GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Colorado’s oldest continuously held civic festival and the state’s oldest military band are joining forces to celebrate the strawberry this weekend.
The 101st Army Band of the Colorado National Guard will play the historic 117th Strawberry Days at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Sayre Park after marching in the annual parade. The long-running community event features live music, art vendors, festival food, strawberries and ice cream, carnival rides, the Miss Strawberry Days pageant, and more.
“The 101st is the oldest military band in Colorado, dating back to 1937,” said SSG David Morrill, publicity sergeant for 101st Army Band. “It consists of 40 citizen-soldiers who perform together part-time as musical ambassadors for the United States Army, the National Guard, and the state of Colorado.”
Morrill said soldiers performing for the Strawberry Days crowd during and after the annual parade represent all walks of life.
“Teachers, lawyers, nurses, police officers and stay-at-home mothers come together as professional musicians to honor and entertain the service members, veterans, and citizens of Colorado,” he said.
The 101st Army Band performs as a large-format concert band — breaking down into several smaller performing groups known as the Mile High 101 Rock Band, Open Range Country Band and 101st Army Dixieland Jazz Band — for a patriotic salute to U.S. military and veterans.
“The marching band will march in the Strawberry Days parade at 10 a.m., followed by the Mile High 101 rock band from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Open Range Country Band from 12:30-1:15 p.m., and the 101st Army Dixieland Band from 1:30-2:15 p.m. on the main stage in the park,” Morrill said.
The 101st Army Band also plays a free patriotic concert at 7 p.m. today at the New Ute Events Center in Rifle.
“This is all part of the band’s annual concert tour around the state of Colorado,” Morrill said. “Our ‘Salute to Veterans’ will be performed at tonight’s concert, honoring those who have served with the playing of their respective service song.”
The free live music at Strawberry Days starts at 7 p.m. today with Colorado party band and Strawberry Days crowd favorite, Boogie Machine. The band, which plays ’70s disco funk and rock, was chosen to return to Glenwood’s biggest party by fans on Facebook. The popular People’s Choice Band Contest allowed the public to pick which bands they wanted to headline Friday and Saturday nights. Nacho Men, the Colorado band that has opened for Little Richard, Chuck Berry and the Doobie Brothers, will play their covers of ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s hits and swing and disco music at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Music throughout the weekend also includes Strawberry Days Battle of the Bands winner Already Gone, which has been featured on Radio CMC and will perform at 5 p.m. on the Sayre Park main stage. The winner of the Glenwood Idol contest, which took place this week, performs immediately following Already Gone. Second place Battle of the Bands winner Black Acoustic plays at 3 p.m. Saturday at the park, while contest participants The Missing Link, Let Them Roar, and Leveraction take the stage Sunday afternoon starting at 12:30.
Along with free live music, the Strawberry Days festival also draws crowds to its annual parade downtown on Grand Avenue starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. This year, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association celebrates its 95th anniversary with a float featuring nearly 25 of the chamber’s former board members and chairs and executive directors.
“We will have Carleton Hubbard Jr., who will be representing his father, Carleton Hubbard Sr., who was our secretary in 1922,” said Marianne Virgili, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association executive director.
The 95th anniversary float will also include Ted Shelton representing V.B. Shelton, board chair in 1954, former executive director Georgia Bowlby, and Don Vanderhoof, board chair in 1963 and 1989.
“We’ll also have Hank and John Bosco representing M.C. Bosco, who was board chair in 1956,” Virgili said. “It’s amazing who we have representing the chamber. It has been really great working with many of them again.”
After the parade at 11 a.m., Sayre Park hosts one of Strawberry Days signature events, the serving of free strawberries and ice cream for the community as the state’s oldest military band plays. The old-fashioned treat has been served since strawberry growers first brought their fresh produce into town — perfect for Colorado’s oldest continuously held civic festival.