Vail Valley welcomes new summer events |

Vail Valley welcomes new summer events

Melanie Wong
Jim Sanders of the Vail Recreation District, right, shows Reece Irwin-Pack, left, how to paint the soccer fields at Ford Park in Vail on Wednesday. The Rec District got an early start on summer activity preparation this year due to the mild spring weather. The new playing fields at Ford Park will be busy hosting a number of new sporting tournaments
Townsend Bessent | |

VAIL — This summer, the Vail Valley’s ever-busier slate of events welcomes several new festivals and tournaments. At the same time, some mainstay events are expected to grow and add some major highlights to their summer schedule.

New events include: Fly-fishing championships in August in Vail, the addition of a farmers market in Avon, a new mountain bike festival in early September and large sports tournaments in Vail.

Notable deletions from the summer repertoire include a USA Pro Challenge stage in the valley, culinary festival Feast and musical event Vail Rocks, which withdrew due to organizational changes.

The town decided not to fund Feast again because it was held on Memorial Day weekend, a time that brings fewer people to town, said Sybill Navas, Vail’s special events coordinator.

“We were looking at putting a lot of money into a time of year when there aren’t that many people in town,” said Navas. “In that sense, we’ve kind of walked away from the Memorial Day events.”

Support Local Journalism

Still, Navas thinks the events planned for the summer will make for a great mix that will attract a wide variety of people.

“Everyone recognizes we have a very full calendar and sometimes operating over capacity,” she said. “However, I think we got a better balance to the summer. We got some real quality proposals and are looking forward to some of these events.”

Sports on center stage

Major sports events that will hit the valley include the 2015 FIPS-Mouche World Youth Fly Fishing Championships, which will bring young fly fishers from 12 to 14 different countries to compete on the Eagle River, Sylvan Lake and the Dillon Reservoir. This is the first time the event has been hosted in the United States, and it is a precursor to the much-larger Men’s World Fly Fishing Championships in 2016.

“As a world championship, there’s a lot of pageantry, ceremonies and medal presentations,” said organizer John Knight. “The competition is also open to spectators. Our job is not only to showcase Colorado and Eagle County, but Vail as well.”

The organizers are still seeking volunteers. Visit http://www.wyffc for more information.

The beginning of fall also brings the Vail Outlier Off-Road Festival, a mountain biking weekend that features demos, an enduro race, a gran fondo, concerts and food. Set for Sept. 25-27 in Vail, organizers expect that a hefty prize purse will attract top athletes and plenty of attention for the new event.

Meanwhile, the new playing fields at Ford Park will be busy hosting a number of new sporting tournaments. The Kick It 3vs3 Soccer Tournament has historically hosted its regional tournament in Vail, but this summer, the national championships will come at the end of July.

Also watch for the Colorado Storm youth soccer club’s Summit Cup to be held in Vail and Avon from Aug. 7 to 9. Navas said that it is exciting to see the brand new Ford Park fields already drawing major events.

“It really speaks to the potential of the investment of building those fields. All of those events came from interest about that Ford Park project,” she said.

Music, markets, culture

A number of musical and cultural events are also popping up, including the Cielito Lindo Music and Heritage Festival in Avon’s Nottingham Park from Sept. 18 to 19.

The festival focuses on Hispanic music, heritage, food and drink, featuring headliners that include Grammy Award winners La Original Banda el Limon, popular Texas Norteno band El Duelo, Conjunto Primavera and Adan Romero.

Organizer and valley resident Carlos Mercado partnered with the town of Avon for the festival and said he expects it to draw 3,000 people each day.

“My approach to this was to bring something that would absolutely put Avon on the map for festivals,” he said. “We hope that it won’t only be the Hispanic community, but people of all cultures who can come enjoy this.”

Meanwhile, Avon is also getting a new weekly event — the Avon Farmers Market. Expect to find many of your favorite vendors and some new ones beginning June 13 on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Another musical event will boost the prestige of the already prestigious Bravo! Vail classical music festival. On July 9, NPR’s “From the Top” will do a live recording of the National Repertory Orchestra at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Jacqueline Taylor, Bravo! Vail’s director of artistic planning, said the new show is a chance for classical music fans to see some of the country’s finest young talent.

“We’ve wanted to be the host of the live show for a few years now,” Taylor said. “It’s wonderful national exposure for the festival. We’re also very excited that this is something our community can be energized by.”

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

Support Local Journalism