Father’s Day Weekend in Vail filled with beer, volleyball and farmers markets
Special to the Daily
If you go …
What: Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show.
When: Sundays, June 18-Oct. 1; 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where: Meadow Drive, Vail Village.
Cost: Free to attend.
More information: Visit www.vailfarmersmarket.com.
If you go ...
What: Vail Craft Beer Classic.
When: June 16-18.
Cost: Prices vary depending on events chosen, free-$195.
More information: Visit www.vailcraftbeerclassic.com.
If you go ...
What: 45th annual Vail King of the Mountain Open.
When: June 16-18.
Where: Vail Athletic Fields and Ford Park.
Cost: Free to spectate; registration required to play.
More information: Visit www.kingofthemountainvolleyball.com.
There’s no dearth of entertainment in the Vail Valley, and Father’s Day weekend is no different.
Today through Sunday includes not one, not two, but three spectacular events for dads and the general public alike. From classic events that are celebrating almost 50 years in the valley to brand-new affairs, the weekend dedicated to dads is filled with opportunities to celebrate summer outside.
Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show
There’s nothing quite like strolling through Vail Village on a Sunday morning, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the Farmers’ Market & Art Show. Now in its 17th year, the Vail Market continues to expand and diversify, adding new vendors, artisans and entertainment.
The route is simple: “Start at Meadow Drive near La Bottega and go straight down,” said Angela Mueller, executive director of the Vail Farmers’ Market. “Go straight through and you can hit every person, and hit both entertainment sections as you’re going.”
Returning to its roots, the farmers’ market will have two entertainment hubs for attendees. Musicians from the Vail Jazz Festival will perform in the Solaris Plaza stage area starting on June 25 and a smaller, more intimate music space will be created near the Secret Garden. Featuring local musicians that will play a variety of genres from bluegrass to acoustic rock, this enclave will be an inviting space for people to linger and enjoy.
The Farmers’ Market & Art Show continues to grow each year, with up to 16,000 people visiting each Sunday and approximately 208,000 people throughout the summer, Mueller said. While many attendees are visitors, there are also plenty of locals who frequent the market. For the speediest experience, get there at 10 a.m. when the stalls get started. However, for the full effect, give yourself plenty of time to peruse and build up an appetite.
New This Year
In addition to produce merchants such as Clark’s Family Orchards, Wynn Farms and Trout Creek Farms, there are more than 40 food vendors where guests can sip and sample. New culinary-focused booths this summer include Helga’s Organic Homemade Pies, Root & Flower and Burton’s Maplewood Farm.
“We have not had pies for the past few years,” Mueller said. “(Helga) is a cottage food industry lady and I only have heard rave reviews.”
Root & Flower, which is best known for its extensive wine list and hand-crafted cocktails, will be on site in a customized trailer, showcasing shrubs. This tangy drink, which has been described as “poor man’s kombucha,” is made of fruit and sugar steeped in vinegar and is equally tasty in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks alike.
Looking for a last-minute Father’s Day present? Head to Burton’s Maplewood Farm’s tent. Specializing in small batch, barrel-aged maple syrup, this sweet treat is equally good on salmon as it is on ice cream. New this season, Burton’s is offering syrup aged in Peach Street Distiller’s peach brandy barrels in addition to its Breckenridge Bourbon and whiskey barrel-aged options. It’s good enough to eat straight.
Vail Craft Beer Classic
For those who like their beer with a side of biking, hiking or fishing, the Vail Craft Beer Classic is here to help. A new event taking place today through Sunday, the weekend consists of various opportunities to get outdoors and commune with nature along with brewers and brewery owners, in addition to the traditional beer festival tasting sessions.
“Our goal starting this was to make more than a standard beer festival that’s in a parking lot or park,” said Kristen Horpedahl, event director with Team Player Productions, the festival’s producers. “You can go to a beer festival almost any weekend in Colorado. We wanted to play up the experience, making it more than drinking what’s in your cup and moving on.”
The lineup of activities allows participants to pick their passion and get a chance to spend time with the beer folks who love the same thing. Fly-fishers can enjoy a private guided fly-fishing tour along with avid casters from Elevation Beer Co. Mountain bikers can ride with the folks from Odell Brewing Co. and those who prefer tackling the mountain without wheels can embark on a scenic hike with head brewer Linsey Cornish from Horse & Dragon Brewing before a beer-paired lunch at Vail Chophouse.
It was a natural fit, said Carol Cochran, co-founder of Horse & Dragon Brewing. Each year, the folks at Horse & Dragon participate in Beers Made By Walking, a program in which brewers create beers inspired by elements they find on hikes, such as juniper, yarrow or dandelions. The last creation was a light golden ale with edible sumac.
“Because we have that history with that specific program, I thought it would be fun for Linsey to take this hike,” she said.
The opportunity to end the hike with a paired lunch was also a draw for Cochran.
“We’re foodies,” Cochran said. “We love food and beer and generally speaking we try to brew beers that are balanced enough that they complement food.”
Don’t worry: there are also two tasting events. One takes place tonight at Eagle’s Nest and includes a barbecue and only Colorado breweries; the Toast of Vail takes place on Saturday afternoon and includes pop-up seminars and opportunities to interact with brewers before the free concert with Head for the Hills and Gypsy Moon which starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the events are available a la carte allowing guests to mix and match their experience. For more information or to buy tickets, visit vailcraftbeer classic.com.
King of the Mountain
Since 1972, the King of the Mountain volleyball tournament has attracted teams from around the Rocky Mountain region for some fun — but competitive — doubles volleyball. More than 750 teams competed last summer in what is one of the country’s longest-running outdoor volleyball tournaments.
Part of the draw is the grassroots, family-friendly feel; the fact that there’s a division for about everyone doesn’t hurt, either. There’s men’s and women’s same-sex divisions, co-ed divisions, masters and seniors and junior competitions. There’s also a Juniors Clinic today for both boys and girls, coached by former Olympian and Association of Volleyball Professionals star Dax Holdren and USA Volleyball’s Director of Special Events John Kessel.
Spectators are welcome, but for a truly memorable Father’s Day, consider signing up to play in the father divisions. Designed as an opportunity for dads and kids (18 years old or younger) to play in a friendly and less competitive environment, the father divisions have grown to be one of the largest groups of players of the weekend. For more information or to register a team, visit http://www.kingofthemountainvolleyball.com.
Whether you choose to spike the ball or have a ball with beer, there are plenty of excuses to get outside and enjoy life during Father’s Day weekend. So grab Dad, and enjoy.