Summer Events

By Kendra Walker

As this year has presented many adjustments to our schedules, plans and travels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crested Butte’s annual summer events are no exception. Event organizers in the valley have stepped up to the plate to reimagine some of Crested Butte’s most cherished annual summer events while keeping the health and safety of the community and visitors a top priority. 

Please note that all events are subject to change based on Gunnison County’s current public health orders, and some events may have been updated since this issue’s publication. Please check with each event website for the most up-to-date details and health requirements. 

Crested Butte Heritage Museum Black and White Ball 

The Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum’s 18th annual street party fundraiser is going virtual this year as the Black & Not Right Now Ball 2020, a Virtual Celebration. Scheduled for Sunday, June 28 at 7 p.m., folks are invited to dress in their finest black and white attire and join the virtual party, complete with online raffle, costume photo submissions, prizes and other creative ways to help celebrate the Museum. 

Cattlemen’s Days

The 2020 Cattlemen’s Days 4-H exhibits, livestock auction and youth programs are still scheduled for July 3-11 while the 2020 Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo has been postponed to Labor Day weekend in September. 

The 4-H Livestock and youth events are planned to take place in-person, and will be open to kids, parents, volunteers and buyers for the sale. All participants will be asked to wear masks and adhere to social distancing protocols. Organizers plan to have all the events streamed on Facebook live for anyone interested in spectating from afar.

“As the last few months have been tough on all youth, it’s essential to these kids that we offer them a way to finish their 4-H projects and sell their market animals that they’ve been working so hard on everyday during this time,” said Gunnison County CSU Extension director Eric McPhail.  

For the Cattlemen’s Labor Day events, organizers are tentatively planning for a spectator-less rodeo, and depending on the public health orders at that time, are considering options to broadcast the rodeo for viewing and community watch parties. More info on exact dates and times of the Rodeo and associated events will be available later this summer. 

Fourth of July

The Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce is planning a self-guided walking Fourth of July parade and passport program featuring fun activities and specials being offered by local businesses. The passport program is available at cbchamber.com and in person at the Visitor Center.

“We are estimating that these will be offered from June 29-July 6,” said events director Brittany Couts. “We are being flexible and keeping business traffic and the community’s health and safety in mind.”

Center for the Arts’ Alpenglow 

In lieu of the Alpenglow summer outdoor concert series, the Center for the Arts and KBUT will broadcast a special ‘Alpenglow at Home’ show on July 6 from 6-8 p.m., featuring bands from Alpenglow’s 25-year history. The community is encouraged to tune in and host your own backyard Alpenglow. The Center will also be selling an ‘Alpenglow in a Box’ special, featuring local food, drink and goods from participating businesses including Montanya Distillers, Thrive Yoga, Colorado Real Soap Co., Irwin Beer and more. 

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival is planning for a scaled back version of the normal festival schedule running July 10-19.

With about 60 events to choose from, group sizes have been reduced to allow social distancing. “This will lend itself to a better, more interactive experience,” said the Festival’s Tom Zeiner. “Many of our most popular hikes are on the schedule including places like Lily Lake, Scarp Ridge and the Three Lakes Loop. Although we decided not to offer catered events, you’ll see us around town on Wildflower ID walks and Garden Tours.”

The Festival also plans to emphasize its popular art events, from plein air watercolor to photography, and will offer some virtual events for those who can’t attend in person, including journaling classes, wildflower game nights, iPhone photography and editing and film clips of festival hikes. 

Living Journeys Summit Hike

While the annual Living Journeys Half-Marathon and Summit Hike in-person has been cancelled this year, Living Journeys is organizing a Virtual Summit Challenge for July 25-26. This is Living Journeys’ largest fundraiser of the year with the mission to ensure no one in Gunnison County fights cancer alone. There will be two options for participation; a family-friendly 2-mile option and a Challenge Your Summit 13.1 mile option. Invite friends and family around the world to join a virtual team, prizes will be distributed and participants are encouraged to post on social media and show who they are honoring while doing their challenge.

Crested Butte Music Festival

While intimate settings and outdoor gatherings having always been a hallmark of the Festival, the Crested Butte Musical has shifted its 2020 musical performances into late summer and fall, July 26 through October 3. The Music + Mountains performances will be held at the Mt. Crested Butte wedding garden on select Wednesdays, featuring a diverse array of genres including Bluegrass, Gypsy Jazz, Symphony and Indie Rock. 

Organizers are reviewing all health and safety precautions, such as hand sanitizing stations and screening temperatures as tickets are turned in. “We want to ensure all Festival patrons feel comfortable with our precautions so they focus all of their attention on enjoying the music,” explains executive director Erica Vernon. 

Attendance may be limited and for those unable to travel and attend this season, the Festival is planning to live stream all of its performances. 

Adaptive Sports Center Crested Butte Open 

The Adaptive Sports Center will be holding its 25th annual Crested Butte Open virtual style, with an online auction beginning July 29 and culminating with a virtual gala and live auction on August 2. “Going virtual means we can have an unlimited number of people from all over the country and the world participate if they choose,” said development director Allison Butcher. “In previous years, we were limited to only 425 guests. Now the sky is the limit. 

“We are promoting and encouraging ‘watch parties’ where small groups of eight people or less gather in private homes in the valley and across the country to view the CB Open Program and Live Auction,” said Butcher. ‘Watch Party Sponsorships’ will be available for purchase, which include a local dinner delivered for your watch party or a package full of delectable recipes, spices and party favors if you are participating out of town. 

Adaptive hopes to have approximately 100 items available for bids ranging in value from $15- $20,000.

Crested Butte Arts Festival

Despite the difficult decision to cancel the in-person festival, the Crested Butte Arts Festival will host an online art auction from July 31 through August 9 featuring the artwork of 70 CBAF juried artists. People will have the opportunity to place a bid on an art piece or multiple pieces, and there will be daily sweepstakes for those who bid. Eighty percent of the proceeds from the online event will go back to the artists in support of art in the Gunnison Valley. 

“We want to reimagine our beloved festival as an opportunity to support and engage artists and patrons during a time when art is possibly needed now more than ever before,” explains CBAF’s executive director Chelsea Dalporto-McDowell. “Creativity is the mother of invention and in these unprecedented times, CBAF hopes that this re-imagined concept will foster hope for its artists, patrons and community.” 

McDowell notes that folks can register ahead of time with the opportunity to view the artwork on the online platform prior to the auction dates. 

Gunnison Valley Literary Festival 

The Center for the Arts’ Gunnison Valley Literary Festival, a weekend of diverse literary programming, will take place on August 28-30. The Center will host a weekend of discussions, panels, readings, kids’ events, podcast discussions and more. The event will offer both in-person and virtual programming, and more info will be available later this summer. 

The Chainless World Championship 

The beloved Chainless Race where participants put on ridiculous costumes and remove their chains before racing 7 miles from Kebler Pass into downtown Crested Butte has tentatively been rescheduled to August 28. More info is to come later this summer from the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce.

Bridges of the Butte

Given event size restrictions this summer, the Adaptive Sports Center is working on moving its Bridges of the Butte 24-hour biking fundraiser virtual on August 29, with hopes to still raise money to allow people with disabilities to participate in Adaptive’s programs and inspire community through bikes, fun, challenges and prizes. Stay tuned!

Summer Grand Traverse

The Summer Grand Traverse long-distance backcountry event, hosted by Crested Butte Nordic, is scheduled for September 5-6, with the run from Crested Butte to Aspen on Saturday, September 5 and the mountain bike race from Aspen to Crested Butte on Sunday, September 6. 

“We are still hopeful that we can create a Summer GT experience that abides by or exceeds all state and county public health mandates,” said CB Nordic executive director Christie Hicks. “We are not able to postpone or change dates due to many of the complicated logistics for this point-to-point race. In light of the current reopening assumptions, however, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to host a race on Labor Day weekend.”

The 42-mile race will be limited to 350 runners and 150 mountain bikers. “We are anticipating seeding racers and having staggered starts in accordance with the group size allowed by public health at the time of the race,” said Hicks. The pre-race meeting, finish line corral and awards ceremonies will likely be heavily modified or moved to virtual spaces. Racers may be required to wear masks at the start line, finish line and while passing other racers. Aid stations will also be more limited with pre-packaged food and modified fluid distribution systems, and racers to be responsible for their own shuttles due to the limited capacity of private transport services.  

Crested Butte Film Festival

For the 10th anniversary of Crested Butte Film Festival, the events will be virtual this year from September 25-October 4. Approximately 80-100 films from around the world including feature narratives, documentaries and short programs will be available through CBFF Virtual.  

CBFF Virtual will host films and engaging discussions that will be similar to renting a movie on Apple TV, Netflix or Amazon, available to watch by desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or through the TV via Chromecast, AirPlay or the Apple TV App. CBFF will also have limited in-person events during the festival.

 “Over the last nine years, we have gathered as a community, celebrating the transformative power of film and all that it offers,” said festival director Jen Brody. “Everyone has been deeply impacted by the virus and we, like everyone else, have been challenged to pivot and reimagine how we can continue to create space for connection and meaningful experiences for us all. This family has meant the world to us and we look forward to bringing CBFF to you, at home, to continue these important conversations.”

Feast in the Field 

Despite Mountain Roots cancelling its annual beloved Feast in the Field farm-to-table fundraiser, the organization will be holding a new concept called Feast in the Field Fridays. Every Friday for the month of August, Crested Butte’s Personal Chefs will prepare a multi-course dinner featuring locally raised meat, vegetables and fruits. 

“We can’t celebrate in person, but we can still celebrate local food and support Mountain Roots,” said Personal Chefs owner Dana Zobs. “We’ll just do it at home.”

The dinners will support the education, outreach, food production and the creation of new markets for area farmers in the Gunnison Valley.