Things to do around Garfield County this holiday season
Of all the holiday seasons anyone’s ever had the pleasure of enjoying throughout their lives, this one’s arguably the most critical for our neighbors in need.
With Rifle’s regularly scheduled “Hometown Holiday” events such the annual fireworks display, a visit from Santa Claus and sleigh rides, among many other gleeful happenings, now canceled due to COVID-19, the void has conceived some new opportunities for folks to provide the gift of giving.
This holiday season, organizations around Western Garfield County have teamed up to serve the general public in ways never before imaginable. The Rifle Parks and Recreation Department, the Greater Rifle Improvement Team (GRIT), the Rifle Finance Department, the Western Garfield County Chamber of commerce as well as Alpine Bank, have all come together to help use these troubling times for the greater good.
Not to mention, underneath all the philanthropy and goodwill, these entities hope the gleaming lights of the holiday season will still twinkle across the Western Slope.
CHRISTMAS HOUSE DECORATING CONTEST
While many recreational adult- and youth-league winter sports seasons have received the proverbial boot this year, that doesn’t mean people have to put their competitive spirits on hold.
For the first time ever, the Rifle Recreation Department will host a Christmas House Decorating Contest. Inspired by its first Hallowen house decorating contest held earlier this fall, participants brave enough to dress their residential facades and lawns in some of the most unique, light-adorned displays have a chance at winning some big prizes.
The litanies of lights and displays of holiday decor will be judged upon three categories: Best in Show, Most Original and the Clark Griswold award.
Best in Show means the house has the best overall holiday display. The Most Original category judges contestants who use rather unorthodox Christmas decor.
And, if anyone remembers the holiday classic “Christmas Vacation,” protagonist Clark Griswold went through a nightmare of family ridicule and short circuits just to illuminate the most Christmas lights on the block. Hence, the Clark Griswold award acknowledges the participants who showcase the most lights.
First place winner gets $250; second place, $150; third place, $100,
Call 970-665-6574 or visit http://www.rifleco.org to register. All entries must be received by Dec. 15. Judging takes place Dec. 16-18.
It’s not just our human neighbors who need help this holiday season.
In conjunction with the Rifle Finance Department, the Rifle Animal Shelter is asking folks to donate what they can to help our furry little friends.
Following a “Holiday Wishlist,” residents can donate nearly 20 pet-related items to Rifle City Hall. Items include:
• Laundry detergent
• Paper towels
• Toilet paper
• Cat litter
• Purina Naturals Dry Food
• Dog treats: pig ears, rawhide chips, Pupperoni
• Dish soap
• Kitten food (dry and wet)
• Hand soap
• Trash bags
• Pedigree puppy food (dry and wet)
• Cat toys
• Non-clumping cat litter
• Peanut butter
• XL Kongs
People looking to donate can drop off items at Rifle City Hall, located at 202 Railroad Ave. Call 970-665-6447 arrange a time to donate.
HOLIDAY CANNED FOOD DRIVE
As of October, the state of Colorado has a 6.4% unemployment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2019 around this time, that number was 2.5%In other words, there’s likely more Western Garfield residents in need this holiday season.
To help out, the Rifle Parks and Recreation Department is accepting canned donations through Dec. 18. Called the “Holiday Canned Food Drive,” people are being asked to help local families in need by donating a minimum of five cans or more to be raffled.
Donations will be accepted at the parks and recreation department, located at 202 Railroad Ave. The department is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information, call 970-665-6570.
Turkey, potatoes, corn and Brussels sprouts – all the fixings.
In addition to the food drive, the Rifle Parks and Recreation Department will be accepting nominations from the general public to give 20 local families a chance to enjoy a full Christmas dinner.
Called “Holiday Feast,” participants will be asked via online survey to provide general information as well as why they think they or someone they know is eligible to receive the meal kit, which should feed 5-7 people.
Just scan the QR code on the Holiday Feast flier or visit the parks and recreation Facebook page to complete the survey. Nominations are due Dec. 16.
Once the nominations are approved, members of the parks and recreation department will load the food onto city buses and personally distribute them to people’s doorsteps.
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