Let the good times roll

Railroad celebration brings out best of Colfax
By: Gloria Beverage
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This weekend’s Railroad Days celebration brought out the best of Colfax. “There was a welcome sense of community once again, much needed after the past few months of conflict,” said Realtor Teri Andrews-Murch. While it’s difficult to estimate how many people attended last weekend’s festival, there was a steady crowd of visitors on both days, noted event chairwoman Connie Heilaman. “It was better than last year,” she said, adding with a laugh, “But it wasn’t up to the 4,000 I thought it was going to be.” Volunteers at the Colfax Area Historical Museum counted nearly 500 visitors for the weekend. “They typically average 500 visitors a month,” said Nancy Hagman, events coordinator for the Grace Hubley-Jones Foundation and an active volunteer with the Historical Society. And more than 100 youth learned how to pan for gold under the guidance of members of the Mother Lode Gold Hounds, Hagman continued. Gold panning champion Carol Ebbitt told Hagman the participation was the highest her group had ever had. Members of the Toy Train Operating Society, Sacramento Valley Division, were also pleased with the number of children and adults who visited their display at Sierra Vista Center. “The railroaders had a good time,” Hagman said. “They said they had more kids come to see them than they usually get at a model train show.” And vendors at Saturday’s Business Fair and Sunday’s Art and Antique show were pleased with the attendance. One of the surprises of the weekend was the presentation of a Senate resolution in recognition of Colfax’s Founders Day festival, Hagman added. A representative from Senator Dave Cox’s office made the presentation during a break in the music shows at the Lot of Arts. Heilaman believes some of the new events – the model railroad train display and the outdoor quilt show – helped draw in visitors. “So many things worked really well,” she said. “It was a good family event.” Quilt show “The quilt show hitched a ride on Railroad Days and proved to be a welcome addition to the festivities,” said Andrews-Murch, one of the organizers of the outdoor display. “It was the hope of Rebecca Martinez of Blue Cat Studio and myself to create an event that would ‘move’ people around town and from the smiles on the Main Street business owners to the appreciative comments of the spectators and participants that goal was accomplished.” Martinez was equally pleased with the outcome. “It’s definitely an event to repeat,” she said. “Many thanks to Suzanne Maguire for joining with us and allowing the Whistle Stop Quilt Shop to be the hub of the show,” Andrews-Murch added. Ribbons were presented by The Real Estate Office to Caren Bright for “Fall,” Alta Quality Nutrition to Alicia Ackerman for “First Quilt," In Vision Salon to Caren Bright for “Soup’s On” and Evangeline’s and Teri Murch, Realtor to Melba Wren for “Oh-la-la." Other ribbons were presented by CalFire to Mary Teeters for “American Heart,” Colfax Fire Department to Karen McBrayer for “America the Beautiful,” Whistle Stop Quilt Shop to Sarah Fripo for “Untitled,” Blue Cat Studio to Christie Shawl for “Sherry’s Skeem,” Marson’s of Colfax to Pat Plotner for "Sand Castles," Robinson Real Estate to Margaret Berberch for her quilt called “For My Mom.” Scarecrow contest winners Several local residents participated in Saturday’s scarecrow contest, which was organized by Colfax resident Dori Barrett. Judges named Connie Heilaman’s “Good ol’ farmer Henry” the first prize winner. Second place went to the Girl Scout Juliette’s entry, “Over the Rainbow” and third place was awarded to The Funny Pharm’s “Recy-crow.” The entries were displayed throughout downtown Colfax. Billboard contest winner Colfax resident Ed Duffek won the Chamber of Commerce’s photo contest held in conjunction with this year’s festival. Duffek will receive dinner for two at Giovanni’s Restaurant for his photo of the billboard along Interstate 80 near Verdi, Nev. The billboard, funded in part by the Placer County Visitors Bureau, promoted Colfax’s Railroad Days festival. While the message on the board (“Who the heck was Schuyler Colfax?) was meant to draw attention to the event, residents were also encouraged to submit a photo of the billboard. The main reason for placing the billboard so far from Colfax was to encourage out-of-the-area residents to attend last weekend’s festival, noted Heilaman.