Cider Fixins sit in various states of production in Steamboat Springs on Thursday. Made from grapefruit, cinnamon, brown sugar and spices, they will be among many locally produced products available at the Hometown Holiday Local Products Gala this weekend.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Cider Fixins sit in various states of production in Steamboat Springs on Thursday. Made from grapefruit, cinnamon, brown sugar and spices, they will be among many locally produced products available at the Hometown Holiday Local Products Gala this weekend.

Holiday shopping gala set for this weekend in Steamboat

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— It started 35 years ago with cider beetles.

But Sandi Nelson knows beetles don’t go well in Steamboat Springs. That doesn’t mean her grapefruit, cinnamon, brown sugar and spice creations don’t have a place.

Upcoming holiday craft fairs

Nov. 16: The Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair at Yampa Valley Elementary School

Nov. 29 and 30: The Steamboat Clay Artisans Holiday Pottery Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Blue Sky Pottery.

The Hometown Holiday Local Products Gala provides one outlet for the Cider Fixins creations. The event features all local products from varying businesses across the Yampa Valley.

It begins at 5 p.m. Friday with an after-hours Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association Mixer that will be catered by Creekside Cafe with all local food products.

It continues with the gala from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Nelson and her daughter Heather Philmon spend most of the holiday months creating the grapefruit creations.

They clean out the rinds of grapefruits, dry them out and fill them with cinnamon, brown sugar, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. From there, they design them to look like moose, bears and reindeers. The grapefruits can be used to make hot, spicy cider or added to spice up any alcoholic drink.

Got a cheap or bad bottle of red wine? A Cider Fixins can do the trick.

“My friend did them 35 years ago,” Nelson said. “She did cider beetles. We don’t bring beetles to Steamboat. We retired the beetle.”

Although the business is more wholesale, selling 80,000 units last year and on pace to sell 100,000 this year, the two never miss the gala.

This year, more than 25 booths of local gifts will be available, including food, drinks, soaps, crafts, meat and clothing.

“We’ve done it every year because it’s such a good show,” Nelson said. “Plus we get to see all the local people.”

Put on by the Community Agriculture Alliance, the event offers residents a chance to get an early start on holiday shopping while buying all local items.

“We have a broader range of vendors,” said Michele Meyer, who is helping put on the event. “It’s all locally made creations grown here or somewhere locally. That’s what makes our event a little bit different. People are able to connect back to local food and products, and we can educate people why that’s important.”

The Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair also will take place Nov. 16 at Yampa Valley Elementary School, and the Steamboat Clay Artisans group will host the Holiday Pottery Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 and 30 at Blue Sky Pottery.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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