Glenwood Springs considers permits for July brewers festival
Plans by the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts to host a brewers festival the first weekend of July is just the kind of event city leaders and downtown business owners want to see more of as a way to attract and keep people downtown, especially during the Grand Avenue bridge construction.
But at least one resident has objected to the proposed location for the July 1-3 Wild West Fermentation Fest, to be held on the upper deck of the Ninth and Cooper parking garage, saying a more appropriate location should be considered instead.
Betsy Suerth, who lives in the 900 block of Cooper across from the parking garage, spoke before City Council on June 2, expressing concerns that the parking deck location was not well thought-out for such an event.
“The venue needs to be attractive for an event like this, which will attract 3,000 people a day, to succeed,” she said.
“This is hardly an attractive site,” she said, pointing out that the event would consume “valuable parking,” that the upper parking deck is significantly sloped and that vendor parking in the vicinity has not been adequately addressed.
Instead, Suerth’s suggestion is that the city and the Center for the Arts consider using the dead-end portion of Eighth Street near City Hall, which she noted is not near residential neighborhoods, is within easy walking distance and has evening shade.
Council, at a special 4 p.m. meeting Monday, is set to hear a protest of the special events liquor license that was granted by the city in April, along with a facilities use permit that will be needed for use of the parking garage.
The Wild West Fermentation Fest promises to bring 20 craft beer breweries, five cideries and five distilleries to Glenwood Springs for a three-day tasting event leading up to the Fourth of July when the city has its own celebration of the nation’s birthday planned at Two Rivers Park.
The brewers’ event is sanctioned by the Colorado Brewers Guild. A $20 per-day entry fee earns tokens for 4-ounce beer and cider tastings, and half-ounce liquor tastings. Persons must be 21 years or older to enter. There will also be food, live music and retail booths. Proceeds are to go to a local nonprofit to be determined.
It is tentatively scheduled to run from 5-10 p.m. Friday, July 1, and noon to 10 p.m. on July 2 and 3.
“This is meant to be a tasting, and will take place in a controlled environment, so it’s not a drunk fest,” Andrew Gorgey, the acting city manager, said during the June 2 council meeting. “It is a first-time event, it’s an excellent use of the facility and the broadens the use of the downtown and public facilities.”
A majority of council members appeared to favor the proposal.
“I think this is a template for how to encourage more events like this to take place downtown,” Councilman Todd Leahy said. “We need to move forward with a template for how to welcome these types of events.”
Councilman Steve Davis said he’s heard a lot of support for the event as a way to bring more people to Glenwood Springs.
“I have been talking to downtown businesses, and they are certainly looking for this and other types of events to bring people into town, especially during the bridge construction,” Davis said.
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