By Mary-Justine Lanyon
The Pine Cone Festival was started after the 2003 Old Fire when Tricia DuFour, owner of Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins, learned that some folks “down the mountain” thought all the communities had burned up in the fire.
The festival has grown since that first year and now takes place on the grounds of Rim Nordic in Running Springs. In 2017, the festival was recognized by Westways magazine as one of “5 Worth the Drive.”
This year’s festival will take place this Saturday, Oct. 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Have you been out hunting for those big pine cones? If not, get busy now – you may win the prize for the heaviest or the longest cone. Those mighty pine cones should be brought to the festival by noon on Oct. 7 to be entered in the contest.
Are you crafty? Get out your glue gun and start creating with those pine cones you pick up on your walks. Crafts made at home – by students in grades 7 through 12 and adults – must be turned in by noon on Oct. 7. Didn’t have a chance to make a craft at home? There will be an opportunity for folks of all ages to create one on site; all craft items and pine cones will be provided at no charge by sponsor Church of the Woods. Those crafts must be turned in by 2 p.m. on Oct. 1.
And then there’s the Pine Cone Olympics. There will be three events: Pine Cone Archery, Pine Cone Hoop Toss and Pine Cone Shot Put. There will be four age categories for males and females. The first entry is free with additional chances available at $2. All proceeds will go to the Rim High marching band, whose members will run the Olympics.
A special activity at the Olympics will be the First Responder Pine Cone Brigade. Members of the CHP, Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Sheriff’s Citizens on Patrol and Explorers, County Fire and Running Springs Fire will compete for the trophy. Will Cal Fire hold on to their championship bragging rights?
New this year is Camp Cheekers, with special activities for children all day long.
Guests are also invited to take a nature walk on one of three distance options: a one-mile loop, two-mile and three-mile. Get your trail guide stamped at the mid-point and receive a Pine Cone Festival logo magnet, metal logo lapel pin or a Smoky Bear pin, depending on your distance choice. The trail guide features pictures and descriptions of the natural elements guests will discover on the walk.
The entire festival takes place in the forest and should be aware the walking area is a natural surface with some irregularities.
At the festival there will be artisans, nonprofit vendors, fire prevention information, entertainment, food for purchase and, of course, Smokey Bear!
Parking will be available across the street at Snow Valley Mountain Resort; a shuttle bus courtesy of SkyPark at Santa’s Village will take festival guests to Rim Nordic.
For more information, visit www.pineconefestival.org.