by Larry Patrick
HUERFANO- The summer season is upon us and that means a lot of visitors coming through our area. Sure, the gasoline prices are way up, but people are still going to be coming to Huerfano County whether they are passing through or looking for things to do. That is why it is our obligation to know the things we have to offer in Huerfano County.
All too often, people in small towns like to whine that there is nothing to do. Many of these people work at jobs where they come into contact with the traveling public. The public is looking for interesting things to see but when you live in an area, you often take things for granted or don’t get as excited about something that someone else might.
There are plenty of brochures about activities for people to get but often someone wants a local person’s thoughts on what they should see. To be told that there is nothing to do shows a lack of respect for your town, city, county and businesses. It also shows a lack of understanding about economics and how having knowledge about your area can benefit everyone concerned.
I’m a big proponent of the idea that business owners need to educate their employees on activities and things to see in their area. It can mean people spending extra money in the city or county and persuading folks to overnight stays, which can mean even more money for the local economy. A dollar is said to go through a community seven times, meaning that many people in a community can benefit from money spent within the area, even if it wasn’t at their business. Chambers of commerce, tourism committees and others can put out information but there is nothing like having employees who know what is going on, especially at areas where tourists often stop.
Merchants often times say they are too busy to inform their workers of such things. But the information to teach these people is readily available. It can actually be very beneficial to your business when you make sure your people know important information about our area.
Sometimes travelers just want to know how many people live in this city or county or if there is a certain type of business available. Some want to know what hotels or restaurants are available. Others want to know about entertainment activities, celebrations and tourist sites to see. This last group is where many fail to have the needed information.
To help Huerfano County have the best summer possible, let me point out some, not all, of the great things available in the area. The Spanish Peaks & La Veta Pass offer great scenic beauty. The Walsenburg Wild Waters Aquatic Park opens Memorial Day weekend in Walsenburg, open seven days a week. The train rides from La Veta to Alamosa and back also begin that weekend. Colorado’s oldest folklorico dance group, El Fandango, performs all summer beginning Cinco de Mayo weekend. The Southern Colorado Bluegrass Festival is in Walsenburg May 9 and 10 at the Fox Theater. For information about hiking, biking, mountain climbing, boating, bird watching, hunting and fishing etc., have them contact Lathrop State Park, sporting goods stores or the Chamber offices. The annual Black Diamond Jubilee is June 20-22 in Walsenburg. The Art in the Park in La Veta is July 4th weekend, and La Veta and Cuchara have annual 4th of July parade celebrations. There are rodeos, the Fort Francisco Museum and theater plays. La Plaza de los Leones is held each September in Walsenburg. The Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival, nothing like it in the area, is held all throughout the county in late September. Oktoberfest is the first Saturday of October.
Know about the Huerfano Butte… legend says when the Rocky Mountains marched westward, they left that one little hill behind as an orphan, which is where the county got the name Huerfano, which is Spanish for orphan. The Highway of Legends on Hwy 12 between La Veta & Trinidad has fantastic photo opportunities. The Mining Museum, the various art galleries in Walsenburg and La Veta are top notch. Two world famous quilters live in Huerfano County- one with a quilt gallery open to the public.
Gardner Days is another fine celebration. There are two golf courses in the county plus a movie theater. There are unique antique and gift shops which tourists can enjoy looking through. Cuchara offers scenic vistas. There are city parks with playground equipment and places for picnics.
I could go on and on and on and my apologies if I didn’t mention some of the many other things to see and do. But that is my point. There is plenty to do around here. The fact that some of it may or may not be of interest to you doesn’t mean it isn’t of great interest to someone else. If you come into contact with travelers in your line of work, take pride in your community, learn about it and be willing to talk in positive terms. The more that tourists stop here, stay here and buy things here means more money for our local economy. It might help you a great deal when you go to ask your boss for a raise. If all of us took just a little time to really get to know our surroundings & some of its history, we might be shocked to know that there’s more here than we ever imagined.
Editor’s note: If you have other events or activities in our area that you would like to have publicized, you may have them placed for free on the county-wide calendar of events on our website. Go to www.huerfanojournal.com, and click on “Submit your event” under the calendar on the left side of the page. We can include events from today to months or years in the future.