show walked away with the winning salsa in the green will be held on Saturday, category and the Creede Olive Oil Company won Sept. 17. Vintage cars, the freestyle category with a unique strawberry trucks and motorcycles salsa. The reigning salsa winner receives bragging will be on display in rights for the next year until a new winner emerges. downtown Creede. The Sunday morning will awake to find eager show ends with a rod run participants of this year’s Gravity Derby. Main Street will be cleared of vendors and persons to and a fly-in breakfast on allow the racers to fly down the street. Only three Sunday, Sept. 18. rules apply in this race. Carts can only steer, brake and stop to qualify for the race. No motors or pedal power will propel the racers down Main Street; The sun sparkled gravity will take the winner straight to the finish off of more than 80 line without any help. cars in last year’s After a fun filled weekend, visitors of Creede show, some of which can venture down to the rodeo grounds for a were packed full of relaxing day watching the one-of-a-kind ATV surprises. This old rodeo.All types of off road vehicles compete in the school police car rodeo with operators from all levels of experience. sprayed passersby The rodeo has become an area favorite with several with a sprinkle of categories to compete in including the power puff water from a piglet division which is an all-girl category for all the lovely ladies in town. Registration begins at 10 hood ornament. a.m., and the rodeo starts at noon. Kids could be seen For more information or to purchase tickets for sneaking by with the annual Salsa Fiesta, please contact BradAyers at gales of laughter and the Creede/Mineral County Chamber of Commerce delight. at 658-2374 or tickets can also be purchased online at Tickets for the fiesta are Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell limited, so be sure to pick them up today.

Photo by Mike Warrick

‘Cruisin’ the Canyon’ through Creede September 16-18

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Autumn 2016

Courtesy photo

A boy plans a pony ride. This experience will be part of Antonito’s festival Saturday, Sept. 3.

Antonito Labor Day events set

Photo by Teresa L. Benns

A handsome quilt was on display at the Saguache Community Building during last year’s Fall Festival.

Celebrate fall in Saguache SAGUACHE—The Annual Saguache Fall Festival and Quilt Show will take place on Sept. 17 at Otto Mears Park and the Saguache Community Building. Breakfast will be served by the Saguache County Museum starting at 7 am—hot cakes and sausage for $5, includes a beverage. Participate in the Fall Colors Run/Walk; registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with run/ walk starting at 8 a.m. Live music will be performed throughout the day to keep folks entertained. Listen to Seat of the Pants String Band, Daniel Peden on bagpipes, Mike Brill & Ed Johnson, Cheap Therapy and closing with Kicker. Stir up an appetite with a performance by Crestone Love TribeAfrican tribal dancers. The Salida Circus will be in the park starting at noon. The Pitkin Avenue Baptist Church hosts fun activities for children, including a bounce house and

free treats. Sample green chilies roasting in the park; then stay for the winners to be announced at 3:30 p.m., as well as the quilt drawing and silent auction. The Saguache Sagebrush Quilters will be featured at the community building along with other vendors. Outside in Otto Mears Park starting at 9 a.m. there will be a variety of vendors—food booths, jewelry and artisans displaying everything from handcrafted items to artworks. The event is hosted by the Saguache Chamber of Commerce and is the primary fundraiser for the chamber to support community activities. Otto Mears Park is located on the east side of US 285 between Pitkin and Christy (1st and 2nd streets on the right when traveling north on U.S. Highway 285 through Saguache or the last two streets on the left when traveling south on U.S. Highway 285).

ANTONITO —Come join the fun at the Antonito Labor Day Festival, Saturday, Sept. 3 in Antonito. Events will include a free pancake breakfast, parade, baseball tournaments, Colonial Spanish dancing demonstration, pony rides, street dance featuring Indian Nickel, Pokemon lures and more. Visit the historic SPMDTU Concilio #1 building and the old depot and have lunch at one of our fine restaurants. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. and the parade at 10 a.m. For many years, Maria Trujillo Schmitz was a driving force behind the annual Labor Day softball tournament in Antonito; this year, proceeds will go to a scholarship in her honor. The tournament will be Sept. 3 and 4 at the baseball fields, with men’s and co-ed divisions playing under ASA modified rules with unlimited home runs. A home run derby is planned Saturday. With big shoes to fill, husband Leo and son Christopher are putting the event together this year. Maria died April 22, and the scholarship was established at that time. An account has been set up at Guadalupe Parish Credit Union in Antonito. Leo is proud of his wife’s love for the game, as an organizer as well as a player. Christopher and wife Sarah also play. So far, eight men’s teams and four or five co-ed team are entered, Leo reports. The tourney draws up to 20 teams from New Mexico and Colorado and is a good time for all, with prizes for the top three teams in each division. Leo explains that the Maria Schmitz scholarships will go to students who wish

Maria Schmitz to attend college. Cost is $225 per team, but if one organization wants to sponsor two teams, the cost is $150 for the second. For information or to register a team, phone Christopher at 580-8325 or Leo at 580-4258. Maria graduated from Antonito High School and then attended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kans., where she studied sociology, psychology and theology, but finished her degrees at Adams State University. She met the love of her life, Leo Schmitz, at Benedictine College; they were married in August 1973. For more information on other Labor Days events, visit the Antonito Resident Team page on Facebook or contact Miranda Sandoval at 580-1723.

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San Luis Valley farmers markets in top form BY LYNDSIE FERRELL SAN LUIS VALLEY— Summer is almost over and farmer markets from Creede to Alamosa are filling up with this year’s fresh produce, local vendors and homemade wares, sure to capture the attention of wandering guests. Markets help support local artisans and farmers throughout the Valley, as well as bring guests to the area to enjoy the plentiful bounty during harvest season. Produce is in top form this year, as high precipitation rocked the Valley ever since early spring. With fall quickly approaching, produce from all over the Valley is beginning to ripen and fill local markets. Residents are flocking to get a chance to taste the fruits of labor provided by many vendors. Local and regional vendors are filling their baskets and bringing freshly grown produce to share with eager shoppers. From fresh grown lettuce to recently plucked potatoes and carrots, the Valley’s markets are sure to quench any appetite. Not only will the produce be in top form but the area’s markets are rich in cultural diversity and unique flare with homemade gifts and crafts, as well as baked goods from local bakeries. Fridays at the South Fork Visitor Center, a local artesian and produce market takes place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The market is an area favorite that showcases local and visiting vendors, homemade ice cream, roasted green chilies and much more. Recently, the market has grown to include several local produce vendors with all the seasonal veggies and fruits from around the area. Also in South Fork, is a Saturday/Sunday market, running from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The South Fork Farmers Market, like so many others Valley-wide, has steadily grown little by little each week. The market began in mid-June and will continue for the next three weeks. The last market will be held on Sunday, Sept. 4 during the Labor Day weekend. Market Director Karen Miller is already in the process of planning next year’s market and hopes to host a multi-day event. The market is host to produce vendors, craft vendors, a dog adoption booth and much more. Miller is excited to see new vendors come in every week, bringing a wide variety of booths for shoppers to enjoy. The market also includes musical entertainment and fundraising events in front of Outdoor Depot on Colorado Highway 160. For more information or to sign up for next year’s event, contact Miller at mkmillermink@ or by phone at 873-5466 Miller has also been working to create a market for the Creede area which is now located in the Days of 92’mining arena located behind Basham Park. Miller and market coordinator Ed Vita have been working with town officials to secure the new location in order to make the market more accessible to the public. The market will run through Labor Day and may return to the same location next season, pending further discussion with town officials. Monte Vista has had a great season so far

Photo by Keith Cerny

Telinde’s family booth of fruits and vegetables has been a regular favorite at Alamosa’s Farmers’ Market. Owner Kent “Tater”Telinde, a native of Monte Vista, has been catering to customer’s fresh needs now from Delta for 42 years and has more than 600,000 miles on his truck that pulls the trailer. with the market located on Highway 160 near the Carnegie Library. Anyone traveling through town on Friday cannot miss the large number of booths set up on the south side of the road. Food vendors offering organic delectable treats, Hatch chilies that are roasted on site and even cantaloupe from Rocky Ford make this market one not to be missed. The market runs every Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of August. Make sure to swing in and catch it before it’s gone. The Alamosa market is packed full of wonderful things to see, produce to purchase, gifts to enjoy and activities to keep the whole family entertained while visiting. The market has everything from cooking demos and children activities to cultural events and live music that is sure to keep the lazy Saturday blues at bay. Set up in downtown Alamosa, the market is also surrounded by local shops and restaurants that are all within walking distance. The market run every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will continue until early October. The year has been successful for so many of the area’s growers. The Valley depends on the agricultural stability in order to survive. Shopping locally in area markets not only brings a feeling of nostalgic pleasure, but also helps keep money local. For more information or a list of markets nearby, visit

Photo by Jennifer Alonzo

The Monte Vista Farmers Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, goat milk products, homegrown meats, jewelry, wafels, cheesecakes and much more.

Photo by David Gilbert

The Early Iron Festival brings more than 600 vintage cars to Cole Park.

36th Annual Early Iron Festival coming soon ALAMOSA— The Early Iron Festival is a HUGE small town car show featuring vintage hot rods and custom cars driven to the Valley from all over the country. This is one of the largest car shows in southern Colorado and cannot be missed. Held in Cole Park, downtown Alamosa, Colorado, the festival brings in 600+ customs, vintage dragsters, pinstripers and thousands of spectators. On-site registration will be held from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept 2. A sponsor, rodder, pinstriper party will be held in Cole Park, food and beverages provided by the Early Iron Club, from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

The park opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Show and Shine will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with winners announced from 3-4 p.m. The Panel Jam Auction will be held from 1-2 pm., and a Ladies Tea and Vintage Fashion Show will be held from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Dinner will be from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus with door prize drawings, rodders’ choice and ladies’ choice awards presented. The day will close with a slow cruise through downtown Alamosa at 8:30 p.m. Sunday will include a rodder church service at 9 a.m. followed by the poker run at 10 a.m. For more information, visit

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Autumn on The Rio Grande

Autumn 2016

Check out the fall colors aboard one of the Valley’s trains SAN LUIS VALLEY— Find fabulous fall adventure on the San Luis Valley’s two scenic trains, which also offer a glimpse into days gone by when riding the rails was the way to go. Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Built in 1880, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a proud remnant of the spirit that won the west. It’s path through steep passes and deep gorges is the stuff of adventure novels--taking passengers on the ride of lifetime. C&TS offers daily round-trip train excursions by steam engine. All train excursions are narrated by passionate volunteers who describe our unique history, scenery and machinery. In July the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad was announced as the winner in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers from around the country were invited to vote. Colorado secured the top two spots, with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad placing second. “Thank you, America, for voting the Cumbres & Toltec the nation’s #1 best train ride,” said Lee Bates, marketing director of the Cumbres & Toltec. Jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico, the National Historic Landmark travels between Antonito and Chama, N.M daily from May to October. It crisscrosses the border 11 times, snaking its way through some of the most scenic and remote landscapes, past tens of thousands of aspen trees, climbing from 7,888 feet in Antonito to the top of scenic Cumbres Pass at 10,015 feet, The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has appeared in almost two dozen Hollywood films, including “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid,” “Indiana Jones,” “The Shootout” starring Gregory Peck, “Wyatt Earp” with Kevin Costner, “Missouri Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Breaks” with Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, and “Bite the Bullet” with Gene Hackman and James Colburn and most recently “AMillion Ways to Die in the West” with Seth McFarland. The 2016 fall season runs from Sept. 6-Oct. 23 from Antonito. Rides include Antonito to Chama by motor coach; return by train, 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Antonito to Chama by train, return by motor coach, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.;Antonito to Osier by train, return by train, 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Call 888-286-2737 for more information. Rio Grande Scenic Railroad Leaving the historic depot at Alamosa, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad travels on tracks over historic La Veta Pass that date to 1878, but had been closed to the public in the 1950s and only used for freight. It was opened for passenger travel in 2006 to share spectacular scenery scenery that spectacular on rails that curve and wind through steep rocky grade, alongside mountain meadows with elk, eagles and bears. Weekday excursion rides in first class include access to the entire train including the dome car and club car lounge and bar, as well as the open-air car. Excursion trains operate on select weekdays all summer long. These all-day trips are slated at the end of August and Sept. 8 and 9. Trains depart at 9:30 a.m. and return at 5:30 p.m. From Sept. 17-Oct. 16, the “Fall Color Explorer Fall in Colorado” brings the rich golden tones of the aspen leaves contrasted against green pines, rugged rocks and wide open blue skies. Guests will begin their journey with appetizers served in a historically restored club car with full service bar. For information and tickets, call 877-726-7245. Rio Grande Scenic Railroad USA Today named this a “Top Ten Ride.”

Courtesy Photos

Autumn on the Rio Grande 2016  

A guide to fall recreation in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado

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