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Two big festivals in Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail DailyWith major food and film festivals happening at the same time in Vail, some people plan to indulge in both.
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VAIL, Colorado ” It’s about to start dumpin’ culture.

For the first time in local history, Vail’s big film and culinary festivals will take place during the same week.

The 18th annual Taste of Vail, set for Wednesday through Saturday, coincides with the fifth annual Vail Film Festival, scheduled for Thursday though Sunday. Typically those events keep to separate weeks in April.

The overlap between the festivals means foodies and film buffs can look forward to plenty of entertainment. At the same time, people who usually indulge in both festivals might have to choose between conflicting activities.

“It makes it a little tough for the guests that want to try and do both, but I think it’s just great that we have two high-caliber events going on,” Vail councilman Kevin Foley said.

Saturday night promises to be huge for both festivals; Taste of Vail will host its grand tasting as the film festival rolls out its closing gala.

“I wish I had a clone so I could go to the closing party and the grand tasting,” Foley said.

Not counting clones, thousands of people are expected to flock to the festivals. Film festival organizers anticipate 15,000 attendees while Taste of Vail planners expect 5,000.

This flurry of activity raises a question: can the village handle two festivals?

Event organizers say no major scuffles broke out over venues. The film festival claimed the new Arrabelle at Vail Square in Lionshead as its headquarters while Taste of Vail makes heavy use of the Vail Marriott.

The pair of festivals could put Vail’s parking structures to the test. Foley said the town’s lots are adequate for the two events, but a snowstorm that draws skiers could make space tight. Vail has 2,400 parking spaces for the public. Film festival organizers encourage event-goers to ride buses.

Event organizers say they unintentionally scheduled the festivals for the same time. Although Taste of Vail typically takes place during the second weekend in April, an early end to the ski season pushed the culinary festival to the weekend before, event administrator Amy Oberley said. The mountain closes April 13 this year compared with April 22 last year.

Oberley said she picked the dates for Taste of Vail in December 2006.

Film Festival organizer Scott Cross said the event always takes place during the first weekend in April. They firmed up the exact dates for this year’s festival about a year ago, he said. Neither event could move earlier because it would fall too close to Easter, when hotels and restaurants are too booked to participate, organizers said.

Taste of Vail and film festival planners did not consult with each other when they picked their dates for this year, but have since met up to discuss joint marketing opportunities. The concept fizzled.

“What Taste of Vail wanted to do was combine some marketing efforts and they (film festival organizers) did not have any interest,” Oberley said.

Sean Cross with the film festival said the two events have different sponsors and he wanted to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

“If there’s any kind of sponsor conflict we could have been in big trouble and that’s why we couldn’t commit to anything like that,” he said.

Although the festivals remain separate, that doesn’t mean they clash.

Oberley said most Taste of Vail events take place during the day, while the film festival reaches full tilt at night. Plus, both events attract their own devotees from out of town.

In fact, both festival planners agree the timing benefits everyone involved.

“We think it’s going to be very good for Vail and very good for both events because you’re going to have so many more people here, and the people that are here, they can come see some films, they can enjoy some of our event and they can also go to some Taste of Vail events. So for attendees, I think it’s a win win,” Scott Cross said.

West Vail resident Mason Davey said he plans to dabble in both festivals.

“My work schedule will dictate what I’m able to go see, but I’d like to get a piece of them both,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed both of them separately and they’re great, so to have them together, I’ll just try to get bits and pieces of each.”

Rob Lewis, a chef at Terra Bistro in Vail, said he usually attends both festivals. But this year, Lewis said he’ll be too busy preparing food for Taste of Vail to catch any flicks.

“My choice is made because of my job, so to speak,” he said. “I would prefer to go to both: Drink, eat and watch movies. It sounds awesome.”

Edwards resident Adel Akkad, a 19-year-old headed to film school in June, hopes see a few short films and the flick “Cake Eaters”

Although Akkad prefers the film festival over Taste of Vail, he says the town boasts an equal number of film and food lovers.

“I think it’s the whole buzz factor that will get people to decide where to go,” he said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.


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