Winterfest: A family event

By: Tom Durkin
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Three-year-old Gavin Preston wasn’t lost long. Within moments of wandering away from the Santa Claus line at Saturday’s Winterfest, a concerned woman delivered the little boy to a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy. When his mother, Lisa Preston of Chicago Park, approached Sgt. Troy Minton-Sander, he was able to immediately locate the child by radio. Young Gavin found himself the center of attention of three deputies when Preston was reunited with her son less than a minute later. Although it was a scary moment, especially for Gavin, Preston said it felt good to know Winterfest in Colfax attracted a family-friendly crowd with immediate police assistance. She said her whole family was having a great time. Even Gavin cheered up after a visit with Santa Claus and the fireworks show. The evening kicked off with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree and the parade of lights. Forklifts, garden tractors, motorcycles, dump trucks and elaborate floats festooned with lights and people paraded up and down Main Street to an appreciative crowd. The Friends of the Colfax Library hosted the very popular Santa Claus Village. Volunteer photographer Kevin Pierce of Colfax estimated he would shoot about 200 pictures before the evening was over. Both Sue Carmichael, fundraising chair, and Sharon Gieras, treasurer, said the Santa Claus event was not about raising money for the library. “It’s to give back to the community,” explained Carmichael. The $5 donation for a photo with Santa was dedicated to covering the cost of printing 5X7 pictures and mailing them to parents, friends and relatives. “I’m doing double the business I did last year,” reported a very happy vendor, Nicolle Herr of Sacramento. Bundled up for the weather, she was selling a broad selection of New Age jewelry and related items at her Tribal Connections booth. Herr credited the fireworks, parade and low gas prices for bringing out a good crowd and making it a successful event for her. “Colfax always has the best fireworks,” she said. The well-timed fireworks display at 7 p.m. filled the sky for a solid 15 minutes with an impressive array of colorful and loud pyrotechnics. Postponed from this summer’s July 5th celebration, the fireworks were a major crowd-pleaser. Several times people started to cheer and clap before the final blow-off. Just when they thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Laurel Mathe, spokeswoman for Colfax Pride Inc., said the fireworks were definitely a factor in drawing a sizeable crowd to this year’s Winterfest. She said there was a great deal of interest in having them again next year, but she said that would depend on the cost. Mathe said she didn’t know yet if Colfax Pride made money on the event, but she confirmed the group’s booth selling soups and hot toddies was a popular venue. With the temperature hovering in the mid-30s and a mild breeze, the bonfire drew shivering people like moths to a flame. The carefully stacked, dry pallets burned with a fierce, almost smokeless heat. Fire Chief Chris Paulus and members of the Colfax Fire Department supervised the bonfire. Sgt. Minton-Sander reported the event went well from a law enforcement perspective. He credited cooperation with the California Highway Patrol and other public safety agencies for making Winterfest a safe event. For additional photos of the Winterfest, check out the photo gallery.