Oak Creek Community spirit ran high Saturday at the 10th annual Taste of South Routt festival at Decker Park in Oak Creek on Saturday.
"I've just been looking for a beautiful, small town my whole life," said Doug Diamond, co-owner of Black Mountain Tavern in Oak Creek. "I feel like I've come home."
The tavern had a booth set up at the festival where Diamond and employees sold foods such as barbecue, conies and corn on the cob. At a picnic table near the stage where four musical acts entertained the festival's crowd, Steve and Judy Bundren enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches and corn from Diamond's booth.
The Bundrens, who are from St. Louis, are vacationing in Steamboat Springs. They stopped at the festival in Oak Creek before checking into their hotel.
"It's not only fun for locals, but lets us be a part of the community," Judy Bundren said.
The Bundrens were visiting Taste of South Routt for the second time, having discovered it for the first time on a vacation two years ago.
"We're beasts of habit," Judy Bundren said. "If we ever find something we like, we try to do it again."
The couple said they planned to stay at the festival a few hours to hear some of the musical performers. They enjoyed the Yampa Valley Boys two years ago and bought their album.
"We get to dreaming about Colorado when we put that on," Judy Bundren said.
David Bonfiglio, a festival coordinator and Oak Creek business owner, said it's not uncommon for the festival to have visitors from far away like the Bundrens, but said the event is "90 percent local." Bonfiglio said he hoped the event would be as successful as last year, when about 700 people attended.
"If you consider that Oak Creek has 800 people, it's a huge event," Bonfiglio said.
Karen Tussey, secretary for the South Routt Economic Development Council, said Taste of South Routt is the council's biggest fundraiser.
"People look forward to it," Tussey said. "At the end of today, they'll be looking forward to next year. I think it's because it's a gathering of the local artisans and residents to come together and play for a day and share."
Tussey said the event will help fund a business directory of South Routt merchants and a $500 scholarship for a Soroco High School senior who wants to be an entrepreneur and return to the valley, among other things.
In addition to food and music, Taste of South Routt featured a beer garden, a dunking booth, a horseshoes tournament, miniature horses and business booths.
Diamond said the motivation is not to make money, but to support the community and let people know what is available in South Routt.
"If we were doing it for the money, I wouldn't even set up," Diamond said. "It's all about the fun."
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