Holiday festivities in Oak Creek, Hayden promote community, shopping local

Curtis Canfield, 9, and Ryden Thomas skate with Santa Claus at the ice rink in Oak Creek as part of a past Holly Festival. Santa will be available for pictures at Bonfiglio Drug this year as part of Oak Creek’s Holly Festival. Santa, however, will surely be upstaged by fireworks, which will be set off after the tree lighting on Saturday, Dec. 10.
Ben Ingersoll/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

Holiday cheer will be at an all-time high at the Oak Creek Holly Festival on Saturday, Dec. 10, as local businesses host events and specials throughout the day that will end with the tree lighting, and for the first time ever: fireworks.

“We’ve gotten a donation from the city of Steamboat actually,” said Erika Petersen, recreation coordinator with the town of Oak Creek. “We used this event as a good time to use them.”

Multiple businesses in downtown are participating with events, including pictures with Santa at Bonfiglio Drug.

“This type of event, and we have a number of them throughout the year, really promotes shopping local, but they also really promote community coming together which is almost more important to me,” said David Bonfiglio, owner of Bonfiglio Drug. 

Bonfiglio has been a part of Holly Festival since the Economic Development Council was running it and feels it’s an important event in Oak Creek.

“This one is really successful,” Bonfiglio said. “Everyone I talk to in terms of my customers and people wandering around, are loving it. The kids love it. It’s a great family opportunity to get out and about.”

Additionally, Vivian Floral Creations is putting together a wreath-making class on Saturday evening at Oak Creek Tavern.

The class is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and the cost of $65 includes all supplies. 

Lora Reichley, owner of the shop, is hoping to focus more on classes, the first of which will walk people through how to make a wreath and decorate it with wintery accessories. 

“They can do what they want, but we will have some samples to help with that, but it’s going to be a bit more of the wintery style with oranges and probably more blue/silver berries,” Reichley said. “So, not necessarily Christmas themed, more winter-themed.”

The 2022 Oak Creek Holly Festival is jam packed with events and shopping specials.
Town of Oak Creek/Courtesy photo

Vivian Floral Creations will also have a craft going on throughout the day for younger artsy folks. 

The store has been in Oak Creek for about 10 years and Reichley feels it’s important to participate in community events as often as possible. 

“I’m in retail. Without your community, you’re kind of nothing,” she said. “I love being a part of the community. It makes me happy when you get to make other people happy. Classes are a fun thing to get people together and it allows people to share stories and have something fun to do together.”

Other events include cookies and hot cocoa at the Colorado Bar and a yoga class at the community center. 

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The Oak Creek tree was collected by public works and erected in the park on the corner of Sharp Avenue and Main Street. The lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by fireworks and caroling around town. 

The festival is not only a good time for families, but is designed to get people to shop local. South Routt is offering further incentive to shop local with big prizes for those who elect to buy gifts in the county. 

Residents who spend $100 can save their receipts, fill out a form and enter to win a prize in a drawing on Dec. 29. It’s an initiative South Routt has had for years and the winnings are worth the effort, with the grand prize being a night for two at the Blackhawk Lodge and Casino. 

Forms can be found at the Oak Creek and Yampa town halls as well as businesses around the area.

Additionally, the Christmas Light Contest is still ongoing in Oak Creek. People can sign up at Oak Creek Town Hall by Dec. 23 to enter their home into the competition for a chance to win a utility gift certificate. 

Across the county, Hayden will be merry and bright as well, with the 12th Annual Holiday Stroll from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. 

The event is a partnership between the Historic Hayden Granary and the Hayden Heritage Center. 

Wagon rides will help attendees commute between the two locations. The museum’s halls will be fully decked, and the gift shop will have deals. Staff will give out cocoa and cider as well as craft bags. 

The museum used to do crafts on-site, but has limited space, so now staff put together craft bags to give away and they have a lot to pass out this year.

Museum curator Laurel Watson said her favorite part of the day is seeing the families and kids come through. 

“It’s just seeing new people and seeing people be aware of what we’ve got here in Hayden,” she said. 

A short wagon ride away, Santa will be at the Hayden Granary from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Jennifer Stewart Photography will be there to capture the moments. There will also be chestnuts roasting as well as hot cider and baked goods.