Santa to visit Dolores Dec. 9

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 10:32 AM
Santa will be visiting Dolores on Dec. 9 at the Galloping Goose Historical Society museum.
Courtesy photo

In addition to Santa, there will be a bonfire, storytelling and free candy at the annual Galloping Goose Christmas event in Dolores.

“Christmas in Dolores,” an annual celebration that attracts families from throughout Montezuma County, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Town of Dolores, the Dolores Chamber of Commerce, the Dolores Public Library, and the Galloping Goose Historical Society collaborate to provide fun, food, and entertainment for the whole family.

Warm yourselves by a bonfire while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies provided by the Ponderosa Restaurant and listening to live music.

Watch Santa arrive on a firetruck and ride Galloping Goose No. 5, Dolores’ historic railcar.

Volunteers from the Galloping Goose Historical Society will be giving free rides on Goose No. 5, while the children’s librarian from the Dolores Library reads Christmas stories in the back of the Goose.

“Children and parents can enjoy the train depot decked out in historic Christmas decorations while waiting in line to see Santa,” said Joe Becker, Goose motorman and volunteer.

Each child is given a bag of candy. Empire Electric Association provides an annual grant to the Society to help cover the costs of operating the Goose for the local community.

This event is free and is open to all families in the area.

The town of Dolores began as a railroad town in the 1890s and grew up with the Rio Grande Southern Railroad. The RGS transported ore, lumber and livestock out of remote areas of the San Juan Mountains. In response to severe economic challenges during the Great Depression, motorized railcars were built in the RGS’s Ridgway Shop in the 1930s.

The gasoline-fueled “Galloping Geese,” as they came to be known, transported passengers, U.S. mail, and essential supplies from Durango to Mancos, Dolores and the mountain towns of Rico, Placerville, Telluride, and Ridgway.

They operated for 20 years and kept the RGS railroad and the area that they served economically viable.

The Dolores Rotary Club purchased Goose No. 5 in the early 1950s. The Galloping Goose Historical Society was organized in 1987.

Using volunteer labor, the Society built a replica of the Dolores Train Depot in 1991, where the museum, gift store, and GGHS offices are now located. In the late 1990s, the Society completely restored Galloping Goose No. 5. It is open to visitors and runs on track in front of the museum.

The Goose also runs excursions on historic railroads in Colorado and New Mexico.