Silverthorne events celebrate community this fall
Locals Appreciation Party, Pumpkin Fest promise weekend of free fun
Shoulder season is when things tend to slow down in Summit County, and the town of Silverthorne is taking advantage of the moment to encourage people to relax, hang out with neighbors and have a great time. This Friday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 3, are two events aimed at locals: First Friday and Pumpkin Fest.
“Our events are just about celebrating our community and getting people to come out and meet each other and celebrate what’s great about Silverthorne,” Arts and Culture Manager Sydney Schwab said.
October’s First Friday is the return of the Locals Appreciation Party. Usually held in May as a kickoff for summer, the coronavirus pandemic delayed it until this month. The outdoor celebration brings back free beer, wine, liquor and music to the lawn of the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center.
The party in 2019 had a little over 30 vendors and an estimated 3,000 people attending. Schwab is expecting roughly that many people again, adding that other First Fridays have been well received by locals and visitors itching to get out and about. This year, almost 40 beverage providers donating their time and product span a range of local breweries like Pug Ryan’s Brewery and The Bakers’ Brewery to Front Range spirits from The Family Jones and 477 Distilling.
Also returning is the Chris Bauer Band, which has been playing the blues at every Locals Appreciation Party so far.
“It’s kind of becoming a tradition to have them a part of the event,” Schwab said.
Chris Bauer will perform from 4-5 p.m., followed by a series of announcements, and Boulder-born The Samples will headline from 5:30-7 p.m.
Another traditional aspect of the party is participation from Locals Liquor. The store that started as a small shop on Bryan Avenue in 2005 had a tasting and giveaway event on its patio — at the newer Blue River Parkway location in 2017 — that sparked the idea for the appreciation concept. After working with the town to gather vendors, the first event was held in 2018.
Giving back to the region is important to owner Chris Carran, who said the store has a 10% discount for local residents, helped raise money for air filtration systems at the Silverthorne Elementary School and donates proceeds from sales of the annual Tommyknocker Brewery Companion Ale to pet-related causes. Donations at the free Locals Appreciation Party are encouraged, with new beneficiaries chosen each year to spread the love. Building Hope Summit County, Bristlecone Health Services, Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s rental assistance program, Summit Advocates for Victims of Assault and the Summit Musicians Relief Fund are this year’s supported nonprofits with a theme of pandemic-related support.
“For example, Summit Musicians Relief Fund, a lot of those musicians struggled during the pandemic because they weren’t performing anymore, so we wanted to try to reach organizations that were heavily impacted by the pandemic or heavily helping out at that time,” Schwab said.
Carran said a few thousand dollars was raised the first year followed by $14,000 in 2019. She thinks 2021 will be even better. Carran is glad that the charities chosen are ones that were active in supporting Summit County throughout the pandemic. She said the community should congratulate themselves for making sacrifices to keep others safe and businesses open as tourism continued.
“Life went on for everybody else, but we had to don masks, we had retail stores literally fighting with people coming in trying to get masks (on), people not understanding that we’re short staffed,” Carran said.
Locals Appreciation Party
When: 4-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1
Where: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center lawn, 460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne
Cost: Free, donations encouraged
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3
Where: Rainbow Park, 590 Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne
A new part of the party is an auction of rare whiskey and bourbon bottles to support the nonprofits. After doing a raffle in 2019, Locals Liquor gathered two years’ worth of allocations of limited releases such as Blanton’s, E.H. Taylor Jr. and Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year. Half of the bottles went into an online auction that ended Thursday, Sept. 30, with the other half reserved specifically for an app-based, in-person silent auction at the party Friday.
Carran first became hooked donating the allocations when she gave a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year to a Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser that brought in $6,000 to help send a kid to Disneyland. Later on, she raised $950 for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center with a 10-year-old bottle. Carran said she could sell the spirit to a collector who simply drives from store to store or have a greater impact by auctioning it off for charity.
“The exponential fundraising that we can do with a bottle of bourbon is amazing,” Carran said.
Most of Friday’s auction is liquor, but Schwab said two snowboards painted by Erika Donaghy at past First Fridays will also be auctioned off.
Another change for the Locals Appreciation Party is that the food won’t be free this year. Instead, a percentage of sales go toward the selected nonprofits. The six Silverthorne vendors supplying sustenance are Baja Chimayo and Colorado Marketplace and Bakery from the Bluebird Market Hall currently under construction, Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza, Fritangas Mexican Restaurant, Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails and Melody’s Food Cart.
“It’s been a long year and a half, and I think this is a great way to celebrate all of the hard work and all the dedication that we did to make sure that we can keep the county going,” Carran said.
The festivities don’t end with last call on Friday. Sunday’s Pumpkin Fest, which has been happening since 2002, is an opportunity for families to get into the fall spirit. Rainbow Park will turn into a pumpkin patch with 2,800 free pumpkins spread out on the field.
Last October’s Art Stroll featured free pumpkins, as well, but Schwab said the town brought back the solo event since it caters to different demographics than the Locals Appreciation Party.
Among the activities guests can expect are bounce houses, face painting, fall crafts and pumpkin painting with The Frosted Flamingo, a spooky circus from the Salida Circus, pony rides from Blue River Horse Center, and fall drinks and treats from Red Buffalo Coffee & Tea and Colorado Marketplace and Bakery.
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