Another busy weekend in Steamboat as MusicFest arrives

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— The holiday season may be coming to an end, but thousands of visitors will continue to rock the 'Boat through the middle of next week.

According to the lodging barometer produced by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, lodging properties will be 89 percent occupied Saturday with an estimated 13,300 overnight guests. That is down slightly from last weekend, when lodging properties were projected to be 91 percent full with 13,500 people. With the addition of last-minute travelers, local lodging properties actually ended up being 94 percent full the evening of Dec. 29.

While people might be wrapping up their holiday vacations, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said it will stay busy this weekend because some college students are still on break. The big draw, however, is the sold-out MusicFest 2013 featuring Texas and Americana music acts.

The 6,000-person event takes place primarily at the mountain area, but downtown business owners should reap some benefits, Barnett said.

"They're glad they're coming," she said.

The destination music festival is a six-day group ski trip running Jan. 5 to 10, and many of the music events take place in a giant tent erected in the Knoll Parking Lot.

Many of the bands have separate shows booked at downtown entertainment venues so those without festival passes have the opportunity to catch the acts.

There also are four free concerts being held at the stage in Gondola Square from Jan. 6 to 9. Those shows will start at about 1 p.m and feature performances by Jack Ingram with Ashley Ray, Dirty River Boys and Kyle Park, Midnight River Choir and Turnpike Troubadours, and The Washers and Cody Johnson.

As MusicFest 2013 attendees begin to leave town, things will slow down a bit in Steamboat. Next Saturday, lodging properties are expected to be only 41 percent full with 6,200 people. That number is likely to increase as the weekend of Jan. 12 approaches.

Barnett said tourism should start to really pick up again the second weekend in February and should be steadily busy through the third weekend in March.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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