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  • Volunteer Bettiann Witulski prepares cookies to be distributed.
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  • More than 200 kinds of cookies sat on tables, waiting to be taken home.
  • Hundreds of people moved along the tables to grab different kinds of cookies.
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The holidays mean cookies — and the annual Cookie Walk at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church in Conifer brought out cookie lovers in a big way.

Hundreds came to the church on Dec. 11 to make cookie selections from 200 varieties — from simple chocolate chip to beautifully decorated sugar cookies to orange sandwich cookies, walnut butter balls and much more. There were also jams, breads, candy and other goodies.

Cookie Walk organizer Nancy Weeks figured about 100 bakers donated 10 dozen of each cookie, some making more than one kind. That’s a lot of cookies in one room at one time.

“This is just a fun event,” said Julia Winka of Conifer, who helped start the Cookie Walk in 2004 and has volunteered nearly every year since. “It’s great for community building. It’s also great because it gets more parishioners involved.”

Winka said in addition to the event being a local favorite, people come from as far as Castle Rock to select and purchase cookies, and others stop by as they’re on their way to cut Christmas trees.

The concept is simple: Customers walk around the tables — hence the name Cookie Walk — and decide which cookies they want. Volunteers wearing holiday aprons, gloves and masks stand behind the tables and place cookies in bags and containers.

Each platter of cookies has a list of ingredients. There’s Christmas music playing in the background, and the coffee is free. Attendees select as many as they want of each cookie, and the cookie selections are weighed. The price is $10 per pound.

The Cookie Walk is a fundraiser for the church, and this year the money is going to the church’s youth group trip to World Youth Day in Portugal, according to the Rev. Tim Gaines, the church’s pastor. Gaines, wearing a red sweater, helped fill bags for cookie customers.

Attendees have a variety of uses for the cookies they select, calling the Cookie Walk a yearly tradition.

While Lori McInnes of Indian Hills plans to create plates of cookies as gifts for her neighbors, Angie Wachendorf purchased cookies to provide holiday treats to her five children and her grandchildren who are coming home for the holidays.

Nancy Parks, of Bailey, said she missed attending last year’s Cookie Walk since it was canceled due to the pandemic, and she was happily filling two containers with cookies. She said she has trouble baking at high altitude, plus she’s going to a party where she’s supposed to bring dessert, so the Cookie Walk was the perfect opportunity to get sweet treats for the holidays.

Zachary Collins, a member of the church youth group, also is a baker, and he made two kinds of cookies for the Cookie Walk, plus he also distributed cookies to attendees. Zachary likes to bake, and he’s been donating his cookies to the event for three years.

Attendees were enthusiastic and happy about their cookie experiences.

As one attendee put it, “These (cookies) might not make it home.”

A volunteer responded: “That’s OK. Tis the season.”