Eagle-Vail ready to celebrate
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – After months of barrels, cones, lights and flaggers, it’s easy to get into and out of Eagle-Vail’s business district again. That means it’s time to celebrate.Many of the businesses along U.S. Highway 6 & 24 are participating in the area’s first-ever “Holiday Festival,” which starts with a kick-off celebration the evening of Dec. 7. The event will last for 10 days, and has drawn participation – and some great prizes – from a lot of the businesses. The prize packages cover a range of goods and services, from oil changes to a two-night lodging package in Vail with a retail value of $2,000. Other prizes include golf packages, pool passes and a pavilion rental from the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District, the neighborhood’s de facto government.The Vail lodging package was contributed by Triumph Development, which has its local offices sort of behind Michele’s Bakery. But instead of asking people to find the office, Mike Connolly of Triumph Development said the company will likely set up a tent in one of the business district’s parking areas.While Connolly acknowledged Triumph will use the festival as a chance to put a few more names into its databases, he added that the company also wants to support the neighborhood.”They’ve had a helluva summer,” Connolly said of Eagle-Vail’s merchants. “We’re part of this community, too, and when the opportunity came along to participate, we were happy to help.”Those merchants are also using the festival to get to know each other a little better. Deb Scully, co-owner of Scully’s Art Office and Drafting Supplies, said the group will have a kind of pep rally at Ristorante Ti Amo the evening of Dec. 6, the night before the festival kicks off.”We haven’t done that in a long time,” Scully said. She should know – that business has more than 20 years in the same location. Even with people working next door to each other, Scully said merchant neighbors don’t always have a chance to talk to each other.”I think the impetus was when Paddy’s closed,” Scully said. “I think that really galvanized people.”For some, the festival will be a good opportunity to let people know the merchants are still around, and still open.”It was a rough summer down here for us,” Lift Flooring owner Kirk Gruber said. “Relationships (with old customers) got us through it.”While there will be plenty of shopping specials and chances for people to win prizes, the merchants are almost universally excited about the “tiny trees” part of the festival.Each participating business got a small Christmas tree and is decorating it in a theme that fits with each business. Word has it that Pier 13 Liquors’ tree makes good use of miniature liquor bottles. And Emily Zwaan of Beaver Divers said there will be plenty of scuba-themed doo-dads on their tree. Scully said some businesses will have a silent auction for their trees; others will sell chances in a drawing. All the money raised goes to the Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation, a local nonprofit that helps local residents in crisis situations with living or personal expenses. “It’s a good local charity and we’re happy to support them,” Scully said. And, of course, it will be nice to get people back into the business district.”It’s just a great way to start the holiday season this year,” Zwaan said.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.