Plan your Eagle County summer bucket list |

Plan your Eagle County summer bucket list

Leigh Horton
Special to the Weekly
The Lionel Young Band is set to play the First Fridays concert series at the Edwards Riverwalk Backyard on July 3. The show is free.
Gretchen Troop Photography | Special to the Weekly |

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series about 10 must-do things this summer. For the rest of the list, check out next week’s Daily Weekly or visit

Summer in the Vail Valley is short, so make sure this season’s highlights are on your calendar.

1. Revisit the Wild West

The Beaver Creek Rodeo officially welcomes summer to the valley with its first event of the summer on June 25. Mutton bustin’ and barrel racing entertains everyone seeking a true American West experience.

July 23 marks the official start of the Eagle County Rodeo.

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“The tradition runs deep within our community and perpetuates the Old West,” said Tanya Dahlseid, facilities coordinator at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. “Many longtime residents attend because we come from ranching and farming roots, and the fair and rodeo are part of our heritage.”

This year’s Eagle County Rodeo features the Mustang Millionaire, a trainer that “takes wild mustangs and makes them into amazing show and work animals. It’s truly spectacular to watch the teamwork,” Dahlseid said.

For visitors preferring artistic athletics, a local artist expo will be featured the evening of June 26. Tickets for the rodeo can be purchased at

2. Reenact ‘The Sound of Music’

Eagle County offers amazing hiking options. The Bookworm of Edwards sells books with detailed maps and trail information. Or visit, pick up “The Vail Hiker” (the locals’ hiking bible) by Mary Ellen Gilliland or talk to any local about their favorite hikes.

Or head to Vail Pass for quick, easy-to-find trails with bucket loads of wildflowers. Wilder Gulch, just off the Vail Pass exit on Interstate 70, is an easy, kid-friendly hike of 4.5 miles. A little farther west is Shrine Ridge, a more challenging hike that’s worth the effort for July wildflowers. These in-and-out hikes are perfect for out-of-town guests looking for views, color and enough breath left to sing “The Hills Are Alive.”

3. Befriend a local farmer

For foodies, trying local produce is a vacation requirement. Luckily, the Vail Valley has a slew of farmers markets starting in June. Edwards, Avon, Minturn and Vail are the four upvalley markets and include music, art and gifts interspersed with organic, local produce and other food.

The best part of the markets is befriending the farmers. For children beginning to understand that food comes from places more exotic than grocery stores, talking to farmers and producers is a not-to-be missed experience.

The Edwards Corner Farmers Market (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), the Avon Farmers Market (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and the Minturn Market (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) all are underway and take place each Saturday through September. The Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show is 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Sunday through Oct. 4.

4. Become a film critic

The Vail Symposium, known for bringing thought-provoking speakers to town, debuts a new film series this summer with indie films geared to please the most discriminating critic.

“Films have a way of bringing people together across generations and income levels … which is why we agreed that a film series could fill that space in the summer,” said Tracey Flowers, the executive director of the Vail Symposium. “We made it free in order to make it as accessible to attend as possible and decided to host it outdoors so people don’t have to sacrifice those precious, but fleeting, outdoor summer moments in order to attend the screenings.”

Films will be shown July 26, Aug. 19, and Sept. 2. Shows begin at 6 p.m. at Little Beach Park in Minturn. For more information, visit

5. Have some family FUN

Every first Friday of the month, catch a free concert in the new Edwards Riverwalk Backyard. The events feature food and wine, children’s activities and Denver bands specializing in salsa, boogie-woogie, funk and blues.

The first concert featured Ritmo Jazz Latino, a salsa and Latin band, and attracted 200 people, according to Owen Hutchinson, development manager of Vail Jazz, one of the organizers.

“Vail Jazz’s ultimate goal with this series is to create a regular scene for community-oriented family fun, based around great jazz music and local business,” he said.

The July 3 show will feature the Lionel Young Band. Stop by for pre-concert drinks at 4:30 p.m., music at 5:30 p.m. and after-show parties at the Main St. Grill.

Visit for the full lineup.

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