Downtown Glenwood businesses set to party |

Downtown Glenwood businesses set to party

Will Grandbois

With Grand Avenue bridge construction in full swing, downtown businesses are hoping a new monthly event will bring out locals and visitors alike.

Called “Glen-A-Palooza,” it takes the second Friday time slot formerly occupied by Glenwood’s art walk and adds a whole series of activities to the mix.

“We really wanted to see an event downtown and remind people that we’re still open for business,” said Chrissy Manes of Providence Apothecary, who spearheads the event.

“I get a lot of feedback from my customers that businesses don’t stay open late enough,” she added. “The whole idea is to introduce people to stores that they’ve never even been in before.”

Glen-A-Palooza debuted last month to what Manes described as an amazing turnout.

“I’ve had really great feedback,” she said. “Businesses had a lot of traffic come through their doors.”

This month takes an extra step by closing Cooper Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets.

“We’ve worked really hard to make it a whole downtown event, but people wanted a gathering place away from traffic. I think this is the best option for that,” Manes said. “Cooper is really beginning to come alive.”

Numerous events small and large will take place around downtown Friday, under the loose theme of “Great Outdoors.”

Shaking the Tree will play everything from funk to punk from 6:30-8 p.m. in the closed section of Cooper while gypsy reggae group The Painters Stage will bring some energy to Grand Avenue from 6-8 p.m. Art stations will be set up from 6:30-8 p.m. where attendees can paint their own 2-foot square panels to beautify the side of the bridge.

Meanwhile, local organizations are pitching in with events of their own. For example, Providence is hosting an herb walk around town to identify and discuss medicinal plants. Country Rose Boutique will hold an in-store scavenger hunt, and the Glenwood Springs library will provide games and give away books.

“I look at it as an outreach event. This is our community, and we like being part of it,” said librarian Sue Schnitzer. “It was really fun last month, but it will be even better with the street closed.”

The art walk is also being maintained. Cooper Corner Gallery will hold a reception for “A Harvest of Art” featuring a peach theme, while Artist’s Mercantile will feature the bright acrylics of Dara Barth.

“I think it really helps. It brings all the businesses together,” said Mercantile co-owner Steve Legersky.

Another ongoing event that happens to coincide with Glen-A-Palooza is Glenwood Adventure’s outdoor movie. According to Ken Murphy, the Friday showings got started as a staff event that attracted passersby.

This summer, the business decided to make it a weekly event with a professional projection and sound system. The selections run the gamut from “Airplane!” to the latest Star Wars, though they tend to stay in the PG to PG-13 range.

The movie starts at 8:30 p.m., and you’re invited to bring your own beverage and even takeout, but no glass containers. Some folks also bring folding chairs to the parking lot off Cooper, but most choose to watch from the rafts the company supplies.

“It’s something different, and they’re comfy,” Murphy said. “It has that small-town feel. Everyone’s welcome, and there’s no charge.”

If you would like to match your entertainment with your dinner, you can also stop by the Riviera Supper Club, where Jonathan Gorst will be pairing live piano music by different composers with wine from their respective countries.

“I thought it would be a great way to get art and wine to come together to express a culture,” he said.

It’s all part of a broader musical lineup at the Riviera.

“We’re playing live music six and even seven nights a week right now,” Gorst said. “The really important thing right now is to let the locals know we’re here. It’s hard, but I think we’ve made progress week over week.”

To that end, he’s glad to see something like Glen-A-Palooza.

“I think it’s a great way to heighten our awareness to the downtown core,” he said.

As for future months, Manes is optimistic.

“We’re hoping to carry it through the winter if we can get the funding together, and maybe have an event planner take over,” she said.

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