Major Events in the North Fork Valley
Since 2004 the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials has brought Hotchkiss to life over Mother’s Day weekend. Hotchkiss’ biggest annual event, the
stock dog trials are a sport consisting of highly trained dogs (mostly border collies) paired with a human handler who, solely by voice, whistle and hand signals, guides the dog in herding a small band of sheep through a series of gates and finally into a pen. This is a low key event and worth settling in to really get a feel for the skill involved.
For more information about the Trials, click here
. On the Saturday of the Dog Trials weekend, the Ute Trails Car Club puts on an impressive show of classic cars. The event is held in Zack’s Park behind Zack’s BBQ. Lunch is available and a free shuttle takes attendees between the car show and the dog trials.
Since the early 1980’s, Crawford has celebrated it’s Pioneer history during Pioneer Days in early/mid-June. The charm of Pioneer Days is that it is principally an event by locals for locals. The event is absolutely authentic with no pretense or ambition beyond celebrating everything local and honoring tradition. The days leading up to the more heavily attended weekend events, feature a silent auction, community dinner and often a locally produced melodrama. Weekend activities begin with a pancake breakfast at the town park followed by a respectable parade Saturday morning at 10am. As the parade winds down, folks flock to the town park to enjoy food and craft booths and most of all the chance to socialize with neighbors while listening to good live music. Saturday’s finale is grand indeed – fireworks over Crawford State Park reservoir! The location could not be better for a fireworks display and the Crawford fire department could not put on a more impressive display! Click here for the details
Paonia has celebrated Cherry Days for over 75 years, making this the longest continuously running event in Delta County (besides the county fair). Cherry Days includes a parade downtown leading to the park, plentiful food and craft vendors, a small carnival and plenty of live music and other entertainment over the span of three days. This is a “bring the folding chair and the family” community celebration… and at the perfect time to enjoy the bounty of Paonia’s annual cherry harvest! Click here for details.
Pickin’ in the Park – Thursday evenings in August at Paonia Town Park
Pickin’ in the Park has been bringing FREE live music concerts, by national touring acts, to the Paonia town park, every Thursday evening in August, since 2008. This is the sort of community event that brings throngs of locals out to enjoy good food, local wines and beer all while chilling in a folding chair while the kids run roughshod over the adjacent playground. Dancing is not mandatory but hard to resist. Musical acts span the spectrum of genres from reggae and ska to rock and country. Bluegrass and Americana artists are a favorite mainstay. For a schedule of events, click here.
The fairgrounds park in Hotchkiss has hosted the Delta County Fair for over 100 years, and like many rural counties, the fair is a major event for families. 4H kids show the animals they have raised all year, arts and crafts are displayed, and major attractions are held every evening all week long. Fair food is abundant and good natured socializing is at the top of the agenda for many. For details on the Delta County fair, click here.
In 2002 the North Fork Valley finally got a home-grown harvest festival. It is ironic that it took 120 years of agricultural activity in the Valley to finally spawn a harvest festival, but it is a great festival – and that’s because there is so much great harvest to celebrate! The festival lasts for four days on the last full weekend of September and includes lots of local food, a farmers market, a chili cookoff, vendor booths and plenty of free music and other entertainment in the park. The festivities spill out of the park with agriculturally-themed activities (hayrides, farm tours, wine tastings, farm dinners), as well as live music at several venues downtown. As one of the liveliest celebrations of the year, Mountain Harvest Festival is not to be missed. Click here for details.
Big B’s/Delicious orchards, just west of Paonia is the site of the annual Hard Cider Festival, in late October every year. This popular event is a relative newcomer, but gets bigger and better each year with lots of cider-themed activities and an abundance of live music. To learn more, click here