“Black Forest Strong — 90 years!” is the theme of this year’s Black Forest Festival, slated for Saturday.
It’s a community tradition that draws about 3,000 visitors to the small community for food, vendors, history, ranch-hand activities, old-fashioned fun, a parade and the not-to-be-missed Outhouse Races.
The volunteer-run festival is hosted by the nonprofit Black Forest Community Club and Black Forest Community Foundation.
New this year is the Black Forest Biergarten on Friday to get the party started and “Raise the Roof!” for the 90-year-old Black Forest Community Center.
Hosted by JAKS Brewing Co. – Falcon, Black Forest Brewing Co., the Black Forest Festival and B Events and Consulting, it will be from 6-9 p.m. at the community center, 12530 Black Forest Road (80908). Tickets: $20 (designated drivers: $10).
In addition to JAKS and Black Forest Brewing, other vendors are Rocky Mountain Brewery, Bristol Brewing Co., Pikes Peak Brewing Co., Apple Valley Cider, Sette Dolori Winery and the Black Forest Meadery.
Colorado Springs “dancegrass” band Wirewood Station will perform.
Beer will give way to more carbs — in the way of pancakes — as the Black Forest Festival kicks off Saturday at 6:30 a.m. with a traditional pancake breakfast at the Center. It is sponsored by R&R Coffee Cafe and supported by the Boy Scouts.
After the parade, food trucks and beverage vendors including Black Forest Chew Chew, K2 Cuisine, Lucy I’m Home, Mateo’s Philly Cheesesteak, Lucy’s American Mediterranean Grill, Ono Foods, Rizuto’s Ice Cream, Cowgirl Kettle Corn famous lemonade, R&R Cafe Amazing coffee and Rocky Mountain Brewery refreshing soda.
The hometown parade starts at 10:30 a.m., and will be emceed by Jon Karroll.
The highly anticipated Outhouse Races will begin at 11:30 a.m.
At 12:30 p.m., there will be a presentation of a grant check from History Colorado to the Black Forest Community Church, which will fund part of the ongoing restoration of the Old Log Church. A History Colorado representative, contractor Paul Matosky of PJM Designs, and architect Barbara Darden will be on hand to field questions and man a display from noon to 2 p.m.
Slightly younger than the Black Forest Community Center, which was chartered in 1929, the Old Log Church was built in 1940 in the “pioneer log style.” It was constructed with the resources that were readily available — sturdy round pine logs harvested from the adjacent forest. The logs were laid horizontally to make the walls and a square bell tower of the church.
The building, at 6845 Shoup Road, at Black Forest’s main intersection, was dedicated in October 1942; it was the first church in Black Forest and is a big part of the community’s history.
Church officials and members are in the midst of repair efforts on some weather-damaged and aging logs with hopes of turning the church into a wedding venue. Grant funds and donations have been used to fund the work to date.
“We are still relying on donations/grant money to keep the project going,” said church volunteer Mona Navalta.
At Saturday’s festival, some of the church’s original logs that have been repaired will be on display, as well as some of the tools that were used in the process — a number of which are the same as were originally used 80 years ago during church construction.
“This is a wonderful project and exciting for our church in many ways. It’s like a representation of the ‘old’ becoming ‘new’ and speaks to some of the renewal a spirit in our congregation right now. It also represents our desire and value to continue to be connected to the community,” said the Rev. Marta Fioriti, pastor.
“Our hope is to renovate the whole building to its original form and offer it to the wider community for weddings, memorials, etc.”