If you’re in the Vail Valley in 2014, you’re in for an exciting ride.
In addition to a plethora of your favorite recurring events filling the calendar, a handful of exciting new happenings are scheduled to take place this year.
Here’s a few we’re especially excited about.
BLUEGRASS IS BIG
2014 just may go down as the year the valley made its first serious investment in bluegrass music.
Taking a page out of Telluride’s book, Vail and Avon have decided this genre of music may even be worthwhile enough to spend public money on.
Vail just approved $50,000 to be spent on a Wednesday-night bluegrass music series in Lionshead, and Avon is spending $75,000 to ensure its first-year event WinterWonderGrass is a success.
Avon’s WinterWonderGrass festival will take place Feb. 21-23 at Nottingham Park, featuring acts like Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and headlined by Grammy Award-winning mandolin player Sam Bush.
“Leftover Salmon’s already off the charts, and now you’re adding Sam Bush to it? I’m looking forward to seeing great acts become over the top because Sam Bush is visiting stage to stage,” said Avon Town Council member Jake Wolf. “It’s going to be almost like Sam’s festival in my opinion.”
Vail’s weekly bluegrass series will take place every other Wednesday from July 2 through Aug. 27 in the Arrabelle Square venue at Lionshead.
“We think it will be fun for families, local residents that live here and out of town guests as well,” said Barry Davis, with Vail’s Commission on Special Events.
Taste of Vail and Pink Vail Join Forces
Davis is the vice chair with Vail’s Special Events Commission and plays a big part in bringing many of the town’s events to fruition.
He says one of the coolest new events on the calendar in 2014 will be a combination of two events with which you may already be familiar — Pink Vail and the Taste of Vail.
“One of the coolest things that the Taste of Vail is doing is they’ve come up with this really cool concept for a rose festival,” Davis said. “When I heard the idea that this be paired with Taste of Vail and Pink Vail, I said ‘This is a big idea.’”
Rose is known for its pink hue and annual spring-time release, and organizers saw Rose Day as a perfect merger between the two spring events — one known for food and wine, and the other marked by a celebration of pink in recognition of breast cancer.
“We are honored and very excited to have Shaw Regional Cancer Center be a beneficiary of the first Rose Day, and it’s a great kick-off to Pink Vail,” said Michael Holton, with the Vail Valley Medical Center. “There is nothing like Pink Vail anywhere in the world, and the launch of the season’s best rose wines on April 2 in Vail is a spirited match.”
The rose day will also make the annual Taste of Vail one day longer this year than it usually is.
“Some of these events, like Taste of Vail, that have been around for a long time are working really hard to stay current and stay fun,” Davis said. “And so I’m really happy to see that, and of course a collaboration is always great to see, so Taste of Vail and Pink Vail working together will be great for everyone.”
The Rose Day is scheduled for April 2, with Pink Vail to follow that April 5.
FESTIVAL EXPANSIONS ABOUND
Avon is also expanding one of its annual festivals, adding an extra day to the Reds, Whites and Brews event.
The Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate group, the company responsible for redeveloping much of East Avon, is helping expand the event.
The Nottingham Park gathering will now see two days of music, beer and wine, June 27-28. Fans can expect the best in Americana music from producer Radiate Live, with exceptional American-made beer and wine tastings as a complement.
“It’s going to be a great way to lead into Avon’s premier July third fireworks and the July Fourth weekend,” said Virginia Egger, town manager.
And in another unprecedented expansion, the Bravo! Vail classical music series will bring two concerts to Avon in the summer of 2014.
“Dates are yet to be finalized, but expect the finest venue — Nottingham Park — to host a couple of special evenings,” Egger said.
2014 will mark the 27th season of Bravo! Vail in the valley, running from June 27 to Aug. 2. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic will all take up residence in Vail for the festival.
ROAD TO THE WORLD CUP
But with all this talk of summer, don’t think we’ve forgotten about skiing already in 2014.
New for this year, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail will be hosting a North America Cup (Nor-Am) freestyle moguls event, attracting some of the top skiers from North America and Europe.
“Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is thrilled to be hosting its first Freestyle Nor-Am, especially with it being the Nor-Am series finals,” said Euginnia Manseau, the club’s events coordinator. “We will see some of the top freestyle mogulists in North America, just short of the World Cup level, compete. The winners of this event will earn a World Cup start.”
The event will take place Feb. 22-23 on Vail’s Cookshack run. As a premier international competition, spectators will have a chance to watch the next generation of world champions as many of the Nor-Am competitors are members of national teams and current World Cup athletes. More than 95 athletes from North America and Europe will compete in moguls and dual moguls competitions at the event.
“We are looking forward to having a number of our own athletes qualify to compete,” Manseau said. “The freestyle coaches are already working around the clock to create a world-class mogul venue on Cookshack in anticipation of this event.”
‘THE HEART HAS TO HAVE A PULSE’
And finally, if you’ve been to any of Vail’s major events in recent years, chances are a few of them have been organized by Highline Sports and Entertainment.
Highline is now headed for Avon, with the discussion centered around bringing three events to town.
“We want something that’s uniquely Avon,” said Avon Mayor Rich Carroll. “These three special events that Highline has in mind could be it, we’re going to do an analysis and come back before the council.”
The events — a motorcycle festival, a world music festival and a “flavors of Colorado” food and drink festival — would likely run between Memorial Day and sometime in September.
“These are three concepts that are on the table, and we’ve given them $10,000 to create,” councilman Jake Wolf said. “We’re the heart of the valley, and the heart has to have a pulse.”
The council is expected to further examine these events in January.
“If they’re approved, they will be on the calendar for 2014,” Carroll said.