Yampa River Botanic Park to host first night-time community event in 21 years
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Shortly after concluding her weekly tour, Evlyn Berge reminisces on Yampa River Botanic Park’s founding principles that date back to 1997 when the popular attraction first opened its gates to the public.
“This garden and park is a statement of community,” said Berge, who is a Yampa River Botanic Park board member. “It’s the nature, the color, the serenity, the memories and celebrations. It’s truly developed into a preserve that is gloriously beautiful on so many levels.”
What was once a flat, 6-acre meadow before Bob Enever and his wife, Audrey, donated the land to the city of Steamboat Springs, is now a place of beauty, utilized by the community for a variety of events from Music on the Green performances to Piknik Theater Festival shows to outdoor yoga classes.
On Sunday, Glow in the Park will be added to the park’s list of events, and it will mark the first time Yampa River Botanic Park has been open to the public at night.
Wishing lanterns will be available from 7 to 9 p.m., and those who attend will have the chance to write a message, memory or wish on one of the recyclable balsa wood lanterns and then launch them onto the pond at the center of the park. The launching will take place at 8 p.m.
“I like to use the word magical,” Berge said. “You know how we all love to see the Christmas lights twinkling throughout town or on the tree in your own home? There’s just something magical about it — this event will have a magic of its own.”
During the event, several trails and some of the trees in the park will be illuminated by solar lights. A silent auction, highlighting work by local artists who have captured scenes in the park over the years, will begin at 7 p.m., and there also will be refreshments, sweet treats and music.
Berge suggested that attendees bring a flashlight or headlamp as well as bug spray.
“We’ve never had an event in the evening like this before because it closes at dark,” said Sonia Franzel, Yampa River Botanic Park board president. “But, we hope this is a way people can come and celebrate the park and give light to their message or wishes.”
The idea for the event was sparked on one of Berge’s weekly tours as a way to bring families together and raise funds for the Yampa River Botanic Park, which has 500 trees and 60 gardens, many of which are sponsored by individuals and organizations.
“This park is a place of serenity, celebrating the trees, shrubs, plants and birds of the Yampa Valley,” Berge said. “In keeping with the mission statement of the park, we think this is a great way to honor that.”
Park operations are supported by as many as 40 volunteers. The park is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk May 1 to Oct. 31.
“It’s one of the most special places in Steamboat,” Berge said. “But you just have to see it for yourself.”
Lanterns can be acquired with a suggested donation of $20 for one lantern, $30 for two, $40 for three and $50 for five. Cash and checks will be accepted.
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