Summer’s here, and the time is right |

Summer’s here, and the time is right

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Summer may not be on the calendar as yet, but this weekend marks its beginning in Glenwood Springs. Memorial Day weekend is set to usher in months of summer fun for visitors to this Rocky Mountain resort town. With a strong first quarter this year, the season is shaping up to be “the best season since the fires (in 2002),” said Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association director of tourism marketing Stephanie Keister. “I think we will just carry on that momentum” through the summer months.Hers is a meaningful prediction if the first three months of 2006 are any indication. Keister said tax revenues from the city’s accommodations and lodging tax were up 19 percent from January to March compared to last year.Nor is the recent rise in gas prices expected to put a damper on the season.

“When there’s a spike in gas prices, Glenwood benefits,” said tourism marketing guru Vicky Nash, who promotes local venues such as the Hot Springs Pool and the Hotel Colorado through her company, Resort Trends Inc., in Glenwood Springs.”People take shorter trips closer to home,” she said. “We do not feel a negative impact.”Most of Glenwood’s visitors, about 80 percent, come from Denver and the Front Range, Keister said.Each year at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, the Chamber canvasses local motels and hotels for the number of weekend bookings.

According to a poll taken at the beginning of the weekend, “the town will be about 95 percent full. The Hotel Colorado is full, the Hot Springs Lodge will be full today (Friday),” Keister said. “We’re guessing the entire town will sell out by the end of the weekend.”With Memorial Day launching the town into summer, the festivals and outdoor concerts will come on in short order. Another mainstay of the town’s summer tourist season is Strawberry Days, which this year runs from June 16-18. Since 1997, Strawberry Days has attracted crowds to Glenwood Springs for free strawberries and ice cream. This year’s 109th celebration features hundreds of arts and crafts booths, great food and music and the traditional parade down Grand Avenue.Be prepared to get out your platform shoes and polyester. The theme of Strawberry Days 2006 is disco fever.

For laid-back musical fare, the town’s annual Summer of Jazz starts up June 7 and continues every Wednesday evening, beginning at 7 p.m., in Two Rivers Park. This year the concert series pays tribute to the jazz musicians of New Orleans.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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