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Lionshead getting back into events

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

VAIL ” After a long couple of years, the Arrabelle at Vail Square is finished, and business owners in Lionshead have big plans to bring people back to an area that mostly clear ” for the moment ” of the cacophony of construction.

The Lionshead Merchants Association has received a chunk of money from the town of Vail’s Commission on Special Events to bring jazz, street fairs and other activities back to the area.

While the business group has been in existence for several years, it might have taken a little new blood to give the organization a little push.

Brian Nolan, who owns several restaurants in Vail and Beaver Creek, opened the Vail Chophouse and Blue Moose Pizza in Lionshead this ski season. Nolan has a reputation for bringing enthusiasm to just about any venture, and a couple of people involved in the new slate of activities say Nolan’s involvement has been a big asset.

“He played a huge role,” said Rob LeVine, general manager of The Antlers lodge. “It might not have happened without him.”

Nolan, typically, was either in Eagle County School Board meetings or traveling this week, but Sarah Franke, the communications director for his restaurant company, said the plans for Lionshead have been a team effort.

“He just stressed that it’s as important to embrace our new community (Lionshead) as much as the one’s we’re already involved in,” Franke said.

Laurie Asmussen, a local event promoter responsible for the Vail Arts Festival, said she’s looking forward to coming back to Lionshead.

“We’ll be snaking through the mall again,” Asmussen said. “It’s going to be such a pleasant environment. It’s been a long haul for those businesses.”

Businesses will also get a boost on July 4, when the Vail America Days ends in Lionshead for the first time in a couple of years.

“That’s huge for them,” Asmussen said.

Besides festivals, plans for the summer also include a Friday afternoon club in Lionshead.

Franke said that event will provide a different kind of party than the popular Friday events at Eagles Nest.

“That has the potential to be a huge asset to the local community and businesses,” Franke said.

“It’s not an effort to compete with the events on the mountain,” Franke added. “As the night goes on, we see families coming down for this.”

The return of events to Lionshead has LeVine excited, both for this summer and for the summers to come.

“I expect we’ll have a much better 2008 than 2007,” he said. “And I expect we’ll have a better 2009 than 2008.”


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