The Drew Emmitt Band plays a free concert Saturday at the base of Steamboat Ski Area as part of Steamboat OktoberWest. Local bluegrass band 3Wire opens the show at 4 p.m. An OktoberWest beer garden, cooking competition and pie eating contest are earlier in the day Saturday.

Courtesy photo

The Drew Emmitt Band plays a free concert Saturday at the base of Steamboat Ski Area as part of Steamboat OktoberWest. Local bluegrass band 3Wire opens the show at 4 p.m. An OktoberWest beer garden, cooking competition and pie eating contest are earlier in the day Saturday.

Emmitt headlines OktoberWest with free show today

Leftover Salmon mandolin player performs

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OktoberWest

OktoberWest is this weekend!  Harper Louden taps into Molly Killien for all the details.

OktoberWest is this weekend! Harper Louden taps into Molly Killien for all the details.

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"Long Road" by Drew Emmitt

OktoberWest schedule

Today:

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 Saturday at Little Toots Park.

6 p.m. Suds & Grub: Participating restaurants offer beer samples and food specials. $5 buys six 5-ounce beer-tasting tokens. Participating restaurants include 8th Street Steak House, Harwigs/L'Apogee, Mahogany Ridge, Mazzola's, Old Town Pub, Steamboat Smokehouse, The Tap House and Riggio's.

Saturday:

Noon. Keg tapping ceremony at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Event organizers have selected several fall-themed, Rocky Mountain-produced beers for the OktoberWest beer garden. Ten dollars 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 at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. 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.

Sunday:

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Activities and specials: Businesses at the 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. Saturday and Sunday; a Saturday Gondola ticket gets Sunday rides for free. Activities in the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area will be two-for-one from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to all events is free. For more information about the inaugural Steamboat OktoberWest, visit their Web site or call 879-0880.

If you go

What: The Drew Emmitt Band, bluegrass and rock, with opening band 3Wire

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Base of Steamboat Ski Area

Cost: Free

Call: 879-0880

— A little more than a year ago, mandolin player and Colorado music scene mainstay Drew Emmitt released a record that chronicled his decades on the road.

With songs and stories that come from 20 years playing with jam, bluegrass and rock band Leftover Salmon, and experience playing with other groups and as a solo act, Emmitt has plenty of room to reflect.

In a free concert Saturday at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, Emmitt and his band will play a lot of those reflective songs. They'll also play a lot of rock.

The Drew Emmitt Band has tended toward a more straightforward rock sound recently to appeal to a wider variety of venues, bringing in a drummer and a willingness to "rock it out a little bit more," Emmitt said.

"For a lot of venues on the road, I think people are looking for that," he said. Emmitt most recently played in Steamboat as part of the 2008 Free Summer Concert Series.

The Saturday concert is part of the inaugural Steamboat OktoberWest, a fall festival and beer tasting event that spans three days and includes food competitions, family-friendly activities, a cruiser bike parade and an array of brews.

Local bluegrass band 3Wire takes the ski area stage at 4 p.m. Saturday, and Emmitt headlines the show. Earlier in the day, a beer garden featuring harvest beers from Rocky Mountain breweries will offer drinks for $3 a glass with the purchase of a $10 beer stein. OktoberWest is a new event for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

A founding member of Leftover Salmon, Emmitt has recorded three solo projects and will release an album collaborating with The String Cheese Incident guitarist Bill Nershi later this month. He also occasionally plays with Leftover Salmon and strikes a careful balance between the bluegrass roots that inspire his playing and the rock spirit that keeps his concerts lively.

"Definitely, when I'm writing a bluegrass song, I try to channel - not necessarily a traditional - but more of a sense of acoustic music and bluegrass music," Emmitt said. "But when I write more for a rock band, I'm going more for a hard-edge kind of sound. It's a nice blend of styles."

"Long Road" by Drew Emmitt

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