David Bonfiglio wants to unite the residents of South Routt County, even if it's just for one day of fun.
Bonfiglio is a member of the South Routt Economic Development Council, owner of Bonfiglio Drug and Soda Fountain in Oak Creek, and the organizer of the annual "The Taste of South Routt" festival.
He wants people from Oak Creek, Phippsburg, Yampa and Toponas to come together for the sixth annual event, which will be held from noon until 6 p.m. June 28 at Decker Park in Oak Creek. The event has drawn 600 to 700 people in previous years, but Bonfiglio expects even more to show up this year.
"It has grown each year, and it will probably keep growing," Bon-figlio said. "This a 'give-back' to the community, and most people take advantage of it. It's a fun day to spend with neighbors. We don't do enough of that anymore."
Bonfiglio says the event was also created to promote businesses -- and not just restaurants, despite the festival's name -- by giving them a chance to showcase their goods and services, with the goal of "getting locals to buy locally more often."
"If we as business owners can persuade one person to become a regular patron for the year, it's a success from a business point of view," Bonfiglio said.
Merchants and restaurants from all over South Routt County will be on hand to sell clothing, jewelry, toys, crafts, artwork and food. The "Humble Pickers" and various guest musicians will play at the park pavilion throughout the day, while children can enjoy snow cones and play games for prizes.
The Oak Creek Fire Protection District will be present with one of its trucks.
Plenty of games and prizes will be available for the older folks, too. Horse shoes, volleyball and even a dunk tank -- with Oak Creek Mayor Cargo Rodeman to be one of many in the hot seat -- are planned to entertain the older crowd.
All the proceeds from the dunk tank will benefit LIFT-UP of Routt County. The rest of the proceeds go to fund next year's festival.
A popular attraction from previous years, "The Beer Garden," provided by the Colorado Bar, will be back this year. Last year, beer drinkers had to stay near the garden because of open container laws. This year, the festival area will be fenced off so beer enthusiasts can roam the grounds as they choose.
Also, for anyone wanting to brush up on their local history, Paul Bonnifield of the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg will be giving guided tours of the area mines and downtown Oak Creek.
Dave Moran, stage organizer for The Taste of South Routt, said the event is special because it has an old-fashioned, neighborly feel.
"It has a nice feeling to it," Moran said. "The little towns of South Routt still have a close community feel, and we're proud of it. This thing may not seem like a big deal to some, but it's a big deal to us."
The event is sponsored by the South Routt Economic Development Council, the town of Oak Creek, KBCR Big Country Radio, Soroco schools and various South Routt merchants: The Colorado Bar, Montgomery's General Merchandise, Chelsea's, Toponas Country General Store, Taylor-Made Dinty Moore's Pizza, Pisa's Pizza and Pasta, Bonfiglio Drug and Select Super grocery store.
Many of the restaurants participating will have samples of their most popular dishes for people to try. Also, KBCR will have a live radio remote on site.
It will cost $1 for adults; children get in free.
"For $10 or less, you can get in, buy a couple of beers, eat and see live music," Bonfiglio said. "For $10, you can have a heck of a good day."
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