For a fabulous final fling of the summer, head to the mountains northwest of Fort Collins and help the all-volunteer Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department. The annual RCVFD Mountain Festival and Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, across from Fire Station 1, 11835 Rist Canyon Road in Bellvue.
The scenic mountain event offers a wide range of activities for the whole family. In addition to the live art auction, festivities will include a huge and well-stocked book tent, Old Fashioned Bake Sale, Firehouse Silent Auction, Mountain Craft Market (with eclectic and varied vendors), children’s activities, fantastic food, and great bands and entertainment. Both admission and parking are free.
Funds raised from the Mountain Festival are vital for the growth and effectiveness of the RCVFD. The department is run 100 percent on donations, receiving no tax funds whatsoever. All personnel and firefighters are volunteers, and they are on call 24 hours a day. The firefighters and medical responders also volunteer their time when they attend monthly training classes to keep their skills up-to-date.
“The Mountain Festival is very important for our financial operations,” said Mike Thompson, RCVFD Board president. “The festival revenues help supplement the donations we receive so we have enough to fund our yearly operations costs. It also helps with new capital expenses to replace aging equipment and vehicles.”
Thompson said planning for the festival is a year-round event.
“A lot of work is done behind the scenes to bring everything together for this big occasion,” he said. “People attend to buy excellent art, spend the day listening to music on a beautiful mountain meadow, watch performers such as belly dancers, browse the many craft booths, and enjoy the great food.”
The RCVFD is also still recovering and rebuilding after the June 2012 High Park Fire, caused by a lightning strike to a tree in Roosevelt National Forest. First reported as a smoke column on the morning of June 9, 2012, the fire quickly intensified and spread. An evacuation was called and lasted 21 days. One woman was killed, 259 homes were destroyed, and more than 87,000 acres were burned. The High Park Fire was not declared 100 percent contained until June 30, 2012.
RCVFD was started in 1975 and then served some 30 acres. Today, RCVFD provides service to an area over 100 square miles. For more information about the Festival or RCVFD, visit rcvfd.org. Donations can also be sent to RCVFD-Treasurer, P.O. Box 2, Bellvue, CO 80512.