Memorial Day weekend kicks off busy summer of events in Steamboat

Craig Justason hands a cup of Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill’s red bison chili to Indiana resident Jerry Sader during the 2019 Downtown Chili Challenge in Steamboat.
Derek Maiolo/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

Summer is around the corner and Steamboat Springs is gearing up for a busy one.

“I think we’re going to see a very robust event season,” said Lisa Popovich, executive director of Main Street Steamboat. “Everything is back and then some.”

Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of a busy season, and this weekend, the sidewalk sale returns to downtown Steamboat, the traditional Memorial Day services will occur and the annual Main Street Steamboat Chili Challenge, which usually takes place in the fall, will happen on Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the corner of 7th and Yampa streets.

For the next few months, events, live music and gatherings will be in full swing across Routt County.

The beloved Steamboat Free Summer Concert series will offer five shows this summer, the Farmer’s Market will begin on June 11 and run through September, various sports tournaments will come to town, bike and running races will take place and local favorites like Art in the Park will set up tents once again.

And while some things will look slightly different this year – the Fourth of July parade will be held on Yampa Street rather than Lincoln Avenue, for example – Popovich said that this summer will be similar to a pre-pandemic summer.

Veteran Win Dermody carries the American flag as he makes his way along Yampa Street as part of the 2021 Steamboat Springs Fourth of July Parade. John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

“I think we learned that we are a very social community and we really long for the opportunity to gather,” she said. “There’s a lot of pent-up energy and people want to do the things that have always been normal for them over the years.”

Steamboat Springs Events

With an emphasis on gathering, Main Street is adding new “hang out” areas to the Farmer’s Market which will consist of counter-height tables so that visitors can linger for a little longer.

“It’s not grab and go anymore,” said Popovich. “People want to catch up in person instead of online.”

And with no restrictions in place from the county or state, they’ll be able to do just that.

Chris Robinson, formerly of The Black Crowes, sings lead vocals for the Chris Robinson Brotherhood in the first show of the 2015 Steamboat Free Summer Concerts season at the base of Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs.
Austin Colbert/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

“2022 will be a typical busy summer in Steamboat,” said Rachel Lundy who is the special events coordinator for the city. “It will probably be similar to last year in terms of the number of events but without COVID restrictions, the scope of events might be a little larger – more people in attendance and more teams at tournaments, for example.”

More people can often bring more challenges and Lundy anticipates that two of these challenges will be parking and ongoing construction projects. She encouraged people to use alternate forms of transportation, such as the free city bus, bikes or carpooling.

Debbi Strong, right, buys a bouquet of flowers from Lisa Godbolt of Garden Goddess Creations at the Main Street Steamboat Springs Farmers Market in 2020.
Derek Maiolo/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

Regardless, Popovich noted that Main Street is doing everything they can to make sure there isn’t a huge impact on the population that lives here.

“The rodeo grounds have been paved and that’s a great place to park,” she pointed out. “You can walk right over the Fifth Street bridge.”

She also stressed the importance of patience and kindness this summer when town is full, something the chamber is now encouraging with a new brand.

“We have to remember where we live and why we came here: because it’s so beautiful and we have all these opportunities,” Popovich said. “It’s our responsibility to share this place.”

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