Vail Summer Sports-Fest starts today |

Vail Summer Sports-Fest starts today

Sarah Dixon
Daily file photoNeil Hendrix gets airborne in the half-pipe at last year's Vail Summer Sports Fest. This years festival starts today and continues Sunday in Vail and Lionshead.

“I expect this to be, hands down, the biggest event in Vail this summer,” says Jeff Brausch of Highline Sports and Entertainment, producers of the Sports-Fest.The events, which run all day Saturday and Sunday in both Vail Village and Lionshead, include sports demonstrations, live music and, of course, plenty of beer.The nation’s largest travelling half-pipe will be set up near the gondola in Lionshead, where some of the biggest names in skating will be pulling their best moves. Up the hill, by the ticket windows, there will be a corral for mountain-bike trials.”Basically, these guys will be defying gravity on their bikes,” Brausch said. “It’s mind-blowing.”Other features in Lionshead include a DJ spinning tunes, a professional announcer and bungee-jumping.In Vail Village, meanwhile, live music will be played throughout the day both today and Sunday. Local favorites include Little Hercules and the Harry Baxter Band.The intersection of Bridge St. and Gore Creek Dr. will feature flatland BMX demos, which Brausch describes as a skill not unlike “break-dancing on a bike.”Further down Bridge St., daredevil trials experts will be riding the rocks of Slifer Fountain.That’s right, on the rocks of the fountain.”No matter what time you hit Vail or Lionshead, there will be something to totally capture your attention,” Brausch said.But if bikes and boards aren’t your bag, the concert Saturday night in Ford Park will certainly fulfill your adrenaline quota for the weekend.G. Love & the Special Sauce and 80’s cult sensation the Violent Femmes will be double-heading at an outdoor concert slated to begin at 7 p.m.”The musical portion of this year’s sports fest really represents a great cross-section of styles and eras with these two bands,” Brausch said.Furthermore, the proceeds from the concert are going to a good cause.The two bands are playing in support of the Vail Valley Medical Center’s new orthopedic and sports medicine facilities, scheduled to open next weekend.”This show will be the perfect way to bring the first day of Sports-Fest full circle,” Brausch said. “We are extremely fortunate to be able to bring these two great acts together, especially for such a worthy cause.”Sunday’s events kick off with the Run for the Hills run/walk race at 9 a.m. The race proceeds will benefit the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation, a local organization that offers support and financial aid to area cancer patients.”This sports fest is an all-encompassing outdoor experience,” Brausch concluded. “If you can only come to the Vail Valley for one weekend this summer, this is the one.”Sports events in the villages will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday.Gates to Ford Park will open to concert-goers at 5:30 p.m., and a donation of $10 toward construction of the new hospital wing is requested at the door.

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