Vail events are starting to return to the calendar
Highline Sports & Entertainment is back at work
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, events are returning and James Deighan is ready to shift gears again.
About a year ago, Deighan announced that Highline Sports & Entertainment had “gone dormant” after 26 years, and the employees were furloughed.
Highline had been a staple on the events scene in the Vail area, and had produced music and other events around the country. The company produced the past two Vail America Days stationary parades, but other than that, there were no other events to run.
With Highline folding its tent, Deighan shifted gears and created Highline Medical Solutions, which organized COVID testing ranging from individuals on vacation to mass testing and vaccination events in Colorado, North Carolina and elsewhere.
That firm continues its work, but Deighan said Highline Sports & Entertainment is back at work. And people seem ready to get out and about, he added.
“People are chomping at the bit,” Deighan said. “We’ve been inundated with calls and emails.”
After an 18-month hiatus, Highline is now working on permitting for the annual Gourmet on Gore event over Labor Day weekend, as well as September Oktoberfest weekends in Lionshead and Vail Village.
“We’re calling this our new growing season,” Deighan said. “The plan is to take events as they come.”
That’s going to require some quick work. Projects that once took months to button down now have to be ready to go in weeks.
Noting how quickly the Vail Valley Foundation pulled together this year’s GoPro Mountain Games, Town of Vail Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar called the effort “remarkable,” adding that the event itself changed quite a bit in those few short weeks.
Vlaar said everyone is working quickly. The requests for Gourmet on Gore and Oktoberfest are on the “short-term side,” Vlaar said.
Still, she added, the September events are long-running and proven.
As summer turns to fall, then winter, work continues on other events that were canceled due to COVID.
Vlaar said Powabunga is likely to be back in the coming ski season. Early-season Revely Vail events are set to return, too.
After a successful first season, the Vail Magic of Lights show is also set to return, Vlaar said.
While the above events are returning, there remain questions about what the next months might bring.
Perhaps the biggest question is about the Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships. Vlaar said town officials have been talking about once a month with people from Burton, but nothing’s firm yet.
Vlaar noted that Highline, the Vail Valley Foundation, Burton and others have faced almost unimaginable challenges over the past year.
“They’ve all had a lot of change,” Vlaar said. “They’ve been re-tooling to survive.”
Gourmet on Gore: Labor Day weekend
Oktoberfest: Consecutive September weekends in Lionshead and Vail Village
Magic of Lights: Mid-December into January.