The weather and a spirit of renewal and support contributed to record tunouts at the Black Forest Festival this weekend.
“It was bigger than ever,” said Sherrie Lidderdale Saturday, a volunteer with Black Forest Community Club working at the pancake breakfast sponsored by CenturyLink. “I have helped with it every year for at least the last 10 years. We counted 870 served this year. That’s 200 more than we have ever done before,” she said.
“We helped serve a lot of people,” Troop 70 Scoutmaster Nate Dowden said.
Troop 70 is chartered by the Black Forest Community Club and regularly meets in the club house.
There was also volunteer help from the Wonderful Waldo Women from Colorado Springs.
“I think it is important that we relay the message that a year later, it is not so grey,” said Chris Carlson, who lost her home in Mountain Shadows to the Waldo Canyon fire. She said she felt compelled to help others this year, if she could.
Carlson said she really misses the trees in her neighborhood. “Ninety-one little stumps after the fire, but it just takes time.” She said she moved back into her rebuilt home on Aug. 5.
Thousands lined the parade route to cheer on participants. Nearly 90 booths and live music filled the forest. Also featured was the Air Force Academy Blue Steel band.
“We are demonstrating our strong sense of community here in the forest,” said Eddie Bracken, BFCC president and this year’s chairman. “We are committed to helping our friends and neighbors, especially those who lost their homes begin the healing process. Holding the festival is one small step in our recovery. We’re inviting all to come see we are Black Forest together.”
This year’s theme, “Recover, Rebuild and Restore – our community,” highlights the resilient nature of the Black Forest community and its residents. Donations will be accepted by the local charities that will serve the fire victims.