A 3-ring Fourth of July weekend | SummitDaily.com

A 3-ring Fourth of July weekend

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news

With all the zany events going on at Copper’s 3 Ring Weekend, it’s a bit tricky to completely nail down the event. It blends running races, a Primp My Ride bicycle and skateboard parade, hula hoop making, storytelling, and of course, free music geared toward families.Originally, the event emerged as a full-blown circus with aerial acrobats and a big-top tent, but as guests gave input on what they’d like to see, it morphed more into a marathon and trail race, combined with kids’ events.”It’s always had a playful carnival element, as well as an active athletic component,” said Erin Woods, marketing manager of the Copper Chamber and The Village.Now, it caters to active families enjoying “good, clean fun,” Woods said, adding that she has received several e-mails from parents who like to run and are excited to fuse their passion for racing with a family friendly lineup of music and activities.All events, like the Primp My Ride parade, in which kids decorate their bikes and boards, incorporate a “green” aspect. Kids use last year’s colorful village maps in a shredded form to create pom-poms, toilet paper rolls to make necklaces (or even horns) and aluminum cans for added flair. The environmentally friendly aspect came in naturally, as participating groups and professionals showed a deep commitment to recycling and composting.”It evolved into a family community celebration that I think to be genuine and authentic has to have a ‘green’ aspect to it,” Woods said.

The family vibe begins at 6 p.m. today with Rojos Calientes, a local acoustic band that draws inspiration from Peruvian and South American folk music, gypsy jazz, bluegrass, Americana and jam.On Saturday at noon, Billy Kelly and The Blah Blah Blahs entertain the crowd.Kelly unintentionally began a career in kids’ music last year, when he released an album containing songs he had written over the years for his two kids, who are now 7 and 10 years old. He thought his local community might buy some copies, and it would end there. (In the meantime, he has performed alternative country music since the mid 1990s.) But when National Public Radio reviewed his album, “Thank You for Joining the Happy Club,” and Sirius Satellite Radio picked it up, it became known nationwide, which led to gigs throughout the country.His next CD, “Is This Some Kind of Joke?” is scheduled to come out in August. It features Davy Jones, of The Monkees, singing “Me and My Haircut.” Kelly brought Jones aboard by writing the musician and telling him “The Monkees Greatest Hits” inspired his songs, because the group made music focusing on harmonies, vocals and instrumentation that both kids and adults liked. On both of his albums, Kelly strives to write indie-rock type of tunes that adults can listen to and not immediately recognize they’re aimed toward kids.”I really try to avoid writing anything that would put me in the shoes of a kid,” Kelly said. “I avoid talking down to them …”He doesn’t try to pretend he can relate to catching the bus or going to bed early. Instead, he focuses on things he wonders about or finds funny, that kids would too. For example, his G-rated humor covers the life of a cardboard box and feeling all fancy because you got a new haircut.”I’m kind of a corny guy, but I’m also sentimental. I like … creating little pockets of happiness in the world,” he said. “I write catchy stuff and try to be entertaining.”After Kelly, at 4 p.m., Spin Cycle and DJ Laundry launch people into the 1980s. Then The Martini Shot, a six-piece, pop-rock band based in Southern Colorado, takes the stage. Music from Barenaked Ladies, Reel Big Fish and 311 have inspired the musicians’ sound.

Copper’s challenging Trail 10K race starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the base of Copper and winds along trails that Copper refers to as “challenging but not too difficult.” At 9 a.m. Sunday, the Copper Mountain Half Marathon incorporates the bike path up to Vail Pass, so it’s no wonder this event is known as one of the toughest and highest-elevation half marathons in the nation. Kids get a break, with a mini-marathon through the Village.During the races, kids can check out the Solar Powered Bubble Tower, a self-sufficient bubble maker that produces a variety of shapes, sizes and colors in bubble form, without using electricity. The Conscious Carnival features storytelling with an eco-twist; kids learn about environmental issues through fun activities. Jugglers, stilt walkers, face painters and hula hoop makers will also be on hand during the 3 Ring.

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