Judging by the healthy turn out for both days, the decision to turn the 19th annual Cowboy Museum Cowboy Christmas into a two-day event was a smart one as community members and western-oriented shoppers crowded into the community center Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-26.
In spite of the Mustangs playing the semifinal play-off round against Casa Roble and a lot of people packing The Corral, shoppers were out in force at the Cowboy Christmas on Friday night, though they weren’t far from the field in spirit as scores were shouted out throughout the night.
“You know we were worried about the game and our attendance but it was great. We had people checking the scores on their mobiles and then the final score was yelled out,” Christie Camarillo, Cowboy Museum Executive Director said with a grin. “We were really happy with the turn out.”
There were 60 vendors, the same as last year; however, unlike last year the weather held out and vendors weren’t soaked by day’s end, which meant more shopping could be done.
“I heard our new vendor Cowboy Toffee sold out of all the product they brought,” Camarillo said. “And it was yummy, so I could see why.”
Outside vendors ranged from wood carvings to cowboy hats and inside the smell of leather was distinctly western as vendors with all kinds of western offerings vied for the shoppers’ eyes and cash.
And there must’ve been a whole lot of spending going on because the vendors left happy, said Camarillo.
One first-time vendor came from Linden to ply her wares of blingy purses and clutches.
Janet Barnech, in business with Melissa Hartung, was pleased with the crowd and was equally pleased it wasn’t raining.
“It’s a good turn out in spite of the weather. I’m just glad it’s not raining.”
Dani Lorta and her 7-year-old daughter Isa Haggerty came from Pleasanton to visit family and couldn’t miss seeing Cowboy Santa on Saturday.
“I just love it,” Lorta said of Cowboy Christmas. “I love the local flavor of it. It’s quintessential Oakdale.”
Sheila Morgan and her 4-year-old granddaughter Teagan Nolan were among the shoppers, delighting in their found treasures.
Morgan said she never misses the Cowboy Christmas event.
“I love everything totally western,” Morgan said. “It’s one-stop shopping. I can find something for everyone. It’s my favorite place to shop.”
And for one family, Cowboy Christmas is about more than just picking up a few gifts — it’s about a tradition they started when they moved to town.
For the past 12 years, the Farquer boys, Colton and Caden, have been getting their picture taken with Cowboy Santa and it’s something their mom has come to treasure as part of their family tradition.
“In the fall of 1999 we moved to Oakdale, California,” the boys’ father Byron Farquer explained. “We didn’t have any family in California and didn’t know a soul. One of the first events we attended was the Cowboy Christmas celebration. The boys were young enough that we wanted them to have a picture with Santa, in part simply because they had pictures previously and we wanted them to know that Oakdale, California was just like Douglas, Wyoming in all the same ways…We had no family here, no ties to college, simply a new start in a new state. Twelve years later I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
“What started as a picture with Santa in Oakdale has progressed to a series of friendships. Today Oakdale is home. It started with Cowboy Christmas 12 years ago, and that event itself is a tribute to the warm and welcoming nature of the people of Oakdale. You may not have been born in Oakdale but you could very quickly call Oakdale home and invite others to call it home as well.”
Cowboy Christmas is many things to many people, but the one element that seems the same — it’s just one more reason so many are proud to call Oakdale their home.