Leaf festival welcomes autumn

Woodcarving, contests and food mark annual celebration

Looking down Yampa Avenue during the Golden Leaf Festival, Craig resident Bernie Rose summed up the scene in a few words.

"It's like a Norman Rockwell painting," he said, referring to the famous Americana work by the Saturday Evening Post artist.

Green tomato contests, wood carvings and grilled corn on the cob marked the turning of the aspen trees from green to gold during the annual street fair Saturday.

Wilma and Kenny Flies won the biggest green tomato contest, sponsored by The Kitchen Shop, with their entry of a 33-ounce tomato.

So, what should be done with a green tomato that large?

Participants crossed the street to find out. Six Craig residents entered recipes in the green tomato recipe contest, sponsored by Serendipity Coffee Shop. Amid a field of green tomato pizza, mock mince meat (with green tomatoes) and two recipes for green tomato cake with frosting, Carol Eitel emerged as champion with her recipe for fried green tomatoes. Delia Eisenhower placed second with a recipe for green tomato jelly.

Those who attended the festival voted for the best recipe after taste-testing everything for a $1 fee. They also received a Serendipity coffee mug.

"It's important to have green tomato recipes in Craig, because the growing season is so short," runner-up Eisenhower said. Gardeners sometimes can find themselves with an entire crop of green tomatoes this time of year.

Mark Rinard of Craig brought recently finished wood carvings and a few works-in-progress to the festival.

Equipped with a hammer and chisel, Rinard was carving a planter shaped like a boot. He displayed old carvings of an American Indian and Easter Island heads, along with a wizard that was unfinished.

But the bears always sell the best, the carver said.

Amid the vendors hawking popcorn, cotton candy, hamburgers and brats, members of the Craig Assembly of God's Soul Center Youth Group grilled fresh Olathe corn on the cob.

About 10 members got together to sell the corn to raise money for a youth convention in Castle Rock, Ben Longwell of Craig said .

Audrey and Glenn Pritchard, third generation Craig natives, stood out among the art vendors. Audrey makes wind chimes and jewelry, and Glenn does the woodwork and flint napping. The result is art that cannot be found anywhere else.

Glenn was especially proud of a Brazilian rosewood table with antler legs he had finished recently. Sometimes other art vendors at festivals attempt to copy their work, but few are able to obtain the obsidian needles that make their wind chimes unique, he said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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