Binoculars, telescopes and long-range camera lenses were on hand as visitors to Georgetown scanned the rocks across I-70 searching for wildlife Nov. 11 at the Bighorn Sheep Festival.
The annual festival serves as a venue for education and an opportunity for families and the community to gather before winter sets in, according to Zoey Southwick of the Georgetown Visitors Center.
“It’s honestly a slow time of year in Georgetown right now, so the festival gives locals and tourists an incentive to gather,” Southwick said. “It’s also a lot of fun because of all the festival offers in addition to learning about bighorn sheep.”
Southwick added that Georgetown has the largest herd of bighorn sheep in Colorado.
At least a hundred visitors enjoyed free face painting, archery and bighorn sheep paper puppet making in downtown Georgetown as part of the annual festival.
Free s’mores were roasted on an open fire and prizes were given away by a variety of vendors to eager kids and adults.
Georgetown’s own food vendors including Georgetown Mountain Popovers, Rose Emporium, Chef’s Corner and Ann Mae Mobile Food Trailer provided the street-side treats.
Parents and their kids also flocked to educational booths set up by volunteers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to learn more about the sheep.
“A set of bighorn sheep horns can grow over a lifetime to as much as 40 pounds,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer Paul Anderson explained, holding a large rack from a bighorn sheep above his head.
“Remember, bighorn sheep don’t shed their horns like an elk sheds its antlers,” CPW volunteer Tim Dudley told a crowd gathered at his table.
Anderson traveled to the festival from Denver to educate anyone who wanted to listen, but mainly he hoped to encourage a younger generation to get involved in Colorado wildlife.
Designated Colorado’s State Animal in 1961, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep continues to be a sight to be seen and reason for a festival every year in Georgetown.