Inside the Chamber column: Rocky Mountaineer welcome celebration
Inside the Chamber
A luxury tour train will soon bring visitors to Glenwood Springs. The Rocky Mountaineer’s first U.S. route, Rockies to the Red Rocks, will bring its 30-plus years of railway tour experience to our community. To mark the inaugural arrival of passengers, Glenwood Springs will host a festive welcome celebration complete with vendors, entertainment and hoopla from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15.
We welcome the community to celebrate this new offering by coming downtown to Seventh Street to join the fun. Some of the plans for that evening follow:
4-8 p.m.: Special Glenwood Downtown Market, complete with many of the vendors who participate in the Tuesday market.
4 p.m.: Live entertainment begins under the bridge on Bethel Plaza with guitar duo Larry and Patti Herd. The music will play intermittently until 8 p.m.
5:15-5:30 p.m.: Welcome by Mayor Jonathan Godes and other state/regional dignitaries. This timing will be flexible, based on the arrival of Rocky Mountaineer passengers. The train is due to arrive at 5 p.m.
Other offerings include a performance by Legacy Dance Company and face painting and balloon art by Noemi and Kristoff Kosmowski.
Over the past 30 years, Rocky Mountaineer has become renowned for world-class train travel experiences in Canada, and this first U.S. train route features the region where American train travel began. The Rockies to the Red Rocks route is an immersive encounter with the magnificent natural beauty, history and wonder that is found in the Colorado Rockies, especially in Glenwood Springs.
Rocky Mountaineer will launch the route with a preview season of 56 departures across 14 weeks from Aug. 15 to Nov. 19. The team at Rocky Mountaineer has worked on the development of this “bucket-list adventure” with the staff of Visit Glenwood Springs, the city’s destination marketing organization.
Glenwood Springs has a long and storied history with trains. In 1887, the race was on as two railroad companies vied to be the first to arrive in Glenwood Springs, hauling materials, supplies, silver, coal and, for the first time, tourists. The Denver and Rio Grande line arrived in Glenwood first, on Oct. 5, 1887, to great fanfare, including fireworks, bonfires along the route, speeches and a grand ball. Rail service soon became such a fixture of everyday life that the arrival of the Colorado Midland two months later, on Dec. 18, 1887, garnered no celebration at all. Amid much fanfare and publicity, the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco was inaugurated March 20, 1949. Although the original California Zephyr was operated by Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, the route eventually became part of the Amtrak rail service and still delivers visitors to and from Glenwood Springs daily.
The Rocky Mountaineer welcome celebration is a collaboration of the following organizations: the city of Glenwood Springs, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, the Glenwood Springs Historical Society, Glenwood’s Downtown Market, the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and Visit Glenwood Springs. For more information about the Rocky Mountaineer Inaugural Welcome Celebration, reach out. Otherwise, we hope to see you Sunday, Aug. 15.
Lisa Langer is director of tourism promotion for Visit Glenwood Springs, a department of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. For more information, check out VisitGlenwood.com.
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