A Colorado summer is simple. It’s a red-checkered picnic spread and smoky smells on the grill. It’s crisp morning hikes and afternoon river floats, a cold microbrew and a midsummer sunset, with sounds of strings and solos dancing in the twilight. Well, it’s summertime in the Rockies at least, and it’s about to get rolling.
Kick off the season with some flavor and fun at two local festivals this Memorial Day weekend. Beaver Creek will showcase its veteran event Blues, Brews & BBQ, which is in it’s 10th year, and Vail will host a fresh new festival this year with FEAST! Vail, a celebration of mountains, food and wine.
James Deighan, event producer with Highline marketing and events agency, says FEAST! Vail is meant to combine the elements of adventure and cuisine into one fantastic weekend.
“Everyone knows about the adventure-side of Vail’s summer with climbing, fishing and hiking, but Vail has also built a reputation for culinary excellence,” Deighan said. “Participants will not only be treated to some exceptional food and drink, but they also have the opportunity to climb, hike and take a fly-casting clinic with some of Colorado’s best chefs. FEAST! is a true Vail-lifestyle experience.”
While Vail will be sure to inaugurate its own Memorial Day memories, don’t miss Beaver Creek’s traditional toast to the season. Blues, Brews & BBQ will offer mouth-watering BBQ with thirst-quenching microbrews, along with musical highlights throughout the weekend. The holiday kicks off at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Friday evening, featuring the high-energy Chicago soul blues of Big James and the Chicago Playboys.
The new culinary festival in Vail features renowned chefs from Vail and Denver, as well as drinks from wine masters, cocktail artisans and craft beer experts. Mountain lifestyle has truly made its way into the mix, with yoga, climbing, casting and hiking offered and hosted by guest chefs.
FEAST! Vail events will be held in various locations in Vail and will run from Friday evening until Sunday night. Tickets for events vary in price and are sold individually. You can purchase them at http://feastvail.eventbright.com. For more information about the festival and for full event descriptions, visit www.feastvail.com.
Blues, Brews & BBQ
This event fits the bill for appetite and atmosphere. Sit and savor barbecue flavor while tasting craft beers and listening to soulful blues. Don’t miss the featured music or the microbrew festival, and make sure to cast your vote for your favorite barbecue before dozing off in the beer garden.
“Beaver Creek’s Blues, Brews and BBQ event has evolved into a great tradition of signifying our official start to summer,” said Tim Baker, executive director of Beaver Creek Resort Co. “The 10th anniversary includes a Friday evening kickoff concert in the Vilar Performing Arts Center featuring Big James and the Chicago Playboys, a Spiegelau Beerglass Seminar Saturday and the Big Green Egg Backyard Barbecue Competition on Sunday. These new additions complement the great lineup of existing Blues, Brews and BBQ activities that make for a great weekend escape.”
Blues, Brews and BBQ runs from Friday evening through Monday afternoon, May 24-27, and the event offers admission to the plaza and food and beverage will be available for purchase.
Although it’s a shame to not be two places at once during this fun-filled weekend, all of the events are sure to be a truly savored experience.
“Top Chef” contestant and two-time James Beard Award-winner Kelly Liken, of Vail’s Restaurant Kelly Liken, will take part in the FEAST! Vail weekend, highlighting the healthy balance of work and play. Liken hosts Casting and Cuisine, a fly-casting clinic on Sunday.
“In my career, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to live and work almost anywhere,” Liken said. “Yet I choose to live in Vail where you can experience the glorious mountains and rivers, along with some of the tastiest recipes around.”