With the arrival of Memorial Day Weekend, Breckenridge is again looking forward to three months packed with rodeos, races and other events.
The summer season really begins in Summit County in mid-June, when the weather is more reliable, but visitors begin trickling into mountain resort communities in late May as schools release students and temperatures begin to climb on the Front Range and in other parts of the country.
Breckenridge has put an increased focus in recent years on enhancing its June-September events lineup, with the goal of eventually becoming as much a summer tourism destination as it is a winter one.
The summer of 2013 will include all the fanfare, festivities and, ideally, fireworks visitors have come to anticipate from “the Kingdom,” but this year Breck is taking some of its most popular events to the next level.
The summer PRCA ProRodeo, a huge hit with locals and visitors in its pilot season last year, is back for a longer run this summer. Booked for 11 weekends, the rodeo will again feature performances and activities on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as cowboy dinners, mutton busting and clown appearances.
The USA Pro Challenge, one of Colorado’s most grueling and well-attended professional road-bike races, will also be a bigger event when it again cycles through town in August. Breckenridge landed both a stage finish and a start, and organizers promise programming and festivities to welcome teams and spectators into town and to see them off the following day.
The annual Oktoberfest, a large-scale beer festival that rounds off the summer events, has an expanded three-day schedule and may be ramped up this year with additional space and seating to accommodate growing crowds who flock to the beer garden and other vendors.
The town will also unveil a new putt-putt golf course on the site of the outdoor ice rink, which will be melted and covered over for the summer. Breckenridge staffers say it will be accompanied by a variety of train-themed games and activities at the Rotary-Snowplow Park to go with the centerpiece of the site, a recovered historic train engine that once delivered mail, supplies and people to Breckenridge from the Front Range.
The summer season will again be packed with cultural events and attractions from artist workshops and exhibitions to a full slate of concerts and shows. The arts district and the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO), which is based at the Riverwalk Center, will join forces this summer for a family-themed weekend of cultural entertainment. Art-related activities for children will be held during the day with a special children’s concert in the evening. Officials say they’re working to organize some family-friendly dining options in between as well.
The NRO will mark its 20th anniversary season this year.
“We’re going forward with it and continue to have fun,” executive director Doug Adams said.
Representatives with the Breckenridge Resort Chamber also hinted at a few big-name concert planned for the summer, but have not yet identified who will be playing.
Breck Bike Week, another headline event of the summer season, will return this year in August rather than July, with a lineup of bike demos, bike-in movie nights, trail-building clinics, tune-ups and races for kids and adults.
The Backstage Theatre is also gearing up for a busy few months, with plans to present three celebrated performances: “Avenue Q,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
The summer in Breckenridge is also packed with weekly events, parades, races and activities. For more information, visit www.gobreck.com.