Celebrate 45 years of the Vail Symposium on Dec. 8 at Donovan Pavilion | VailDaily.com

Celebrate 45 years of the Vail Symposium on Dec. 8 at Donovan Pavilion

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This poster, designed by artist Thomas Benton, was first shown during the 10th Vail Symposium in 1981. Benton used a quote by Terry Minger, an influential early town manager for Vail and a founder of the Vail Symposium, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the organization.

VAIL — The Vail Symposium Board of Directors and staff collectively agreed that buying a motorcycle was no way to deal with the organization's landmark midlife birthday. They'll instead be throwing a party to celebrate 45 years of thought-leadership in the Vail Valley.

With music from Vail's own Rewind band, the Vail Symposium is inviting the community out for a night of food, drink, dancing and celebrating the score of individuals who have come together under the banner of the Symposium in the past 45 years.

"Looking back through old brochures and at the posters created in the first years of the Symposium, it was clear how much cause we have to celebrate 45 years," said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. "Gerald Ford gave a speech from the Vail Symposium stage in the 1970s. Sir Ken Robinson used this same platform to address education reform in 2016. It's amazing what history has come between them."

Then, Now & Then Some

“We look at the future of our community and consider our role in it to be a very significant one. We want people to come out and celebrate what has been done, but we want them to engage with us excitedly as we go forward.”Kris SabelExecutive director, Vail Symposium

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The party is being called Then, Now & Then Some and will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Donavan Pavilion in Vail. The night will include a toast and displays of the Symposium's rich history, including rare prints of early iconic Vail Symposium posters created by artist Thomas Benton.

"The night is a celebration, first and foremost," Sabel said. "There won't be a paddle raiser or any kind of auction. It isn't that kind of party. There will be great food, drinks, music, dancing and a chance to enjoy a milestone achievement among friends."

Community enrichment

From the organization's inception in 1971 to where it stands today, the Vail Symposium remains an integral part of the intellectual truths that have guided a once-small mountain town to become a world beacon for healthy living, tolerance, self-discovery, curiosity and informed decision making through education.

The organization has presented Pulitzer Prize-winners, artists, authors, politicians, scientists, social reformers, celebrities, adventurers and diverse storytellers. The list of speakers, in addition to Ford and Robinson, includes names such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christo, Gary Hart, Tom Brokaw, John White, Bud Palmer, Barney Frank, Cecil Andrus, Steph Davis and many more.

"The list of speakers goes on, but it seems everyone has that one speaker who addressed that one issue that affected them deeply," Sabel said. "That is precisely the purpose the Symposium serves. Our role is that of an informer, a challenger and even an entertainer."

While the Symposium party looks back in celebration, it also looks forward to a future of serving the community as its shepherd of pertinent information.

"It seems that information is becoming more and more powerful and that being informed is ever more important," Sabel said. "We look at the future of our community and consider our role in it to be a very significant one. We want people to come out and celebrate what has been done, but we want them to engage with us excitedly as we go forward."

If you go …

What: Then, Now & Then Some Party, celebrating 45 years with the Vail Symposium.

When: 7-10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

Where: Donovan Pavilion, 1600 South Frontage Road W., Vail.

Cost: $150.

More information: Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.vailsymposium.org or by calling 970-476-0954.