Fireworks, bluegrass add to busy holiday |

Fireworks, bluegrass add to busy holiday

Scott N. Millersmiller@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Jon Sheppard | Special to the Daily

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – We expect Presidents Day weekend to be busy, but a couple of events just added to the crowds.Businesses in and around Vail and Beaver Creek Monday reported booked-up rooms and plenty of business. At Troy’s Ski Shop in Vail Village, Mike VanValkenburg said “This was one of the busiest weekends this year,” adding that the store came close to renting out its entire inventory.Many of those guests came from out of state, VanValkenburg said. The same was true at Black Tie Ski Rentals, a company that delivers rental equipment to guests’ hotel rooms or condos. Katie Graeff of Black Tie said many of that company’s reservations came in just a day or so ahead of delivery over the weekend.While Black Tie has been busy for much of the season, Graeff said it’s been interesting to track just where customers have been coming from.Over the weekend, many of the destination guests came in from New York and other East Coast cities. The week before, many of Black Tie’s customers had been from Louisiana.At the Beaver Creek Lodge, Kevin Shields said that hotel’s rooms over the weekend went to guests from the East Coast as well as Florida and Texas. “We’re looking pretty good for the rest of the week, too,” Shields said. “We’re picking back up Thursday, so that gives us a couple of days to get ready.”Shields said the Beaver Creek Lodge has been “selling out almost every weekend this season,” a big improvement from last season’s bookings. Beyond just the room nights, Shields said the Beaver Creek Lodge’s restaurant was packed for both breakfast and dinner over the weekend, with guests presumably picking up lunch on the mountain or in Beaver Creek Village.In Vail, Amy Hudgins at the Cascade Village Resort and Spa said that lodge’s rooms were sold out over the weekend, but, like Shields, she said the restaurant, bar and spa were all active over the weekend. But beyond the usual Presidents Day weekend news, events in Avon and Edwards also drew sizable crowds.The first “Fire & Ice” event in Avon combined the fireworks show that couldn’t be staged at last year’s Salute to the USA because of the drought with an ice-sculpting competition. Town events manager Danita Chirichillo said an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 people attended the event. And, given the stream of lights headed out of town after the fireworks, Chirichillo said many more people decided to watch the fireworks from the surrounding areas.The event was successful enough that Chirichillo will bring the Avon Town Council a proposal for a similar event, which will probably have more ice and fewer fireworks.In Edwards, though, the first Winter Wondergrass festival, a two-night event sponsored by the Crazy Mountain Brewery, drew destination guests of its own.Overall, more than 1,900 tickets were sold for Saturday, with another 1,300 or so attending Sunday’s show.Brewery co-owner Marisa Selvy said she talked with people from Florida and Michigan who came to the Vail Valley just for the festival, and who caught a couple of mornings of skiing while they were here. Others came from Denver and, of course, from around the valley.”It was just a really cool event – it was very family friendly and it wasn’t too cold,” Selvy said. “Craft beer and bluegrass just seems like a really natural pairing.” Selvy said she talked to people from the Front Range who wouldn’t have come to the valley over the holiday weekend, people who usually ski at less-busy times. “We were glad to get more people into the county – they stayed at hotels and ate at the restaurants, so it was helpful.”

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