Summerfest ‘Stretches’ into season | SteamboatToday.com
Tamera Manzanares

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Summerfest ‘Stretches’ into season

One day, “many years ago,” Denver entertainer Bill Coleman walked home on his drywall stilts and decided it would be a fun thing to do in parades.

Coleman’s character, Stretch the 9-foot Clown, eventually stepped up to marathons — entertaining runners while walking entire courses.

Now Coleman and his menagerie of props can be found at fairs and events throughout the country, including Hayden, where Stretch will be among performers at Hayden Valley Summerfest. Summerfest will take place Saturday at Hayden Town Park.

Stretch inspired the theme, “Stretch into Summer” for the fourth annual event, which also will feature craft and food vendors and music.

It’s hard to say what antics Stretch might have up his sleeve as he strolls among crowds. He’s been known to give “free” ear cleanings with 4-foot ear swaps and weed-wacker hair cuts.

Fair-goers also may find themselves looking for mustard for Stretch’s oversized hot dog or for Dusty, Cowboy Stretch’s horse.

“My comedy is very spontaneous,” Coleman said. “It depends on the mood I’m in.”

Summerfest crowds also will see Coleman’s 18-foot puppets.

“We do a lot of high fives and group hugs,” he said.

While Stretch will have crowds laughing, a lineup of local bands will have them grooving.

In the afternoon, the Yampa Valley Boys will play its brand of Western folk tunes and Hired Gun will rock out country style. The Blue Rooster Band will round out the day with classic rock and blues.

Other entertainment includes Robin Getter’s Afro Dance and Drum Ensemble and local martial arts instructor J.D. Paul, who will perform a demonstration with his Yama Dojo class. We’re Not Clowns will return to the festival this year with their humorous juggling act.

Children can keep busy with a climbing wall and inflatable obstacle course, new additions to the festival this year.

Summerfest, which usually attracts about 200 residents and visitors, was started by the town as a way to introduce more culture into Hayden.

Various local sponsors — including KRAI FM, Twentymile Coal Co. and other local businesses — help pay for entertainment and other aspects of the event, said Lindsay Heer, Hayden recreation coordinator.

This year’s event will include food and drinks from the Groundhog Cafe and Franco’s Fabulous Mexican fare. Eight craft vendors will sell items, including blankets and rugs, hand-knitted clothing, children’s trinkets and beaded jewelry.

Although Summerfest faces stiff competition for vendors from high-profile arts festivals in Steamboat Springs and other Colorado towns, the relaxed atmosphere helps set the Hayden event apart from the others.

“If you go once, you really can get hooked, whether you sell something or not,” said Lana McFadden, who has had booths in the past. “It’s really a pleasant event.”