Vail working to reimagine the summer events season |

Vail working to reimagine the summer events season

There's talk of having drive-in movies atop the Lionshead parking structure

Given current social distancing rules, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, for Vail to host events such as the Vail America Days parade.
Chris Dillmann |
Moved or missing Here’s a look at some of Vail’s events that have been canceled, postponed or reimagined.
  • Bravo! Vail Music Festival: There won’t be a 2020 season.
  • GoPro Mountain Games: Moved from June to the end of August.
  • Vail Farmers Market: Will start in a virtual format beginning June 21.
  • Hot Summer Nights: It’s uncertain if there will be any shows this year.

Events are a key piece of Vail’s economic puzzle. But that puzzle has been scrambled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the moment, it looks like even a sharply curtailed events season this summer won’t begin until late June at the earliest.

In a Tuesday presentation to the Vail Town Council, Vail Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar said events through July 1 have been either canceled or postponed. The Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show is expected to begin June 21, but in a virtual format with products from vendors either shipped or delivered to customers.

Given that even the most optimistic progress on recovery would ultimately allow gatherings of no more than 250 people, Vlaar said it’s unlikely that either the market or concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater would be realistic this summer. And, given social distancing rules, there’s little chance the Vail America Days parade can be held in anything like its historic form.

Vlaar said town officials are working closely with event producers.

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“We believe in partnerships with producers and in their ability to reimagine or postpone (events),” Vlaar said.

Being flexible

In some cases, that means moving events to either late summer or fall — the GoPro Mountain Games is now set for late August. Vlaar said there have been discussions about moving concerts and other sporting events to late summer and early fall. But, she added, those kinds of events will be among the last events to return.

In other cases, events will have to take a year off.

“We’re trying to stay as positive as we can… and move forward with creative, innovative solutions,” Vlaar said.

Councilmember Jenn Bruno noted that farmers markets are continuing in New York City and Los Angeles.

Even limited in-person offerings and fewer visitors could bring “a little vitality, even if it’s just for our locals,” Bruno said.

Vlaar said that market producer Angela Mueller is looking into ways to hold a market limited to 250 people.

Mayor Dave Chapin said he’s hopeful that town officials can find a way to hold some kind of fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

“That’s an opportunity if we do it the right way,” Chapin said. “People can spread out and can view it from many different places. … People can social distance.”

Regarding other ways to do events while maintaining social distance, Vlaar said there’s been discussion about creating a drive-in theater atop the Lionshead parking structure.

While the current Bravo! Vail Music Festival schedule has been canceled, Vlaar said there’s been discussion about smaller, more intimate performances. Something like a string quartet performance in Vail Village or Lionshead could provide some entertainment and might encourage visitors to stop for dinner or a cocktail.

That could help encourage people to come and still find parts of the “Vail they love,” Vlaar said.

Chapin said strolling performers in the summer could be a bit like Christmas carolers in December and encouraged Vlaar to continue to pursue ways to bring music and other entertainment to the villages.

“Let’s be action-oriented here,” Chapin said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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