Botanic Park to host 1st-ever gala in June |

Botanic Park to host 1st-ever gala in June

It's still early spring, but those who stop by the Yampa River Botanic Park can find plenty of flowers that bloom in the spring adding a splash of color to the gardens. (Photo by John F. Russell)

As travel ramps up for the summer, there’s one passport that will take you somewhere closer to home — the Yampa River Botanic Park’s first annual Passport Through the Park event will take place June 19.

The gala is a new concept for the park, said Jennifer MacNeil, who is the Botanic Park’s first executive director.

“A larger fundraising event is something that has been on the board’s minds for a long time,” MacNeil said.

Now it’s happening, with an event that will educate those in attendance about plants — both native to Colorado and not — while also pairing food and wine from around the globe.

Attendees will travel through the park, stopping at 14 different stations along the way to learn about different gardens and plants while sampling food and wine, including the event’s signature drink, “Bubbles & Blooms.”

One station will feature plants native to Patagonia.

“We have a great relationship with the Denver Botanic Gardens,” MacNeil said. “They collect a lot of different types of plants from around the world, and they have brought some up to Steamboat.”

That station will feature empanadas and Argentinian wine.

“We thought a lot about the different plants, gardens and features throughout the park,” MacNeil said. “And we thought about how we could play around with them for food and wine pairings.”

One station, for example, will be set up to watch the osprey nest next to the river. That station will be paired with smoked trout.

Other menu items will include Colorado beef sliders, Argentinian beef and dolmades.

The event will also highlight new features to the park, such as the fairy garden, which will be celebrated with a glass of Prosecco topped with edible glitter.

If you go

What: Passport Through the Park

When: 5 to 7 p.m. June 19 (alternative date set for June 27 in case of inclement weather)

Where: Yampa River Botanic Park

Tickets: $100 for members; $125 for nonmembers. Visit to purchase tickets.

Each visitor will get a “passport” when entering the event, which not only serves as their ticket but also has a page with information on each station in the garden. Five entertainment groups will perform at different areas throughout the park, creating ambient music as guests explore. Local classical musicians John Sant’Ambrogio, Steve Boynton and Belinda Rossi will play their instruments, followed by a duet from Teresa Steffen Greenlee and Elissa Greene and a flute trio of Katherine Knapp, Sophie Flam and Asher Komor.

In conjunction with the event, an online silent auction will be held from June 10 to 20. The auction is open to the public, not just those who have bought tickets to the event. Nearly 100 items will be featured throughout the 10 days of the auction, including Rocky Mountain experiences, food and drink, and home and garden items.

MacNeil said she expects the event will be attended by both members and nonmembers of the park.

“We’ve heard from a lot of people who aren’t current members who are interested in getting more involved with the park and learning more about it,” she said. “We are hoping this event excites both our current members and a new crowd of people as well.”

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