Keep checking off your summer list | VailDaily.com

Keep checking off your summer list

Leigh Horton
Special to the Weekly

Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part series on things to put on your summer bucket list. Visit http://www.vaildaily.com to read nos. 1-5 in the first installment.

Summer days pass swiftly in these parts, so it's best to plan carefully so you're not staring at snowflakes come October, sad you didn't accomplish a fifth of what you'd hoped. Here are five things to consider adding to your summer bucket list:

1. See and be seen

Valley residents patiently await two things each summer: warm, sunny weather, and the Bravo! Vail concert schedule. Featuring the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, Bravo! Vail brings world-class music to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

For longtime attendees, lesser-known events provide a fresh perspective on classical music. Chamber music, soirees and free music events enhance this summertime Vail musical tradition. Beginning July 1 with the incomparable Dallas Symphony Orchestra, this season includes the free concerts, classical music and pop songs that have pleased generations of families. On-the-lawn picnics are a great way to expose children to music and have fun, or snag an assigned seat under cover for a more traditional musical evening. Visit bravovail.org for more information.

2. Go fish!

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You have two options on this one: grab a deck of cards or learn to fly-fish. With all the fly shops and gold-medal water surrounding Vail, grab a rod and leave the cards behind.

Gore Creek and the Eagle River provide easy access and abundant fish. The private property surrounding both requires guides who know the terrain (and, more importantly, public access points). These easy half-day locations are great for young families who want to just dip their toes in the sport.

For the more adventurous, combine a whitewater rafting experience with fishing, and grab a guide who will boat you down the Colorado River or Roaring Fork.

3. Dance under the stars

After a full-day hike, it's nice to watch other people work, especially well-trained dancers participating in the Vail International Dance Festival.

"Whether you're an aspiring ballerina, a hip-hop aficionado or a regular viewer of 'Dancing with Stars,' this festival will entertain you," said Meredith Steinke, dance festival coordinator. "Damian Woetzel, Vail International Dance Festival artistic director, has an incredible talent for cultivating new concepts and pushing the festival to new levels."

Exciting dancers and dance companies to watch at the upcoming festival include Misty Copeland, Sara Mearns, Amy Yakima, Colorado Ballet and Dance Heginbotham, Steinke said.

The festival taps into town July 27 with Savion Glover & The Otherz. Ballet and more avant-garde performances follow, appealing to a wide-range of dancers and non-dancers. Bring your dance shoes, as these artists will inspire. Visit http://www.vaildance.org.

4. Sing your heart out

What better way to embarrass the kids than by participating in an open mic night?

This summer, the Vail Ale House in West Vail (on Monday nights), Loaded Joe's in Avon (Sundays) and The Back Bowl in Eagle (Friday nights) open the stage and turn on their mics for brave artists and their cowering families.

Jason Jasurda, a morning manager at Loaded Joe's, said that "there are a lot of regulars who come to support the local artists" who entertain with their acoustic guitars and bands. "It's a way for them to play the music they want to play and express themselves."

Jasurda said their open mic nights flourish because "there aren't many bars like ours that are open all night with the same kind of events that we have. It's something better to do than just sit at the bar."

Visit loadedjoes.com and vailalehouse.com for details.

5. Ready, set, paint

With all the beauty in Vail, it's tempting to pick up a paintbrush and set to work on a masterpiece. Of course, for beginning painters, the result can look like a shapeless, gray mass. Don't give up — visit the Alpine Arts Center in Edwards for a lesson, and then consider stopping by one of the summer art festivals to see some professional artwork.

Alpine Arts Center classes are for all ages and skills, allowing students the freedom to paint whatever they love while learning techniques that will change the way they see art.

Lauren Miller, the owner of Alpine Arts Center, said "it's important for people to learn the basics about painting and plein-air painting before seeing professional artwork because it gives you more art appreciation. It's also a fun opportunity to get outside to capture the beauty around us."

After learning the basics, stop by Art on the Rockies (July 10-12 at CMC in Edwards) and the Beaver Creek Art Festival (Aug. 1-2 in Beaver Creek), all of which highlight Colorado and national talent and offer a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Visit http://www.vailartsfest.com, http://www.vailarts festival.com and http://www.beavercreek.com for more information.