Roamin' the Range holiday edition

Goodbye jack-o-lanterns, hello turkeys and some mistletoe. ‘Tis the season for craft fairs, giving thanks and lights twinkling in the lengthening nights. Don’t forget to turn the clocks back on Nov. 4.

Events for veterans all weekend long
Veterans Day stretches across an entire weekend this year. The thanks to those who served begin with the 6th Annual Northern Colorado Veterans Stand Down on Friday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Catholic Charities Northern-The Mission at 460 Linden Center Drive, Fort Collins.

Services for homeless veterans will include a continental breakfast served at 9 a.m. and a hot meal served from noon to 1 p.m.; flu shots, oral cancer screening and suicide prevention counseling; distribution of clothing and basic living essentials; legal services; bicycle tune-ups and free haircuts.

Vets can catch a ride from the parking lot behind House of Neighborly Service at 565 N. Cleveland Ave., Loveland at 8:30 a.m. or at the Disabled American Veterans at 1830 Eighth Ave., Greeley at 8 a.m. Bring a Veterans ID if possible, although it is not required. Info: Fort Collins/Loveland: Sharon, 970-353-3800 ext. 6712; Teresa, 970-498-6645; or Tom, 970-498-6556; in Greeley, call Tim, 970-498-6656

The Veterans Day 5K takes place on Saturday, Nov. 10, starting at 9 a.m. on the Colorado State University Oval, Laurel and Meldrum streets in Fort Collins. $25 for 17 and under, $30 for everyone else before noon Nov. 9; $5 more the day of the race. Info:

On Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, a free breakfast will be served from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Fort Collins Senior Center for veterans, their families and friends, sponsored by the Golden K Kiwanis. The CSU Wing Walkers will post the colors at 8 a.m. and all participants of all branches of the service will be honored. Info: 970-221-6644,

Free Sunday breakfast will also be served at the George W. Beach American Legion Post 4, 2124 County Road 54G (Old Highway 287 at Taft Hill Road), from 7 to 11 a.m. The day will feature raffles and entertainment for all veterans, their families and Legion members, including blackjack games from 1 to 10 p.m. Info: 970-484-0418.

The American Legion Honor Guard will participate in traditional observances at both the Edora Veterans Memorial at Edora Park, 1420 E. Stuart St., and the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado in Spring Canyon Community Park on West Horsetooth Road.

On Monday, Nov. 12 – when banks, government offices and the postal service will be closed in observance of Veterans Day – Pathways Hospice will hold a special ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Honoring Veterans Garden at 305 Carpenter Road in Fort Collins. Info: 970-663-3500.

Craft fairs popping up all over
The whole month is pretty crafty, starting with the PVH Holiday Arts and Crafts Show on Nov. 2. Held in the Poudre Valley Hospital Cafe F, 1024 S. Lemay Ave., Fort Collins, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., the annual event features quality handmade items from local artists and crafters for sale: scarves, cards, jewelry, soaps, woodcraft, photography, wreaths, and much more. Info: 970-495-7400.

Mmmm … soup and pie — and krautburgers. They’re all on the menu at Peace with Christ Lutheran Church, 1412 W. Swallow Road, Fort Collins, on Nov. 10, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., homemade soup and pie served 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Holiday home décor, gifts, jewelry, ornaments, greeting cards and baked goods available for purchase. Proceeds support two Concordia Theological seminarians. Info: 970-226-4721.

Nov. 10 is also opening day for the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery at 408 Mason St. (corner of Mason and Cherry), Fort Collins, and its uber-fabulous gift shop. Local historians also rejoice that the city’s historical archives reopen for business! Info: 970-221-6738.

Wellington United Methodist Fellowship, 8251 Wellington Blvd., holds its annual Holiday Craft Fair on Nov. 17, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Food, handmade crafts by local artisans, children’s gifts and more.

Also on Nov. 17, Santa arrives in Fort Collins Old Town Square at noon, and will hear wishes in his workshop from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday through Christmas Eve.

Thanksgiving dinner without the in-laws
Not everyone’s greatest concern is how many helpings of turkey and dressing will fit on one Thanksgiving plate. For those who don’t have a plate – or a home – a festive meal will be served in several locations, no reservations required.

Thanksgiving dinner at the Open Door Mission, 316 Jefferson St., Fort Collins, will be served on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 5 pm. Info: 970- 224-4302. Catholic Charities Mission, 460 Linden Center Drive, Fort Collins, serves at noon on Thanksgiving Day, while the feast at the Salvation Army, 3901 S. Mason St., starts at 1 p.m. The Salvation Army is roasting up 100 birds for the occasion.

The day after Thanksgiving is not only Plaid Friday – shop early, shop local – it is also the first day to buy a permit to cut a Christmas tree in Canyon Lakes Ranger District, near Red Feather Lakes, starting Dec. 1. Permits available at the USDA office in Fort Collins for $10 per tree, limit five trees per person. Info: 970-295-6700.

Holiday jumpstart
December starts on a Saturday this year, maximizing the number of weekends before the end of the year. The Gardens of Light at the Gardens at Spring Creek opens on Nov. 30 and continues through Dec. 31. Every night from 5 to 9 pm. tens of thousands of LED lights sparkle on glowing flowerbeds and whimsical creatures. You can shop for Gifts from the Gardens Nov. 30, 5-8 p.m. and Dec. 1, noon to 8 p.m.

Wellington pulls out all the holiday stops on Dec. 1. The day starts early with a food drive and Toys for Tots collection in the Town Hall parking lot, 8 a.m.-noon, then rolls right into the Eyestone Elementary Craft Fair, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Stop by for a bite at the annual Chili Supper at the Wellington Community Church, 4-9 p.m., $4 adults, $2.50 kids, 3 and under free, then catch the Wellington Parade of Lights along Cleveland Avenue that kicks off at 5 p.m. Don’t miss the illuminating entries in the Holiday House Lighting Contest. Info: 970-568-3381.

The Stove Prairie Winter Festival has been raising money for Stove Prairie Elementary School for 36 years, and the 2012 edition promises to be as much fun as ever. It takes place at the school on Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., complete with a craft fair, bake sale, silent auction, country store, kids corner, food and drinks, and the ever-popular quilt raffle. Info: 970-493-7029.

The Greening of Red Feather in the Village of Red Feather Lakes is another perennial favorite, happening this year on Dec. 1-2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Cut your Christmas tree, then stop by this community craft fair with over 30 booths, food, drinks, bake sale, holiday decorations and treats and more. Santa arrives at the library at noon on Saturday. Sponsored by the Red Feather Historical Society. Info: 970-495-0560.

Speaking of history, the historical Avery House, 328 W. Mountain Ave., Fort Collins, holds its Holiday Open House in two sessions this year: Dec. 8-9, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., and Dec. 11, 5-7 p.m. Special musical performances, antique decorations, and sale of homemade gift items and baked goods. Info: 970-221-0533.

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