| PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Vaudeville debuts seasonal holiday show Friday

New vaudevillians Nattia Trout and Brandon Sutorius rehearse the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue’s holiday show Nov. 18.
Rich Allen/Post Independent
If You Go …

What: Glenwood Vaudeville Revue’s Holiday Show Opening Night

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, 915 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs

Cost: $16-25

More information: GVRShow.com

John Goss had no shortage of source material to draw from in creating the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue’s 12th annual holiday show.

COVID-19, mudslides and more gave the dinner theater plenty to work with in advance of Friday’s opening show. Infusing new bits and classic ones, the show’s managing director is looking to bring the Vaudeville’s “quality stupid” back for another year.

“We’ve got some new stuff in there that I’m very excited about,” Goss said. “Our shows are a wide variety of anything from just a beautiful, serious number that’s a unique kind of arrangement to make you go, ‘Wow, that was pretty cool,’ to something just as wacky and goofy and stupid and nutty as you could possibly come up with in a quality way. That’s what I tell people all the time — we’re quality stupid.”

Glenwood Vaudeville Revue Founder John Goss directs a dress rehearsal for the holiday show Nov. 18.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

Downtown Glenwood Springs’ old Masonic lodge is now a decade-plus into its new life, housing the burlesque-comedy antics of Goss’ vision, from parody songs about the town’s roundabout to visual tricks imposing grown adult heads on dancing baby bodies to holiday-themed bits like rap battles between Santa and Mrs. Claus against Mary Poppins and birds.

The holiday show continues its core cast of Goss, Tom Erickson, Gerald DeLisser and Vid Weatherwax on the piano. It added a trio of new vaudevillians — recent Colorado Mesa University graduates Brandon Sutorius and Brooklyn Buhre and Nattia Trout, who moved to Battlement Mesa a year and a half ago.

“I didn’t know anything about the vaudeville, to be honest,” Trout said. “Someone sent me an audition notice; I came and I got it. … I had no idea. It’s so much fun.”

The variety show lost a significant portion of its 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 spikes. Goss even established a GoFundMe page due to on-and-off again cancellations.

For financial and artistic reasons, he’s hoping the variety show turned local holiday staple can sustain a full season this year.

“I’m blown away when we get multiple generations that have been coming in for 10 years and make it their regular tradition to see every single holiday show,” Goss said. “They always get a big table of 12 for their families and literally four generations and kids that you’ve seen grow up. It’s unbelievable.”

As COVID-19 rates begin peaking again as the shows open, Goss is hopeful that certain aspects of the show can help it proceed, like group tables instead of shoulder-to-shoulder theater seating. He said that to the best of his knowledge, the cast is fully vaccinated.

But the nature of the show, namely the audience interaction, isn’t conducive to the pandemic era. The show is making adjustments and monitoring guidance and numbers.

“I really don’t know what’s going to happen and how careful we’re going to have to be, but we’re being very careful,” Goss said.

The revue’s website requests that all guests wear masks regardless of vaccination status and ask that any people who have shown symptoms two weeks prior to a show not attend.

The holiday show will play every Friday through Sunday through Jan. 8, adding shows every Thursday starting Dec. 2. Extra shows are added between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Sunday matinees start at 5 p.m., and all others begin at 6 p.m.

Ticket reservations and more information are available on the revue’s website, GVRShow.com.

Turkey Trots are a fun family Thanksgiving tradition, and there seems to be one around every corner

A throng of people gather near the clubhouse for the 33rd annual Thanksgiving 5K in 2018 at the Glenwood Springs Golf Course.
Kyle Mills/Post Independent

I’d seen the tell-tale signs of some neighborhood fun on my day-after-Thanksgiving run while visiting family in Golden a few years ago — white chalk leading around a street corner marking the way.

So when we planned a return trip over the rivers and through the woods of Colorado’s high country to the Front Range for Thanksgiving in 2019, I inquired with my brother-in-law about what I figured must be a local turkey trot.

He did some asking-around and, sure enough, learned that a neighbor a few blocks over organized a small, word-of-mouth, very informal turkey day run on Thanksgiving morning each year — complete with bacon, doughnuts, coffee and even bloody marys and BYO beer at the finish line.

We conspired to join in the holiday shenanigans, and it turned into one of the more memorable turkey trot experiences I’ve ever had.

I’ve done a lot of them, from many a Turkey Day 5K on “The Hill” (Glenwood Springs Golf Course), to the lower-key Carbondale Turkey Trot, and even Colorado’s premier Thanksgiving Day run, the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot in Denver’s Washington Park, which attracts thousands of runners.

Costumed runners in the 2020 Carbondale Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

All are unique in their own way, but you can always count on people in turkey costumes or wearing turkey hats or feathers, maybe even a pumpkin pie outfit or two.

I’ve never seen anyone dressed as cranberry sauce, though.

In 2019, it had snowed pretty good a few days before, so the streets of northeast Golden were caked with a layer of packed snow and ice. Once the course wound up out of the neighborhood and onto a single track trail along the flank of South Table Mountain, we were breaking trail through about a foot of snow — well, at least the front runners were.

Back at the finish line, we ate and drank, then headed back to the house to help cook, eat and drink some more before collapsing on the couch for some football watching.

The perfect Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey Trot-ditions

Turkey family trots down a path.

Many families, along with lots of hard-core and recreational runners, have carved out a Thanksgiving morning or weekend tradition by running a turkey trot in their community, or wherever it is they’re visiting for the holiday.

Locally, trots are scheduled to take place on Thanksgiving Day next week in Carbondale, Basalt and Rifle, all starting at 9:30 a.m. Anytime Fitness between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, also hosts its third Burn the Turkey 5K on the Friday after, at 10 a.m. on the Rio Grande Trail behind the gym.

One of the bigger events, Glenwood Springs’ Turkey Day 5K, is taking a hiatus for a second-straight year due to lingering concerns about larger gatherings in the relatively tight quarters at the golf course.

Nevertheless, co-founder Mike Vidakovich said he plans to take part in one of the other area trots next week.

“But it won’t be the same,” he said.

Vidakovich and longtime Glenwood Springs Golf Course Superintendent Jim Richmond started the Turkey Day 5K “on a whim” in 1986.

“The very first one we had 17 runners at the golf course and brother Bob Willey and Linda Young were the inaugural winners,” Vidakovich said.

Willey, who died a few years ago, and trot regular Jack Green even gave a traditional holiday blessing from the roof of the old clubhouse.

“The Turkey Day 5K was Thanksgiving to me,” said Vidakovich, who has run the race every year it has taken place. In more recent years, the race has served as a benefit for the Glenwood Springs High School swimming and cross country teams.

“It’s always been part of my spiritual fiber,” he said.

Vidakovich vividly remembers one year when legendary local runner Paul Driskill showed up several months after having been badly hurt when he was hit by a car while running, and walked the course with his granddaughter.

Runners line up for the 2018 Frisco Turkey Day 5K.

Just this month, Runner’s World magazine wrote about the history of the turkey trot, and how it has become one of the most popular race days in America.

“The inaugural trot took place 125 years ago in Buffalo, New York,” writer Jenny McCoy notes. “The local YMCA hosted an 8K cross-country race that Thanksgiving Day, drawing just six participants — and only four of them made it to the finish line.”

The event has continued every year since, even during the pandemic last year with a limited field of 125 runners, making it the oldest continuous footrace in North America, according to the Runner’s World article.

Even so, running a footrace on Thanksgiving morning isn’t such an eastern U.S. thing, notes Andrea Chacos of Carbondale, who grew up in Connecticut.

One year, while she and avid runner husband Charlie Chacos were visiting her family for the holiday, she said Charlie located a 5K turkey trot nearby.

She signed the whole family up, much to their chagrin.

“My brother never ran again,” she said. “But what a great way to start the weekend of debauchery. And where else can you wear a turkey hat, for god’s sake?”

Those turkey hats and other accessories won the Chacos family, including their now teenaged children, the costume contest at the Carbondale Turkey Trot a few years ago.

It’s now become an annual family tradition.

“The pushback is a little stronger now that they’re teenagers,” Chacos acknowledged. “But I just tell them if they want to eat later, they have to hang with mom and dad for the morning turkey trot.

“It’s just a nice way to set the tone for a day that’s supposed to be about family,” she said.

Where to trot

Carbondale Turkey Trot 5K or 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 25, Carbondale Recreation and Community Center, 567 Colorado Ave., (race day registration starts at 9 a.m., or register online). Prize drawing, swag and a photo booth. More info at CarbondaleRec.com

Participants get into the holiday spirit as they wait for the start of the 33rd annual Thanksgiving 5K in 2018 at the Glenwood Springs Golf Course.
Kyle Mills/Post Independent

Basalt Elementary School annual Gobble Wobble 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk: 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, BES, 151 Cottonwood Drive, (race day registration starts at 8:30 a.m. on site, or in advance online). The event serves as a fundraiser for STEM education at BES. Raffle prizes and more. Info at bit.ly/basaltgobble

Rifle High School Turkey Trot 5K: Little Gobblers run at 9:15 a.m., Big Gobblers at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 25, Deer Field Park, 300 E. 30th St., Rifle. The event serves as a fundraiser for the RHS track team. Info at RacePlace.com/Rifle High School Turkey Trot.

Anytime Fitness Burn the Turkey 5K: 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 26, 7025 Colorado Highway 82, Glenwood Springs. Canned food and cash donations go to LIFT-UP for its food assistance programs. Enjoy a beer at Ball Brewery afterwards. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Frisco Turkey Day 5K Fun Run, Frisco, Colorado

Elsewhere around the region/state: Eagle Vail Turkey Trot; Frisco Turkey Day 5K; Steamboat Springs Turkey Trot; Buena Vista Turkey Trot; Durango Turkey Trot; Pagosa Springs Turkey Trot 5K; Mile High United Way Turkey Trot 4 Miler; Boulder Thanksgiving Day 5K; Louisville Turkey Trot; Bailey Turkey Trot; Broomfield Turkey Day 5K/10K; Fitness Avenue Turkey Trot 5K, Johnstown; Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Run; Littleton Gobble Wobble Run; Gravy Boat 5K, Denver; High Plains Turkey Trot, Sterling; Highlands Ranch Turkey Day 5K; Loveland Turkey Trot; Parker Turkey Day 5K; Pilgrimage Run, Erie; Turkey ROCK Trot, Castle Rock; YMCA Pueblo Turkey Trot; Estes Park YMCA of the Rockies Turkey Trot 5K; Colorado Springs YMCA Turkey Trot 5K.

More information on these and other Thanksgiving weekend footraces here [runningintheusa.com]

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Cassidy Willey’s personal one-woman show comes home

Cassidy Willey’s “As Close As I Can.”
Michael CB Stevens/Courtesy photo
If You Go …

What: Cassidy Willey’s “As Close As I Can”

Where: Thunder River Theatre, 67 Promenade, Carbondale

When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $30

More info: ThunderRiverTheatre.com

In the place where Cassidy Willey lives and her parents graced, her already powerful one-woman show takes on a new meaning.

Willey’s “As Close I Can,” premiered in Denver over the summer but came back to the Thunder River Theatre last weekend to perform her personal story of overcoming grief in front of her “home audience,” many of whom knew Bob and Michele Willey.

“Thunder River is an artistic home for me and has been for a very long time,” Cassidy Willey said. “To be able to share in a theater space and have an audience as witness, an audience that I know has my back, and to lead people through an emotional experience is something that I’m really grateful for.”

The show, closing this weekend, follows Willey’s experience of losing her mother in the same year she became one. It explores the emotional spectrum of grief, joy and love through her lens.

Michele Willey passed away in 2018 after a long fight with cancer, just seven months after the birth of Cassidy’s son, Elliott. Four years before that, Bob Willey passed.

Cassidy’s parents were both members of the community. Michele was a local artist, and Bob was an educator, runner and actor.

The show takes the audience through the experience of losing parents and an ode to theater, a common thread throughout the family. Bob and Cassidy were performers, and Michele was a stage manager or would work the sound booth. The trio never collaborated at Thunder River, but they all worked there at one point or another.

Kristin Carlson serves as a script consultant and offstage voice, Renee Prince directs, and lighting and sound is designed by Sean Jeffries.

“It really is looking at a very difficult year through a lens that does not flinch but that is also able to see joy and beauty,” Carlson said.

The show began as a single scene for a women’s voices project in 2019 but grew into a full length show with the help of Carlson and Prince. It was ready for performance before COVID-19 caused delays, and it finally found its way to Carbondale last weekend.

The trio of creators said that even though the show has a certain specificity to it, audiences on the Front Range and in the Roaring Fork Valley have found their own ways to connect to it, calling the experience of loss “universal.”

But the play also has moments of lightness and laughter that can also be a point of contact for viewers.

“There’s a lot of grief in the world, and to be able to present an unflinching exploration of all the feelings that with just living our lives as human beings is a gift,” Prince said. “It’s a gift to be able to create a new play with such brilliant women, and then when you add on top of that that this is Cassidy’s story, it’s been a true honor.”

Cassidy Willey’s “As Close As I Can.”
Michael CB Stevens/Courtesy photo

“As Close As I Can” is showing at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and at 6 p.m. Sunday at Thunder River Theatre. Tickets and more are available through ThunderRiverTheatre.com. Audience members must wear masks and provide proof of vaccination.

Defiance Community Theater’s ‘All Together Now’ hits the stage this weekend

The Defiance Community Players’ performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2015. Numbers from the show are on the list for “All Together Now!”
Stacey Barnum/Defiance Community Theater

This weekend, Defiance Community Theater will take part in a global theater event celebrating local theaters and raising funds after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the 2020-21 season.

The Glenwood Springs High School theater will join more than 2,500 venues across the planet performing “All Together Now,” a fundraising event set up by Music Theatre International. Theater groups were given rights to an ensemble of classic musical revues, from “Les Miserables” to Disney’s “Frozen.” Marketing and directing materials were also provided free of charge in the effort to reestablish the theater scene following the pandemic year.

“We’re trying to bring the theater back, because we’ve been off the grid like everybody else for the last 18 months or more,” Defiance Community Theater Secretary Chip Wells told the Post Independent in September.

The 2020-21 season was limited to a virtual production of “A Christmas Carol.” It was successful for what it was but paled to an on-stage, with audience production. “All Together Now” is allowing Defiance to reintroduce itself to the community.

With the theme of regathering in mind, Defiance enlisted different directors for the four acts of the production. Tom Cochran, Laura Porterfield and Micha Schoepe each were tasked with helming a portion of the show, while Defiance Community Theater collaboratively directed the fourth act.

“The arts balance out our lives and give us the opportunity to use other parts of our brains,” Porterfield said. “Our community needs the arts, and Defiance Community Players needs our community.”

Music Theatre International provided a loose script for the performance, with an order of 15 musical slots of musical numbers to be performed along with spaces for three speeches and a video. Each slot in the order has up to three number choices for each theater to choose from.

The speeches have overarching topics — one for a welcome, another reflecting on 2020 and a final thank-you — but are otherwise unguided.

“We also wanted to give theaters as much creative input as possible,” Music Theatre International Chief Operating Officer and Director of Education and Development John Prignano said in a release. “The revue can be presented as a concert-like performance or groups can fully stage, choreograph and costume each song as it is presented in the full version of the show.“

“All Together Now” is showing at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Jeannie Miller Theater at Glenwood Springs High School.

Tickets and more information are available at DefianceCommunityTheater.org. Ticket prices range from $10 to $15 and are also available at the box office.

Sopris Theatre Company opens season with ‘The Thanksgiving Play’

From left, Courtney Lindgren as Logan, Sophia Kai Higbie as Alicia, Scott Elmore as Caden and Joshua Adamson as Jaxton in “The Thanksgiving Play,” Sopris Theatre Company’s production of Larissa FastHorse’s play that runs Nov. 12-21 at CMC Spring Valley.
Scott Gerdes/Colorado Mountain College

Joining the ranks of theater groups hitting the stage for the 2021-22 season is Colorado Mountain College’s Sopris Theatre Company with a production of “The Thanksgiving Play,” opening today.

The satire by Larissa FastHorse follows a group of white teachers and actors fumbling through the production of a socially and racially aware Thanksgiving play without a single Indigenous person involved. Sopris Theatre Company Director of Operations and show director Brad Moore calls the play “pointedly and deliberately funny.”

“We want to do more shows written by women and that highlight diverse cultures,” Moore said.

Leading the action on stage is CMC student and staff member Courtney Lindgren and CMC alumni Joshua Adamson and Scott Elmore and local thespian Sophia Kai Higbie. Also appearing in the show are CMC students Wyatt Tulk and Jess Bowler and Sopris Theatre veteran Michael Banks. CMC theatre student Sterling Brintnall is stage manager.

The show, running the next two weekends at the New Space Theatre at the Spring Valley campus, will follow COVID-19 guidelines. The unmasked performers will be maintaining 12 feet of distance, and the audience will be asked to wear masks for the entirety of the show.

CMC said that shows will also be streamed later in the week for virtual viewing.

“The Thanksgiving Play” concludes Nov. 21 and is followed by “Silent Sky,” starting Feb. 11 and running for three weeks. It tells the story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt and her work to promote women in the field of science.

Starting April 8, Sopris Theatre Company will put on world-famous actor Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” in which Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein debate art and physics at a bar in Paris.

The February and April shows will each run for three weeks.

Finally, the season concludes with original works by CMC theatre students on April 28.

Tickets for live shows are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors, students and CMC employees and graduates. Live stream tickets are $20.

“The Thanksgiving Play” will be performed at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 20. The Nov. 12 and 20 shows will be livestreamed.

Tickets and more information are available on CMC’s website, ColoradoMtn.edu/campuses/spring-valley/cmc-theatre/.

Country clotheswashers at the Ute

Alexis States plays the washboard with a brush at a dress rehearsal for “Honky Tonk Laundry” at the Ute Theater on Nov. 9.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

Playing the washboard has never before been so appropriate.

Alexis States and Jennetta Howell think the musical “Honky Tonk Laundry” was made for them and the Rifle area.

The country themes, off-the-cuff banter, in-your-face plot and live music allowed the duo to meld together their lives from their friendship, families and musical endeavors and put it all on the Ute Theater stage in front of some two-dimensional washing machines and a laundry folding counter.

“That’s what’s really going to blow people away,” Howell said. “They’ve seen us do legit theater. I’ve done straight theater. I’ve done musicals, and I’ve done comedy. It’s really fun to do this combination.”

The play by Roger Bean is confined entirely to the Wishy Washy Washateria set in Tennessee, where the two characters foible their way through relationship troubles and chase musical dreams.

Howell and States are familiar with the slapstick comedic musical style. Both are veterans of the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue.

They have long wanted to bring the piece to the area, approaching Jacquie Johnston — Howell’s mother — with the script several years ago. Johnston would take on the jack-of-all-trades director role.

But the family connections wouldn’t end there. Johnston enlisted her granddaughter — Howell’s daughter — Kaylie Howell as stage manager to start throwing her into the deep end of running a show. States spends most of her time as the front person for A Band Called Alexis and enlisted her band mates to play all the accompanying music on the set, a unique aspect of the show.

Instruments in hand, the band members will be alongside the characters for the second act.

“These boys, these men are kind of like a second family to me,” States said. “It’s really fun to get to do something different with them and push them. We’re just bringing a new feel to musical theater by having the band right here on the stage.”

Jenetta Howell sings in front of members of A Band Called Alexis at a dress rehearsal for “Honky Tonk Laundry” at the Ute Theater on Nov. 9.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

The show has been a way for the show runners to work their way back into action through COVID-19. It requires a small cast, and they’ve kept a lot of the showrunning within the family.

But it’s now time for an audience, and landing the prestigious Ute Theater as a venue only makes it that much more special.

“This space is known for bringing in musical acts, not necessarily musical theater,” States said. “I’m really excited to see how the community responds and comes out and enjoys it, because the venue is perfect for it. They’ve been so accommodating, and I think this just opens up some doors to a world of possibilities that could happen here.”

“Honky Tonk Theater” runs the next two weekends at the Ute Theater. On Fridays and Saturdays, the show starts at 7 p.m. On Nov. 14, a Sunday matinee show will be performed at 2 p.m. Doors open one hour prior to showtime.

Tickets range from $5 for children 5 and under to $20 for adult general admission and $35 for table seating. They are available for purchase at UteTheater.com.

“Two girls from Tennessee with big hair and cheating boyfriends, bad husbands and broken hearts, sunsets, country western songs, dancing — they’re going to put it all up there and entertain us,” Johnston said.

Carbondale’s Day of the Dead honors lives lost, lives lived

Female dancers with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico practice a dance for this Friday's performance at the Carbondale Dia de los Muertos celebration.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Dia de los Muertos is an opportunity to bring the Carbondale community together in festive fashion Friday, honoring those who’ve died and recognizing those they left behind, organizers say.

“Carbondale, in general, has a lot of gatherings that connect people, but I think there is something special about this one — there’s really not anything quite like it throughout the valley,” said Amy Kimberly, the Carbondale Arts executive director. “Whether or not we agree on everything, we really come together to celebrate.”

On Nov. 1 — the traditional day to observe Dia de los Muertos — Maria “Judith” Alvarez set up an ofrenda, the altar where celebrants honor their relatives, outside The Launchpad at 76 S. Fourth St.

“For me, this is a way to teach to my son the ways of my home, Mexico,” Alvarez explained. “He was born here and doesn’t know the way I was raised. This is a connection for him to our culture.”

Gently repositioning a plate of meat and mole sauce beneath an opulent image of the Virgin Mary, Alvarez explained the food was for her husband, whose photo on the ofrenda was propped up by an empty bottle of tequila.

“This is a celebration of life, and mole was his favorite food,” Alvarez explained with a smile. “I love this event. It brings the Anglo and Latino communities together.”

Above the altar, strings of marigold flowers direct the spirits of the dead, creating a pathway to the living realm, Alvarez explained. Candles also light the way, ensuring the spirits do not get lost on the Day of the Dead.

“The altar brings humans and spirits together,” she said. “We celebrate the dead children on Monday and the adults on Tuesday.”

Kimberly said Carbondale’s Dia de los Muertos celebration is hosted during November’s First Friday event, a community-wide get together on the first Friday of each month.

“We’ve been doing Dia de los Muertos for about eight years now,” she said. “Because of COVID-19, we moved the ofrenda outside last year, and we’re keeping it outside this year out of an abundance of precaution.”

The event officially kicked off with establishment of the ofrenda Monday, and Kimberly said participants are encouraged to use the ofrenda to honor their loved ones throughout the week, but the celebration starts in earnest Friday with the unveiling and signing of a 56-foot-long mural painted with the help of the community on the CenturyLink building at the corner of Fourth and Main streets.

Gayle Embrey, the mural’s lead artist, said two Latina artists were among the painters as well as about 90 community members who are invited to sign the painting Friday.

“Diversity is an important part of our community, enriching it tremendously, and it’s amazing to be able to highlight that on a day we celebrate that diversity,” Embrey said. “It was great that we all came together to create this mural.”

The mural is a combination of several panels, each representing a section of Carbondale’s history and culture.

“We do represent farmers, hippies, dogs, cats and all sorts of people in our community,” Embrey said. “But we chose to celebrate those that came before us through the lens of Dia de los Muertos. The imagery of the skeletons and marigolds is especially vibrant.”

One of the mural’s artists is scheduled to paint a dandelion, Carbondale’s official town flower, on the final panel Friday, and community members who assisted with the project are invited to sign each of the dandelion’s petals, she said.

Kicking off at 4 p.m., Mexican hot chocolate and other treats will be served during the event, which is free to attend.

At 5:30 p.m., a procession featuring giant skeletons in the style of La Catrina — the Dame of the Dead — fire dancers and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico dancers will leave the Third Street Center at 520 S. Third St. and head toward the Fourth and Main streets intersection.

The term Folklorico is used in performance circles to describe all traditional Mexican dances, said Francisco “Paco” Nevarez, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico director.

“When I was a little kid, my mom worked, and she enrolled me in a Folklorico afterschool program in Chihuahua, Mexico,” Nevarez said. “I spent most of my life with a Folklorico dance group in Chihuahua, before I moved to New York.”

Nevarez was offered a job as the Folklorico dance director in the Roaring Fork Valley in 2002, and he’s been in the area ever since.

“Dia de los Muertos is a very traditional, holy ceremony in Mexico,” he said. “In Mexico, we used to go to the cemetery, clean the tombs and they would even put carnival rides and food outside the cemetery. It’s a celebration of life.”

On Friday, his dancers, a group of kids ages 10-17, will perform a number of traditional dances including the Maypole Dance, which signifies the circle of life. The dancers will wear ancestral costumes and La Catrina masks during their performance, he said.

“The celebration helps me fulfill my life here in the United States,” Nevarez said. “We are a special community here in Carbondale. We embrace and celebrate cultures and holidays from all around the world.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Symphony in the Valley goes back in cinematic and theatrical time

Symphony in the Valley conductor Kelly Thompson directs his musicians.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
If You Go …

What: Symphony in the Valley’s “Stage and Screen”

When/Where: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at Ute Theater, Rifle; 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at New Hope Church, New Castle

Cost: $0-55

More info: SITV.org/wp

The Symphony in the Valley will invoke film and theater of old in their two-show weekend performance, “Stage and Screen.”

In act one, the orchestra will play classic pieces from movies and theater, from Indiana Jones to “Fiddler on the Roof.” After an intermission, they’ll reconvene to play a live score to Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 silent film “The Adventurer.” The show will be at Ute Theater in Rifle on Friday and the New Hope Church in New Castle on Saturday.

“We got more comments about this than just about any show we do, because people really enjoyed watching the film and listening,” Symphony in the Valley conductor Kelly Thompson said. “It’s very different, and it’s difficult for the orchestra, because we have to keep up with the music.”

“Stage and Screen” blends classical performance with modern — and not so modern — media. Previous iterations of the show have just included tracks from film, but this go around they decided to add theater. Now the theme from “Forrest Gump” will be joined by “West Side Story” and the “William Tell” overture, which had its stay in both the opera world and classic television, serving as the theme for “The Lone Ranger.”

Following it all, the visual component shifts from the performers to the screen, where the Charlie Chaplin comedy will be shown. The orchestra’s 35 artists will provide the auditory complement to the 20 minute piece. The score was written by nationally recognized silent film accompanist Ben Model.

The whole experience takes audiences back nearly a century in cinematic history.

“A lot of people think, when they hear a silent film, ‘Oh, that’s not going to be interesting.’ But movies are so funny. It’s amazing how much they can do with just action and a little bit of text on the screen,” Thompson said. “Then we’re able to do music with it that fits in with the action on the screen and do it live, which is what you got if you went to the movies in the 1920s.”

The show is the first of the symphony’s 2021-22 season, which includes a holiday concert in December, a spring concert in March or April and a swing near Mother’s Day.

“Stage and Screen” gives a unique twist on the orchestra experience, which is part of the symphony’s strategy to appeal to more people.

“This has really helped bring in a broader audience,” Symphony in the Valley’s Alexandra Braeger said. “That’s a thing that really the arts in general and orchestras nationwide are having to grapple with is how to make their performances captivating and relevant to current audiences.”

Tickets range from free for music students to $17 for adults for single shows to $55 for family packages. Season tickets are also available. More information is available at SITV.org.

Halloween happenings in the valley

Four-year-old Henrik Beiswanger and his mom Andrea work together to clean out the pumpkin guts before carving a spooky face at the Great Pumpkin Carve at the Carbondale Library on Wednesday afternoon. There will be more Great Pumpkin Carve opportunities on Friday, Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. at the New Castle Library, and at both 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Silt Library. The last event will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Glenwood Springs Library.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Costumes will be worn and candy will be slung up and down the Roaring Fork Valley all weekend.

From Halloween traditions to local customs, lighter COVID-19 restrictions than those a year ago are allowing spirits to rise once again for the end-of-October affair.

Here’s what’s going on for the spookiest holiday on the calendar in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale outside of the typical door-knocking.

Glenwood Springs

The Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation department is hosting its “Spooktacular and Spooky Skate” event on Saturday. Activities include carnival games, a bounce house, a pumpkin hunt and more starting at 3 p.m. at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

Costume ice skating starting at 5 p.m. Guests must register in advance and pay the $6 fee, either by calling 970-384-6301 or by visiting GlenwoodRec.com.

Also on Saturday, the Glenwood Springs branch of Garfield County Libraries is hosting a pumpkin carve at 1 p.m. The library will provide tools, stencils and one pumpkin per group free of charge. For more orange-gourd slicing action, individuals are allowed to bring their own pumpkins.

The Glenwood Springs event concludes a run through each of the Garfield County Libraries that started in Parachute on Oct. 11.

More information is available through the library by calling 970-945-5958.

For a fright fix, the Grand Valley All Stars cheerleading group is sponsoring a daily haunted house at the Glenwood Springs Mall. The haunted house will be open 5-7 p.m. Friday, 2-6 p.m. Saturday and 3-6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are $15 at the door or $10 for presale available through EventBrite.

Another avenue for a share of scares is up at Linwood Cemetery for the in-person return of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society’s ghost walk. This year’s iteration has a “women-of-history” theme. Tours take place at 6:30, 7:15, 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets for the ghost walk are available on the historical society’s website and cost $25.

If history and scares aren’t your thing, maybe drinking and “Spinal Tap” are. Native Son Bar is hosting a “Hair Bands and Groupies” costume party at 8 p.m. Saturday. More info is available on the event’s Facebook post.

On the day itself, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is giving children 12 and under free admission. The park will have treat bags at the top of the gondola and trick or treat stations throughout. There will be games like a scavenger hunt and a costume contest at 3 p.m. The gift shop will have fudge and candy apples and there will be drink specials across the park.


Ascendigo Autism Services is hosting its second annual autism-friendly trunk or treat event from 4-6:30 p.m. Friday evening at the Carbondale Fire Station. The Carbondale Fire Department, Carbondale Police Department and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will all be supplying decorated vehicles.

Candy and other prizes will be available in the low-stimulation environment that’s open to all.

The American Legion is hosting an adult costume party on Saturday night. A $10 ticket at the door includes grab-and-go food and access to live music from the Goodman Band. Doors open at 5 p.m. More information is available on the event’s Facebook post.

The Black Nugget is hosting a post trick-or-treat hour dance party for adults from 9 p.m. to close on Halloween. More info can be found on the event’s Facebook post.


Trunk or treat events and a showcasing of a Halloween favorite highlight Rifle’s Halloween weekend festivities.

The city is sponsoring a Halloween parade and trunk or treat kicking off at 10 a.m. Friday. Trick-or-treaters will parade through downtown, starting at Civic Plaza. They’ll march up Railroad Avenue to third street, making a loop around the downtown strip before returning to the plaza.

The Columbine Ford car dealership is hosting another trunk or treat event that afternoon from 3:30-5 p.m., kicking things off just as the kids get out of school. The dealership is located at 2728 Railroad Ave.

On the proper holiday, New Life Fellowship is hosting its second annual trunk or treat event at 5 p.m. at 2090 Whiteriver Ave.

Then, on Halloween evening, the Ute Theater is screening Rocky Horror Picture Show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with a start time of 6:66 — or 7:06 — p.m. Costumes and props are encouraged.

Tickets are $10 for bleacher seating and $15 for table seating. Tickets and more information are available on the Ute Theater website.


Parachute’s festivities revolve around its Fall Festival on Sunday. It will have games, contests, a parade and a trunk-or-treat event.

A decorating contest runs through the weekend. Homes must be registered by Friday, and decorations must be completed by 7 p.m. Saturday for judging. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place and will be announced at the Fall Festival.

A 3 p.m. parade Sunday will provide the best showcase opportunity for the event’s costume contest. Costumes will be judged in four categories — most creative, most scary, most funny and most gross.

The trunk or treat runs from 3-5 p.m. at the Grand Valley Recreation Center on Arroyo Drive in Battlement Mesa.

Registration for contests and trunk or treat is available through the local Park and Recreation District website.


On Sunday, the Silt Historical Park is hosting trick or treating from 4-6 p.m. Costumed volunteers will hand out candy from the historic buildings.

Ascendigo gears up for second annual autism-friendly trunk or treat

Ascendigo's inaugural trunk or treat event in 2020.
Ascendigo Autism Services/Courtesy photo
If You Go…

What: Ascendigo autism-friendly trunk or treat

When: Friday, Oct. 29, 4-6 p.m.

Where: Carbondale Fire Station, 300 Meadowood Drive

Cost: Free

More information: Ascendigo Development and Marketing Assistant Grace Sinclair, gsinclair@ascendigo.org

Halloween can be an overwhelming time for children on the autism spectrum.

Strobing lights and startling noises only compound the concept of having your child wander up to a stranger’s door to ask for candy.

For Ascendigo Autism Services board member Kate Weitz, it prevented her son, Freddie, from participating in traditional Halloween events like trick-or-treating. He would go to controlled parties, but Freddie did not get to partake in the community aspect of the holiday.

“You want your kid to have experiences that every other kid gets but there are safety issues and understanding issues, things like that,” Kate Weitz said. “There’s also a lot of kids on the spectrum who have sensory sensitivities, so they can get either overwhelmed or underwhelmed with new environments. There’s a lot within it that can be really difficult.”

So, last year Weitz approached Ascendigo with an idea: what if the organization held its own autism-friendly event? They could have families and autism-trained volunteers organizing and controlling the environment. They could reduce the chances of a meltdown and be prepared in case one happened.

Ascendigo brought in Carbondale Police and Carbondale Fire, who decorated their vehicles and showed them to the trick-or-treaters. To accommodate COVID-19 protocols, candy was delivered through a chute.

Freddie, who had a green cast due to a broken arm, went as Frankenstein’s monster, Kate went as Frankenstein’s bride and her husband went as a mad scientist. They did small science experiments in their trunk.

“It was the first time and we weren’t sure how it was going to go but we had a pretty decent turnout,” Ascendigo Chief Development Officer Julie Kaufman said. “We decided to do it again and make it an annual thing because families asked us to.”

The Weitz family at Ascendigo’s inaugural trunk or treat event in 2020.
Courtesy Kate Weitz

Kaufman added that this year might even be bigger and she hopes the event continues to grow. On top of the police and fire departments, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is decorating a bus for the event, which in its first year already became a natural way for public service groups to interact with and learn about working with people with sensory disabilities.

“It’s a huge relationship that we build,” Carbondale Police Community Relations Officer Paul Lazo said. “We are super excited to be participating alongside Ascendigo and just being present and having a community-oriented event.”

The event is scheduled for 4-6:30 p.m. (or until sundown) at the Carbondale Fire Station, 300 Meadowood Drive.

Tweaks from last year include prizes that aren’t just candy to allow for participation for people with dietary restrictions.

All are welcome to the free event. It will be COVID-19 compliant and guests are asked to remember to wear masks.

For more information, contact Ascendigo Development and Marketing Assistant Grace Sinclair at gsinclair@ascendigo.org.