Vail attracts thousands for Fourth |

Vail attracts thousands for Fourth

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS ppl. in town KA 07-03-10

VAIL, Colorado – There’s no sign of an economic downturn in Vail this weekend – the town is swarming with locals and tourists from all over the state and the country.

Mountain bikers were loading their bikes onto the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead as restaurants all over town were packed at lunchtime Saturday with visitors from Michigan to Florida.

Some Vail visitors came specifically for the Fourth of July festivities, while others just happened to pass through for the day.

Steve Carroll surprised his wife, Diane, and three children – Jake, Emily and Wade – with a getaway to Vail for the holiday weekend. The family lives in San Diego and had no idea they’d be in Vail for the Fourth of July weekend. They strolled through Lionshead Village Saturday afternoon taking pictures, and said they’re all looking forward to the outdoor activities in Vail.

Steve Carroll said he was doing some photography over the weekend as he and his family hike, swim, ice-skate and watch the fireworks show in Vail Sunday night.

Phillip and Paula Natonek, from Stevensville, Mich., came to visit their son’s girlfriend’s family in Denver this weekend. Everyone came up to Vail to watch the Sunday parade and fireworks, sit by the pool at their hotel and do a little shopping.

Mark Gordon, of West Vail, was walking through Vail Village around 12:30 p.m. and said it was so great to see so many people in town.

Both parking structures were packed, but not yet full, as of about 1 p.m. Saturday. The line to get on the gondola looked more like a line on a powder day in the middle of February.

The line was full of families like the Bauers, from Grand Junction, who were going to head up to the top of the mountain to look around and have some lunch. Justin Bauer graduated from Vail Mountain High School and said he hasn’t been back to Vail for the holiday weekend in a while. He planned to take his wife and children up to Piney Lake and maybe take them fly-fishing for the first time.

Bill Irwin and his 12-year-old daughter, Gabby, were visiting his niece, who lives in Beaver Creek. They roamed around Lionshead Saturday and said they’d probably end up back in Beaver Creek for the day. The Irwins, from Florida, learned of the Vail parade Saturday and said they’d likely end up going to check it out Sunday.

Not everyone planned on staying all weekend, but those in town for the day show how summertime has finally arrived in the High Country, bringing with it tourists out for a drive or for some outdoor recreation nearby.

Diane Ponder and Paul Huntington, from Missouri and Castle Rock, respectively, went riding ATV’s on Vail Pass Saturday morning and came down to Vail to have lunch.

Barb Kohlmetz was visiting friends in Frisco this weekend and they came over to Vail for the day Saturday. They would celebrate the Fourth of July back in Frisco, however.

“(Vail) is very nice,” Kohlmetz said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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