Holiday Hootenanny delivers Christmas fun

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Buena Vista County Fair Board had a two-fold purpose in coming up with the first-annual Holiday Hootenanny held at the fairgrounds over 4 days in December.

It provided winter holiday fun with Christmas light displays, caroling, Santa, a live Nativity scene, hot chocolate and candy canes, letter-writing to Santa, and a fire for roasting marshmallows. 

Its other purpose was to raise money to benefit the Buena Vista County Fair held every summer. No admission was required for the Hootenanny, but free-will donations were gladly accepted.

Photos: The Alta-Aurelia Jazz Choir sang Christmas carols around the campfire. Kids write letters to Santa. Santa meets the kids. / Photos by Stephanie Lynam

BV Fair Board Co-President Dana Christen said that throughout the Hootenanny’s four days, about 500 people attended.

“This was a fundraiser for the fair and we made about $3,000 over the two weekends as well. It was a great event!,” she said.

“It was a generous outpouring of support from our community and others who attended. We had a great turnout and appreciate all who visited and all the businesses that helped make the event successful!,” Christen said. “We had lots of local businesses involved with gifts from Santa and or they put up lighted displays. We would like to thank all of those businesses.”

“We have been hearing good feedback from those who attended and plan on making this a yearly event in the future,” Christen said.

Fair Board vice-president Mike Musselman helped out on both weekends of the Holiday Hootenanny.

On the first weekend, he was at the stables where the live Nativity animals were housed as visitors of all ages filed by to pet and interact with the animals.

On the second weekend he donned the Santa suit on one of the nights, listening to children’s wishes. 

“I thought there was great community support for the event. There were a ton of people there, so it exceeded my expectations,” Musselman said, particularly considering this was the event’s first year.

He agrees with Christen that fundraising opportunities for the county fair exist year-round, not only in the summer months. “We just want to continue to look for some other fundraising events through the winter,” he said.

For next year’s Hootenanny, he hopes to see more businesses county-wide join together to decorate, contribute or do whatever they can to make it an event to rival other counties.

A goal of the Fair Board is to have the summer county fair expand even more than what it already has. “We want to keep growing the events,” Musselman said, emphasizing that the more fundraisers that can be held throughout the year, the bigger and better events and attractions will be at the fair.

He cited examples of pro wrestling and the demo derby, popular fair events which have a price tag for the Fair Board.

“If you want to put on a good fair, you have to have solid grandstand events,” he said.