Drew Emmitt plays a free concert at 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at the base of Steamboat Ski Area as part of the inaugural Steamboat OktoberWest fall festival.

Courtesy photo

Drew Emmitt plays a free concert at 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at the base of Steamboat Ski Area as part of the inaugural Steamboat OktoberWest fall festival.

OktoberWest starts Friday

Inaugural event promises family fun and beer

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Inaugural OktoberWest schedule

- Friday

5 p.m. - Pedaling Posse Parade: Cruiser bikes make their way through downtown from Howelsen Hill to Little Toots Park.

5 to 7 p.m. - Tasting token sale: Pay $5 for beer-tasting tokens to use Friday evening, or $8 for a beer stein to use Sept. 19.

6 p.m. - Suds & Grub: Participating restaurants offer beer tastings and food specials. $5 buys six 5-ounce beer-tasting tokens.

- Sept. 19

Noon - Keg tapping ceremony: Event organizers have selected several fall-themed, Rocky Mountain-produced beers for the OktoberWest beer garden. $10 buys a 15-ounce stein with one free beer; stein refills are $3, and beers without a stein are $4.

1 p.m. - Lamb Cook-Off: Local chefs try their hand at Routt County-produced lamb. Sample the results for free at 3:30 p.m.

2 p.m. - Bucking Bull Battle: Vie to be the best at riding a mechanical bull.

3:30 p.m. - Cow Pie Challenge: Contestants face off with their faces in chocolate pudding pie in this eating contest.

4 p.m. - Live music: Local bluegrass band 3Wire and Drew Emmitt Band play a free show.

- Sept. 20

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. - Activities and specials: Businesses at Steamboat Ski Area offer food and drink specials through the day, including a $5 Bloody Mary bar at the Oasis sundeck from 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and a $10 lunch buffet, also at the top of the gondola, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The gondola will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20; a Saturday gondola ticket gets Sunday rides for free. Activities in the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone at the base of Steamboat Ski Area will be two-for-one from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to all events is free. Visit the Steamboat OktoberWest Web site for more information or call 879-0880.

— The newest incarnation of a late-September celebration of beer, food and various activities comes to the Steamboat mountain area Friday to Sept. 20 with the inaugural OktoberWest.

Presented by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, OktoberWest follows in the footsteps of the former Steamboat Mountain Brewfest/Fall Foliage Festival and Steamboat Brewers' Festival in an attempt to offer a final shout for summer.

"The whole concept behind the event is that we can celebrate the fall season in Steamboat, and it's kind of a last call for summer and welcoming fall," said Lynna Broyles, marketing director for the Chamber.

Event organizers hope to establish the third weekend in September as a family-friendly attraction with beer in the background, Broyles said.

"We wanted to take back in that family theme, and we are a family-friendly resort. From a destination standpoint, this is a peak fall colors weekend for us. : We wanted to give people a reason to travel here on a softer weekend but also a fantastic weekend to come, but also give locals a chance to celebrate," she said.

Festival details

OktoberWest begins at 5 p.m. Friday with a parade of cruiser-style bikes from Howelsen Hill to Little Toots Park in downtown Steamboat Springs.

"It's : creating an atmosphere of getting ready for the fall season," said Molly Killien, media and public relations manager for the Chamber, about the cruiser parade.

At 6 p.m. Friday, participating restaurants will offer appetizer and beer pairings for "Suds & Grub." Six 5-ounce tasting tokens are $5, and are good for use Friday evening at participating restaurants, Broyles said. Tokens will be on sale from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Little Toots Park, she said.

On Sept. 19, the festival moves to the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Kegs of Rocky Mountain-produced brews will be tapped at noon. Selections include Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill's Alpenglow and fall seasonal wheat; New Belgium's Hoptober Golden Ale, Sunshine Wheat and Fat Tire amber; Steamboat Pale Ale; and Anheuser-Busch's Shock Top Belgian White, Broyles said.

Beer vendors will be in a beer garden and will be pouring full-size servings for $4. Fifteen-ounce steins are $10 on Saturday, and will be available for $8 in advance at Little Toots Park on Friday evening; each stein includes one free beer and $3 refills.

The festival features a lamb cook-off between local chefs using local products at 1 p.m. Sept. 19. Deep Roots, the Community Agriculture Alliance, Northwest Colorado Products and the Steamboat Springs Restaurant Association are sponsoring the competition. Festival attendees can try free lamb samples and vote in a people's choice contest at 3:30 p.m.

A mechanical bull-riding contest is at 2 p.m. Sept. 19. The "Cow Pie Challenge," an eating contest with chocolate pudding pies, is at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19. Local bluegrass band 3Wire provides live music at 4 p.m., and headlining act the Drew Emmitt Band - featuring Leftover Salmon mandolin player and multi-faceted solo artist Drew Emmitt - closes out the day with a free concert. Admission to all events is free.

Family activities in the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone will be available at reduced prices from noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20, and there will be food and drink specials at the top of the gondola Sept. 20. The gondola will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20.

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