Chamber calls 2nd annual All Arts Festival successful |

Chamber calls 2nd annual All Arts Festival successful

— The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association estimated that 4,500 people perused booths at the Yampa River Art Stroll last weekend, anchoring a successful second year of the Steamboat All Arts Festival.

Chamber spokeswoman Mol­ly Killien said the Chamber was encouraged by numbers that showed an increase in visitors compared with the same weekend last year and an increase in overall participation in the event.

“On our side of things, we are thrilled at the continued interest from the community and the artists,” Killien said. “It’s gaining in popularity, and it was a great second year. We learned a lot from the first year, and this time around, it was even more successful.”

The festival was a joint effort of the Chamber, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council and local artists and galleries.

Arts Council Program Direc­tor Rachel Radetsky said the weekend kicked off with a successful downtown group gallery stroll called ArtRUSH, a first-time event that she said would return next year.

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“It was great despite the monsoon rain,” Rad­etsky said. “It really involved the community, and I think all of the art galleries and everyone involved really enjoyed the event. We definitely to look forward to doing it next year and maybe even again before then.”

Friday was “locals day” at the Yampa River Art Stroll, meaning free admission to a street fair exhibiting high-end art and smaller, more affordable pieces such as jewelry, from local and national artists.

The Chamber had planned to charge a $5 admission for the stroll Saturday and Sunday, however, for the second year, Chamber officials lifted the Sunday admission fee.

“We decided it would be best to have everyone be exposed to the event and to know what was going on and be exposed to the great art that was available,” Kil­­lien said.

She said the Chamber has not decided whether to charge admission at next year’s stroll.

Throughout the weekend, about 15 workshops took place at various locations, showcasing art mediums from writing and oil painting to theater and dance.

Radetsky and Kil­­­­lien said the work­­shops were well-attended.

A Western melo­­­drama staged by local actors at the Depot Art Cen­ter sold out, and opera singers from the New York Metro­politan Opera sang “Carmen” for a crowd of more than 400.

“I think it showcases that we have a thriving art community,” Radetsky said. “That’s something people don’t recognize a lot because they often come here to ski. There’s so much more to do here. It’s giving us a name as an art community.”

Although Killien said the festival welcomes locals, it is also an opportunity to bring in visitors.

According to the Chamber’s lodging barometer, 57 percent of city’s lodging properties were full, which is the equivalent of about 7,900 visitors.

That is up 14 percentage points from the same weekend last year.

Downtown prop­­erties were 93 percent full.

Although she said the numbers were encouraging, Kil­­­­l­­ien said the Cham­­­­ber would start planning the 2011 event next week and would take almost the full year to go over the budget, funding and future of the festival.

“Events like this, they’re special, and they don’t happen overnight,” she said. “But the end product is so wonderful and people enjoy it so much, it’s worth every minute.”

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