Seasonal favorites | VailDaily.com

Seasonal favorites

Enterprise staff report

t he calendar states that the fall season didn't arrive until Sept. 23, but local residents would beg to differ.

From the moment that temperatures began to dip and the hillsides started the turning golden, lots of locals have been celebrating their favorite time of the year.

There are several reasons why autumn is often cited as the best time to live in the Colorado high country. When we asked people what they enjoyed most about fall, the responses fell into a few general categories so here is a sampling of why your neighbors are celebrating the season as fall officially begins:

Natural beauty

"Fall really is m y favorite time of the year," said Michelle Friedman of Eagle. "I love having it cool and getting under the blankets at night."

"I love everything about fall. I love the cool crisp air, the changing leaves, the dusting of snow on the peaks, and the Gypsum Oktoberfest celebration," said Mary Vaughn of Eagle. "I love September."

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Cooper Gould, a senior at Vail Christian High School and Eagle resident said "The warm, sunny fall days are hard to beat. But I love the colors the most."

Hunting

Trees aren't the only thing sporting orange during the fall. A trip to the Nearly Everything Store or City Market is sure to result in a hunter sighting.

October and November bring big game hunting seasons to Colorado, which in turn brings lots of visitors to the valley. But year-round residents also anxiously await their chance to hit the woods.

"What do I like most about fall? One word — Hunting," said Phillip Rivera of Gypsum.

"What I love most about fall in Eagle is the cool nights, changing of the leaves, snow dusting on the peaks, that early fall snow storm that tells you to make sure your firewood is ready," said Derrick Wiemer. "But most of all I love the hunting seasons and seeing people that come out here once per year with pure excitement for the hunt and are eager to spend money in our local stores."

Football

"What do I love most about fall? That's easy — college football," said Dominic Mauriello, the new president of the Eagle Chamber of Commerce.

Mauriello is a fan of University of Florida and Virginia Tech, his two alma maters. "All my teams are orange," he added, noting that the Denver Broncos are also in the mix.

Sandy Ziegler of Eagle sided with all the folks who love fall weather, but also revealed sports play a big part in why she enjoys fall." I love the temperatures, they are just perfect and the colors are beautiful," said Ziegler. "I also enjoy all the football games. Go Broncos and Eagle Valley Devils!"

Mick Daly of Eagle also loves the fact that the football season starts during the fall, but as a Liverpool and Vail Valley Soccer Club fan, he means soccer when he says football. His two grandsons play for the Vail program and Daly enjoys cheering them one.

"Beyond that, my second reason why I love fall is I enjoy the challenge of keeping the roof off my Jeep as long as possible," said Daly.

Seasonal celebrations

Because of the traditionally warm temperatures that extend through October, several locals said fall events are a great part of the season.

"It is the best time of the year because of the weather," said Kevin Brubeck of Eagle. "There's a lot of events going on and they are great. I love the fall."

Micah Braun, a second grader at Brush Creek Elementary could hardly contain himself when he talked about why he loves autumn.

"Fall is the best because of football and my birthday is on Halloween. I'm turning 8 this year. I'm going as the Hulk for Halloween and I can't wait," said Micah.

Halloween also brings out the kid in Mary Witt of Eagle. "I am the Halloween queen," she said.

For seven years now, Witt has organized the Haunted Barn at Eagle Ranch. A fund-raiser for the Eagle Valley Middle School football program, the Haunted Barn offers age-appropriate tours for local kids.

"During the Eagle Ranch Pumpkin Patch (planned this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) it's actually the Un-Haunted Barn," said Witt. Because the visitors are young kids, the emphasis is on fun and not on thrills. The EVMS boys man a "Whack a Ghoul" booth and offer other fun games for visitors. But for those who enjoy a good scare, the Haunted Barn will be open Saturday, Oct. 25.

And then there is the Witt household in The Terrace where Mary decorates to the max for Halloween. The display includes several of her old prosthetic legs along with whatever new props she can talk her husband Paul into including.

Peace and quiet

When fall begins, a certain sense of peace and quiet descends around the valley. The summer tourists are gone and the kids spend their days in local classrooms. Streets around town are less crowded and the neighborhood's noise levels drop considerably.

Sarah Baker of Eagle said the shift to a quieter scene is what she enjoys most about autumn. "I love it that all the fall events are more for locals and we all get to see our neighbors in the best of environments," she said.