Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Moratorium on some franchise business licenses to be discussed

Six months to figure out appropriate regulations

By Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Town Council is moving toward enacting a six-month moratorium on issuing new business licenses for so-called “formula” restaurant and retail endeavors in town. Those six months will be spent analyzing the potential impacts of an increase in such franchise businesses and give the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) time to formulate a recommendation to council.

A public hearing on the moratorium is slated for October 1, when the council will likely make a decision. Ultimately, the council will consider a limit on the number of formula/franchise restaurant and retail businesses allowed in Crested Butte.

The council discussed the matter for the second time at the September 17 council meeting. While the meeting was highly publicized, no business representatives attended the meeting to speak on the issue.

Borrowing language from a similar ordinance in Aspen, the starting point to define a formula/franchise business in Crested Butte is a “restaurant or retail commercial establishment that has ten or more other establishments in operation … and that maintains two or more of the following features: a standardized array of merchandise or menu items, standardized array of services, a standardized façade, a standardized décor and color scheme, uniform apparel, standardized signage, a trademark, or service mark.”

The motivation behind the proposed moratorium is to figure how to limit the number of franchise businesses allowed in Crested Butte so as to protect the local business district and overall character of town that is a designated National Historic District.

Despite the popular notion that franchises are not currently permitted in Crested Butte, there are several such businesses located in town, such as the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and True Value.

But council members recently held a pow-wow with officials from towns such as Park City, where Vail Resorts purchased the nearby ski area. The proliferation of franchise-type businesses was one warning Crested Butte officials took away from the conversation, so they want to get out ahead of the situation.

“We want to emphasize that this is intended to protect our businesses,” said councilman Kent Cowherd. “We are looking for their support and engagement. We are not seeking to ban franchises from town. We already have several. But we want to take an inventory of what we have and determine what would be appropriate for Crested Butte.”

Mayor Jim Schmidt emphasized that in discussions with officials from communities that had been affected by a sale  of the resort to Vail, the business community lobbied for such regulations limiting franchises.

Town manager Dara MacDonald said a moratorium gives council time to do just that. “It is a tool for a time-out while you decide what you ultimately want to do,” she told the council. “The proposed moratorium ordinance directs the town to gather input from local businesses, property owners, visitors and citizens about their thoughts regarding franchises. Chris [Haver] and I have spoken with Ashley [UpChurch] at the chamber of commerce and we will set up meetings to engage the public about their thoughts on the matter. Ultimately it will go to BOZAR and then to the council.”

The moratorium “is directed solely at restaurant and retail,” added councilman Chris Haver. “It leaves out things like service businesses such as real estate offices or a carpet cleaning business.”

In a memo to the council, MacDonald wrote at least 30 jurisdictions across the country have some sort of regulations governing formula businesses. The thought is to preserve businesses with unique local character, avoid the generic appearance of storefronts in town and potentially minimize the escalation of rents associated with the demands created by national chains.

While the town tried to get the word out to some local stakeholders about the upcoming issue, no business representatives attended the September 17 meeting to address the issue. The council will look for more public input during the official public hearing scheduled for October 1.

Profile: Mike Larson

A slice of life in paradise

By Dawne Belloise

There’s no doubt that Mike Larson is a mountain dweller through and through, with his love of the outdoors and his fervor for mountain biking, although he laughs that he hails from “redneck stuff,” growing up in Watchung Hills, N.J. His dad gave him a love and respect for hunting and fishing and Mike even dabbled in taxidermy until around the age of 15, when he became aware of the imbalance of the eco-system.

“At a certain point, hunters were part of the ecosystem but I don’t consider humans as part of the natural ecosystem any longer, not like the Native Americans who lived in harmony with nature. I try not to be a hypocrite—I do eat meat and I’ve butchered everything that’s ever flown, swam or walked in my lifetime as being a pro cook.”

He clarifies though that he’s not referring to sustenance hunting. “I’m basically talking about the trophy hunters. I had these hunter roots but I never felt that great about killing a deer.”

All through high school, Mike had the idealistic vision of wanting to save the world and figured he’d become an environmental scientist. After graduating in 1982, he attended Ramapo College in northern New Jersey for a year, which he felt was just a stepping stone, and afterwards transferred to University of Wyoming in Laramie. The reality of having to take a stifling amount of math and chemistry deterred his ambition of being in the science field and he switched to industrial education. “Those are the degrees they offered to the football or basketball players so I became friends with them. It was a laughable, outdated program even then,” he says.

Mike had discovered his love for road biking and racing at 15 and joined the Somerset Wheelman Club for racing, touring through the undeveloped lands of New Jersey. Unfortunately, later, while at the University of Wyoming, his bike was stolen, but it became the turning point for him as he bought his first mountain bike.

“Then I fell in love with the mountain bike trails, and in winter I’d cross country ski those same trails at Vedauwoo, east of Laramie, in a very rocky wilderness area not unlike Taylor Canyon.” It wasn’t long before he switched to Montana State University in Bozeman because they had a better program in industrial education. “I ended my college career there. I got my first season pass in 1983 at Bridger Bowl, where I started telemark skiing. The rest is history,” he smiles.

From Bozeman, Mike moved to Steamboat Springs in 1985, but only for one winter season, skiing and dish diving before moving on to Jackson Hole, Wyo. “I wanted to experience the Tetons. I always had an affinity to Wyoming—less than a half million people, it was the least populated state in the U.S. In fact, it was losing population. From there, I had an inkling that I could become a cook because I had what I felt was a natural ability to cook. I fibbed my way into my first cook job at Teton Village at the ski area, telling them I had been cooking at an Italian restaurant in Steamboat and within a couple of months I was running that Teton kitchen. You don’t have to be a great chef to be hired as a cook in the kitchen.”

Mike feels that a good work ethic is the key to success. “I’ve put my time in as a line cook and whoever’s running that kitchen will teach you what you need for that menu and you should be grateful for what you’ve learned in that particular kitchen.” He was at Jackson Hole for three years, where he also worked as a cook at the Mangy Moose and the Blue Lion.

When John Byrne, who owned the restaurant Mike had worked at in Jackson Hole, bought the Eldo in Crested Butte in 1987, he offered Mike a cook job and Mike also assisted in getting the restaurant and bar open. He arrived in town in August and, having never been to Crested Butte, he was awed.

“I couldn’t believe that this place existed. There were so few people here and it was super cool. I had come over on Kebler Pass and it was about four months before I even left to go to Gunnison,” and getting there, he recalls, “The highway wasn’t even an improved road, it was almost a single lane.”

Mike became even more of an avid cyclist. “I was way into mountain biking and it was because of that—Crested Butte was an up and coming mountain bike destination.” He quickly fell into the small community of skiers and cyclists here. “There was a tight group of people and we were all friends. There were only about 500 people living in town then, we were a close community. In the summer, we’d camp to save money and in the winter we’d move into a house with five other people because that’s how we did it, that’s how ski bums do it, isn’t it?” he laughs.

After two years at the Eldo, Mike moved on to work for Crested Butte Mountain Resort from 1990 through 1995 at their fine dining restaurants like Jeremiah’s and Giovanni’s, where Club Med eventually had their dining facility. “In the summer, they’d send me down to their country club at Skyland. During off-season, which was a lot longer back then, I’d go ride Moab and just enjoy the freedom. I was literally living the life.”

In 1995, he hooked up with Geo Bullock, as a cook and partner, and the two entrepreneurs moved to Moab to start the Gonzo Café. “It was a dream of both of ours, to have our own restaurant. We had dirt-cheap prices, doing breakfast and lunch and catering to the sprouting bicycling community of Moab. Mountain biking was just starting there.”

Ah, but, Crested Butte called them home, as it does for so many who try to leave and once it’s under your skin, you long to return no matter where you are. “So we came running back here, but not before learning a lot about the restaurant business, and we had a successful business.”

He returned to start up the Buffalo Grill with partners Cathy Benson and the late Jimmy Clark. Mike had just become a father to Maya, his daughter, in 1996. Club Med was ruling the town at the time, Mike says, and he felt it affected Crested Butte. “It was the first inkling of change in the mid-90s. Crested Butte had grown.”

Club Med brought an international exposure and their clients ate at Buffalo Grill when they came to town. Buffalo Grill sold in 2001 and Mike ran his Happy Trails Café out of the Eldo for five years, working with Ted Bosler and Mike Knoll.

“I had a pizza dough recipe in my wallet, that my dad’s friend in Florida had shared with me. When the spot over by the skateboard park became available in 2007, I knew we could create a small pizzeria there and feed the locals,” Mike says of the place they’ve sold slices and pies out of for 11 years.

That same year, he married his partner, Mary Hayes, and the two opened Mikey’s Pizza. “There’s a lot more to running a restaurant than meets the eye and my partner-wife, Mary, does the paperwork and the business part of it, all the other stuff that you don’t see. I met Mary in 2005, when I was cooking at the Eldo and she was visiting here, checking out the Mountain Heart Massage School. We’ve been happily ever after ever since.”

They opened the Gunnison branch of Mikey’s Pizza in 2012, and successfully sold it in 2017. “We put that in the ‘been there, done that’ category,” he grins, and he didn’t miss the 60 miles of round-trip driving.

Through all the hard work and long hours of restaurant ownership and cooking, Mike still found time to ski and bike. “I find enjoyment in the simple things. You don’t have time for everything, so you have to choose what you’re going to focus on. I’ve always loved the ease of being able to access the backcountry wherever I was.”

But less than two years ago, in 2016, Mike had a life-altering, life-threatening situation slam him. After a remarkable week of biking Moab, he went to ride the Palisade Rim trail. “I felt a numb lip, lost balance and felt nauseated, but I was in denial.” Ignoring the danger signs, he went on a 25-mile ride in Crested Butte and it happened again. This time, it was same symptoms but with a thunderclap headache, “like somebody hitting me over the head with a club, and I had to lay down on the side of the trail.” He was airlifted out and taken to Swedish Medical Center in Denver, where he spent five days and was told he had aneurisms. “They put me on baby aspirins.” He shrugged and went on to have a good ski season that winter.

But one year later, last year, while riding solo on the Secret Trail that connects to Carbon Creek Trail, he was hit hard again. “It was 6 p.m. I took the ‘Don Cook motorcycle trail’ [Para Me y Para Te Trail] up to the Green Lake trail. I wasn’t feeling great and it’s not an easy trail. I rode down to Mikey’s Pizza and at that point I knew it was happening again, but I thought I could fix it myself, by taking a bath.” Mike was in complete denial.

“Mary knew I wasn’t right and took me to the hospital, where I got another helicopter ride to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction. By the time I got there, I was experiencing triple hiccups, loss of swallowing, I couldn’t walk and I was unable to form sentences. I had lost all motor control, I had a feeding tube and I couldn’t even brush my teeth. It brought me to my knees.”

He spent an entire month at St. Mary’s where, at one point, he was close to death, having also contracted pneumonia. Mike’s correct diagnosis was vertebral artery dissection, a blockage in his artery, essentially, a stroke. “I’m still recovering, which they say will take about two years. It’s been a year and I’m still healing. I still have some symptoms—my face is numb and I can’t feel hot or cold because my nerves got fried.” He also experienced a rare symptom of the condition called Wallenberg Syndrome, which he explains as “a lower brain stem stroke, specifically the loss of swallowing, with hiccups and vertigo.”

Mike always knew that Crested Butte would someday be discovered but he felt, “Leaving wasn’t an option for me. I wasn’t going to be displaced,” and he was fortunate enough to scrape together enough to buy a condo.

“The trails have become better so there are more people here enjoying it and that was inevitable. You can’t stop the change. Population has increased throughout the world and Crested Butte was going to be discovered at some point, especially with the information age. The internet has really opened things up and people show trophy photos of this great place. That’s what I feel has really opened Crested Butte up to the rest of the world. As far as losing our soul, the high price of land and the second homeowners whose houses are dark most of the year have displaced locals. I didn’t move here to make money or get rich, I came here to live. It’s unrealistic to think that Crested Butte was going stay like it was in the 80s. I think it’s still a great place to be, as long as we evolve with the change. You can’t let the trust-funders or the big money coming to town get you down. We can’t let that diminish our love for this place, for these mountains, for this town. You gotta roll with the changes. I don’t know of any place that is better or able to escape the evolving reality of the world.”

Brush Creek sketch plan leans toward an approval

Public hearing on the sketch plan closes

By Kristy Acuff

The Gunnison County Planning Commission heard just over 60 minutes of comments during the final session of the public hearing on the proposed The Corner at Brush Creek affordable housing development sketch plan on Friday, July 20. County staff was instructed to draft an approval document with conditions.

Approximately 100 people attended the hearing concerning the sketch plan of the 220-unit housing development that would sit on the 14 acres of land currently owned by the county at the corner of Brush Creek Road and Highway 135.

In addition, county attorney David Baumgarten and attorney for the developer, Gatesco Inc., Kendall Burgemeister reported the results of recent efforts to bring multiple valley stakeholders to the table to discuss the proposal with the Gatesco team, as directed by the county last month.

In response to a proposed idea that the affordable housing project be moved to Mt. Crested Butte, Burgemeister reported that while the Mt. Crested Butte council has authorized town staff to evaluate the town’s 17-acre parcel near its town hall as a potential site for affordable housing, “If they decide to go that route, they indicated that [developer] Gary Gates would not be given first dibs to that land parcel, nor would that land parcel be connected in any way to the proposed Brush Creek development.”

In addition, Burgemeister addressed a previous suggestion that the housing development tap into the East River Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment plant instead of building its own stand-alone treatment plant.

Proponents of this idea suggest that could drive down costs and allow the density of the development to be reduced without impacting profit.

“The East River Sanitation District directed us to file an official application so they can evaluate whether or not they can serve this project and amend their rules to allow reduced tap fees for workforce housing,” said Burgemeister. “We are submitting an application but we don’t anticipate that connection to drive down development costs significantly. But it would eliminate the need for an additional wastewater treatment plant.

“And we also spoke with Skyland Metro District about tapping into its water and were told that is not an option, so we will proceed with our proposed well,” said Burgemeister.

Jim Schmidt, mayor of Crested Butte, described the meetings between Gatesco and the Town Council that, he said, did not produce substantive results. “The process evoked a good deal of frustration for our citizens,” said Schmidt. “The council discussed this during four separate meetings that the developers attended but never presented substantive adaptations to the proposed project. They presented no alternatives to the current proposal.”

Later in the hearing, planning commissioner Molly Mugglestone asked Schmidt if the town of Crested Butte had ever offered subsidy in the form of tap fees for water and sewer, from the town to the applicant, an idea that surfaced during the previous Planning Commission hearing.

“I am offended by the idea that we, the town, are asked to subsidize this developer. Why are we being asked about this? Why isn’t the county being asked about this?” replied Schmidt. “This person has no property rights to the property. We have very limited actual public water. Coal Creek is a trickle this year and the idea that we are beholden to this particular developer and we would subsidize with town water—I find that offensive.”

David Leinsdorf, attorney representing the Friends of Brush Creek, a group that submitted an alternative housing development proposal last week to the Planning Commission, spoke about the stipulations of the Land Use Resolution (LUR) governing development in the county.

“The LUR states the proposed development must be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and if you consider this proposal compatible, then, anything must be compatible by that definition,” said Leinsdorf. “The LUR does not authorize modifications to its standards even for a worthy project like affordable housing and this project represents significant modifications of existing standards.”

Following the presentations from the town of Crested Butte and the applicant, the Planning Commission opened the hearing up to the public for comment.

Kyleena Falzone, owner of the Secret Stash and Bonez restaurants in Crested Butte, spoke first. “I employ 150 people on payroll and housing is a critical, a massive issue for our county. It is hard to run a business when you don’t know if your staff will be around for the season because they lose their place to live. I am in support of this project moving from sketch plan to preliminary plan with conditions. One condition I have is that the units have to be governed and regulated by the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority so we make sure to get them occupied by the workers who need the housing. This isn’t just about me. It’s about keeping the community together.”

Eileen Whitley expressed concerns about the density of the project and the traffic and parking problems that will ensue as a result. “This housing proposal is going to put 50 to 60 people per acre in a county where the average density is three people per acre. That is not quality of life,” said Whitley. “In addition, they are proposing 1.1 parking spaces per bedroom. That is inadequate. In the River neighborhood we have 1.5 spaces per bedroom and that is not enough. But in this development, where is the overflow going to park? On Brush Creek Road? On the highway? That is unsafe and illegal. And the traffic is going to be coming out of the development trying to turn left, first onto Brush Creek Road and then onto the highway. You are talking about 500 residents trying to turn left in a space of 450 feet. There will be no room to merge.”

George Gibson raised concerns about increasing construction costs forcing Gatesco to either reduce the quality of the project or increase expenses and threaten bankruptcy with the county. “Gatesco claims a 2 percent profit margin on this project,” said Gibson. “We can be pretty certain that construction costs are going to increase well beyond that 2 percent during the course of this project and you will end up with a slum building or something half-built, while the developer walks away.”

Kevin Hartigan, owner of the Last Steep Bar and Grill in Crested Butte, reiterated many of Falzone’s arguments in favor of the project with conditions. “The need for housing is now. It is incredibly challenging to run a business now, and ideally I would love to see this density spread throughout the valley. I care deeply about this community and I am open 363 days every year. I have workers who could be employed year-round but have to split because they lose their housing,” said Hartigan. “This isn’t the only solution but it is a step in the right direction.”

Lisa Merck, owner of Sopris Women’s Clinic, also spoke in favor of the project with conditions. “I am in support of this project with the condition that it is regulated so we don’t have people coming in from out of county, buying up our housing for our county’s workers,” said Merck.

Sam Lumb spoke in opposition to the project, stating, “I served on the Planning Commission and when I served, we denied an inappropriate development because it did not meet the LUR requirements. I implore you to deny this project. It is inappropriate and does not meet the LUR. That is your job.”

After just over an hour of testimony, the Planning Commission officially closed the public hearing and is now moving in the direction to approve the proposed sketch plan with conditions.

Planning commissioners directed the county staff to write a draft of conditions addressing density, parking, income qualifications for deed restrictions, wastewater treatment and water availability, traffic flow and a transit center. Staff estimates the draft will be prepared in three weeks and presented to the Planning Commission for review.

The Planning Commission must vote on the sketch plan within 60 days of the close of the public hearing on Friday, July 20.

“I can’t think of a sketch plan that has ever been approved without conditions,” said Cathie Pagano, county director of community and economic development. “Our job is now to take what we have heard and gathered from public comments during this hearing and synthesize it into conditions for the Planning Commission to consider.”

If the Planning Commission approves the sketch plan, the applicant would generate a more detailed preliminary plan that would then be subject to further review from both the public and the Planning Commission. Prior to any construction, however, at least thre of the four stakeholders in the 14-acre property under consideration must agree to sell it to Gatesco for $100,000. The stakeholders include the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, Gunnison County and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

“It is our intent to obtain approval from three of the four stakeholders before moving into the preliminary plan phase,” said Gatesco attorney Burgemeister.

“Why not obtain approval from all four?” asked planning commissioner A.J. Cattles.

“Because we only need a majority of stakeholders,” answered Burgemeister.

“But can the Planning Commission require that Gatesco obtain approval from all four as a condition of sketch plan? I want to keep peace in this valley and I think all four parties should approve,” stated Cattles, prompting county attorney David Baumgarten to intervene.

“I would caution you not to conflate your decision on sketch plan with the execution of a real estate contract. I would suggest to you that since there is an offer of three of the four of the stakeholders, you don’t want to exceed that offer with a condition. You keep to the limits set by the applicant,” stated Baumgarten.

“But the town of Crested Butte is closest to this and has the most at stake here and so the three out of four really worries me. I want to keep peace in the valley,” reiterated Cattles.

“Let me say it again more clearly: Limit that condition to that which is offered to you or we get into legal liability,” said Baumgarten.

“I was really hoping for more substantive details to emerge from the recent talks between Gatesco and the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte and if we keep it to three of the four stakeholders, then the talks might not continue as we hope they will,” said Cattles.

“Remember that approval of the sketch plan shall constitute approval for the general development concept only, not of specifics. Approval of the sketch plan would also authorize the applicant to submit a preliminary plan if he gets three of the four stakeholders to approve,” said Baumgarten.

At which point the planning commissioners generated a list of general conditions that must be addressed in order for the sketch plan to be approved. The list included density, parking, traffic flow, water availability and wastewater treatment, AMI (area median income) requirements for deed restrictions, and trails and public access.

“In addition to this general list, are there specific outlines or details of conditions you want?” asked Pagano.

“Water,” answered planning commissioner Jack Diani. “I would like a condition that states the applicant must test the well during the driest time of the year to ensure there is adequate water for the development.”

“And I would add the condition that the applicant secure the permanency of the deed restrictions so they will not be lifted in the event of economic downturn or other extenuating circumstances,” added planning commissioner Vince Rogalski.

“And make sure the applicant continues to pursue the application for wastewater treatment with the East River Sanitation District,” said planning commissioner Molly Mugglestone.

“In conclusion, I just want to thank the public and ask that they continue to have patience with us and thank you to the parties who have been involved in these conversations for the past six weeks,” said Cattles, addressing the audience at the end.

Profile: MJ Vosburg

There’s a part of MJ Vosburg’s story that’s atypical of many of the Crested Butte narratives. She’s a self-confessed mediocre alpine skier and doesn’t like to mountain bike since her first foray into the locally popular sport when she took a hard fall on her face and decided that was the end of that.

She emphasizes that she’s definitely not a mountain climber, although she loves to hike. In fact, she’s an avid hiker.

Essentially, MJ’s story is that she moved to Crested Butte for love, relocating here to be with Joel Vosburg in 1982. “I was never a single person in Crested Butte. Joel and I started our young lives together here.” She traded her career in psychology for life in a mountain town with a guy she was madly in love with.

Born and raised in Nashville until she was 18, she initially headed west to attend Denver University, earning her degree in psychology and social work. “I came to Denver on a plane. I had never been west of the Mississippi but DU gave me the best deal,” she says of her scholarship, and as for coming to Colorado, she smiles, “It changed my life and I never looked back.”

After graduating in 1980, MJ was hired as a counselor at a residential group home for 14-year-old to 18-year old girls. “Most of these girls had been removed from their homes because of their parents, or lack of parenting. You worked 24 hours on and 48 off.”

She and Joel had met and dated in college but as MJ says, “We broke up forever. I was more focused in my life at that point than he was.”

When Joel was hired for Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Crested Butte student employee program, he moved up here. “I was in Denver. By the end of that winter he came to Denver and said we needed to be together.” MJ agreed and thought it would be best for them to move to Crested Butte for a year before deciding where to live their real life, and, she grins, “We never left.”

MJ got a job making sandwiches in the deli that used to be in the Emmons building on the mountain before landing a job as personnel director at Ptarmigan Realty. When Ptarmigan went out of business in April 1982, everybody lost their job, and she recalls the frenzy that ensued.

“Joel and I were getting married in May when they went belly-up and I was the main bread winner,” she recalls. “Lou Costello called me about the complex phone system that Ptarmigan had because everyone at CBMR also used it and it was going to shut down with the company going out of business. No one knew how to run it except me and Dave Lindsey. They offered me a job,” because, she says, they really had no choice except to hire her to operate that phone system.

Later, she evolved into the sales department for CBMR, selling ski packages to groups, when most of the busier skier days saw the slopes thick with tourists from Atlanta, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida.

MJ left CBMR to work for Solutions Inc., then the biggest property management company in the valley, and stayed with them for a decade as director of sales and marketing. “It was before CBMR got into the lodging business and we worked with them a lot. In those days, the talent that was in the ski resort was amazing. Skier days were at their peak in the late 1980s because of the masters of marketing.”

In fact, MJ says, “CBMR was setting the tone for the ski industry for Colorado. We did things first, like the direct flights from Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and eventually Chicago and Newark. They developed so many innovative programs, like celebrity ski events that were a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis, through American Airlines.”

CBMR was also bringing in top-notch musicians who performed in the spacious Rafters (now demolished), amazing talent like the Allman Brothers, Gloria Estefan, Juice Newton, the Bee Gees, Roy Orbison and more. She notes that the X Games started here in the West, as well as the late, great Country in the Rockies.

There were also President Jimmy Carter’s ski events. “President Carter’s auctions, dinners and events raised money that went to help his Atlanta Project, kids that the Carters were very involved with. It was a great hey-day here. It all started in Crested Butte.”

But also during those days, many locals who had children decided to leave because, as hopping as the ski area was, MJ remembers, “You couldn’t make enough money because there weren’t enough consistent jobs. The Crested Butte school only went up to fifth grade and then your kids had to be bused to Gunnison, so most families left. That’s when the groups of people started realizing they needed more school space, because we didn’t want to send our sixth-grade kids to Gunnison and town was growing. There were more of us who had kids and who wanted to stay.”

MJ recalls the consensus in town was that a new middle school had to be built, for sixth through eighth grades. “We put it on the ballot, to split the Crested Butte school district from Gunnison, but it failed since all the votes were in Gunnison. After that failed election, we had more people getting involved and got it back on the ballot to build a K through 12 school at the north end of the valley, and it passed. What changed was that the school district realized that the population had grown in Crested Butte and also the Gunnison schools were aging.”

In 1987 Joel and MJ had their son, Zach, and built one of the only two houses in the town of Mt. Crested Butte, on Paradise Road.

“As young parents, we were working to get the schools built. The land that the Crested Butte Community School sits on now was part of an intricate trade agreement between the school district and the town of Crested Butte,” she notes. Having the necessary new school finally in the works played an integral part in keeping not only the Vosburgs in Crested Butte, but many families.

And town was indeed changing. The ski area had grown enough to provide more year-round jobs. Joel became CBMR’s food and beverage director and MJ was working at Solutions. “We just kept working. We worked a lot. We were a little family and our emphasis was starting to change. My emphasis changed from really focusing on the work that I was doing and being part of the mountain ski industry to being a mother.”

And the shift happened for Joel also, because the food and beverage business was not family-conducive. Joel worked all day and late into the night, oftentimes having to close down the Rafters. Joel quit his job in 1989, not knowing what he was going do, but they resolved the issue, “He became the primary parent and I was still working at Solutions for Crested Butte Accommodations.”

Joel mostly took care of Zach, moonlighting as a chimney sweep and waiting tables at the Artichoke (now the Avalanche) before deciding to go into real estate.

“We had put off having a second child and we had considered leaving but didn’t want to,” MJ says. Even though real estate was in the tank at that time, they decided to have another child anyway and their daughter, Emma, was born in 1991. With Joel now at Becky Hamlin Realty, MJ took the big step, leaving her long-time job to once again be a fulltime mom. “It was the best decision I ever made for my family and myself,” she realized. “The beautiful thing that happened was that I let go of all this drive and career stuff,” which then opened the door to far more interesting opportunities. “I started working for the Lodging Tax Panel, now called the Tourism Association. Their goal was to market summer and fall in Crested Butte and Gunnison. Back then, our summers weren’t so crazy and there needed to be more emphasis on summer tourism.”

In 1993, MJ began working as the ad sales person for the Crested Butte Magazine, a position she still has after 25 years. “I get to work with my best friend, Sandy Fails, it’s the best gig ever,” she smiles. MJ also sells ads for Elk Mountain Real Estate Review as well as the In-Room Guide, a tabbed book that goes into almost all the rental hotels and condos. In 2005, she and Sandy Fails published Where the Road Ends, a coffee table book about Crested Butte. “I did the business legwork. I was the publishing and marketing sales side of it. I’m not a writer,” she says modestly, although she did contribute an entire chapter. “But it’s fun to be associated with such a talented writer,” she notes of her best friend.

MJ met Sandy when she offered her a proposition, knowing Sandy was home with her son, Chris, and MJ needed a reliable babysitter for Zach. “I called Sandy and said, you don’t know me but would you consider taking care of my son two days a week?” and Sandy said, “No.”

However, a few days later, after considering the offer, Sandy decided to give it a try. So began the relationship of Zach and Chris, who are still very tight friends, and Sandy and MJ in 1988. “I can’t even imagine having a better friend than Sandy. Our sons grew up together and she’s Emma’s godmother,” MJ says.

MJ served on the school board for more than seven years, from 2003 through 2010. “The school district was on financial probation with the state—bad decisions were made for good reasons. It was hard, it was a mess and required so much time and you’re messing with people’s kids, so everybody’s your boss. We had a fantastic group of people who stepped up and joined the board. We had to get out of the financial mess we were in and the community stepped up and passed the mil levy override, which provided $1.2 million to the school budget in the whole school district in 2005. Already the Crested Butte school, which had been built for 350 kids, had started to burst at the seams, so we started working toward expansion, doubling the numbers of classrooms and building an additional gym.”

The 2008 election’s $55 million bond issue passed and doubled the capacity by expanding the CBCS. MJ laughs, “They told us we were crazy. We built this school to accommodate 750 kids and we’re already up over 700. Now the district is looking again at having to do another expansion or build another school. Though I was quite reluctant to ever go on the school board it was truly one of the most rewarding and taxing things I’ve ever done.”

These days, MJ prefers to spend more time inward. “I still try to spend time with friends and family but I spend a lot of time on my own. I’ve gotten quieter. Today, the big change that I actively seek is a slower pace and to take more time with whatever, to not be a part of the frantic, busy world and to be present and appreciate and notice and live each day with gratitude.”

Above all, she cherishes her relationships. “I feel like Crested Butte, although it’s gone through many changes, is still the best place I’ve ever found to foster and support relationships. I’m extraordinarily ordinary,” she thinks, “and this is the most amazing place to be ordinary. Every morning I look out my window and look up Paradise Divide and every day it’s different and every day it’s the same. And that is what fills my soul.”

Community Calendar Thursday, July 19–Wednesday, July 25

THURSDAY 19
• 6-7 a.m. Sunrise Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-7:45 a.m. Guided Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8 a.m. Ecumenical Meditation at UCC.
• 8:30 a.m. Women’s book discussion group at UCC.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Level 2 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m. Historic Walking Tour at the Crested Butte Heritage Museum.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Vinyasa Level 1/2 at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Ashtanga Vinyasa / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics Level 1 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 11 a.m. Weekly storytime at Townie Books. 349-7545.
• 11:30 a.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• noon All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Church Community Healing Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Vinyasa Level 1/2 at Yoga for teh Peaceful.
• 12:30-1:15 p.m. Lunchtime Yoga with Leia in the Gunnison Arts Center Dance Studio.
• 3-5 p.m. Watercolor & Wine with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044
• 4-5 p.m. RockAsana at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 4:30-6 p.m. Crested Butte Community Food Bank open at Oh Be Joyful Church. (1st & 3rd Thursday)
• 4:45-6 p.m. Contemporary Dance (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. Cardio Dance at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6:10-7:10 p.m. Barre Workout (ages 14+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 6:30 p.m. AA Open Meditation at UCC.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Restorative Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 7 p.m. Women Supporting Women Group Discussion at the Nordic Inn.
• 7:15-8:30 p.m. Adult Contemporary Dance with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.
• 8:15-8:45 p.m. Free Meditation / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 p.m. Evening Sadhana / CB Co-op at Town Hall.

FRIDAY 20
• 6-7:15 a.m. Hip Hop Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. Adult Ballet Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 8 a.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8-8:45 a.m. Open Aerial Play with CB School of Dance at the Center for the Arts.
• 8:45 a.m. Core Power Yoga Class at the Pump Room.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Flexibly Challenged / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Simple Sketch Series: Clouds with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Iyengar at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 1 p.m. Art group meets at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 2-5 p.m. Paint Your Own Pottery in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.
• 2-5 p.m. Open Wheel Throwing in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30 p.m. Friday Night Tennis at the CB Town Courts (thru the end of August.)
• 6-7 p.m. Poi Playshop at the Pump Room.
• 6:30-7:45 p.m. Restorative at Yoga For The Peaceful.

SATURDAY 21
• 7:30 a.m. Open AA at UCC.
• 7:45 a.m. Weights and Indoor Biking Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8-9 a.m. Mindful Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Community Yoga at the Sanctuary Yoga & Pilates Studio, Gunnison.
• 10-11 a.m. Hip Hop Community Dance Class at the Pump Room (above Fire House on 3rd & Maroon). 415-225-5300.
• 10 a.m.-noon Sunflowers & Snacks, family friendly event in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.
• 10:30 a.m. & 4 p.m. Storytime with Jen Hillebrandt at Townie Books.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Guided Sound Meditation at 405 4th Street.

SUNDAY 22
• 7-8 a.m. Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful, by donation.
• 7-8:15 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 8:30 a.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 8:30 a.m. Oh Be Joyful Church Worship Service at the Center for the Arts outdoor field.
• 9 a.m. Worship Service at Union Congregational Church. 349-6405.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9:30-11 a.m. Free Community Class / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10 a.m. Oh Be Joyful Church Worship Service at the Center for the Arts outdoor field.
• 10-11:15 a.m. Vin-Yin at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Crested Butte Farmer’s Market on the 1st block of Elk Ave.
• 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• noon Narcotics Anonymous Meeting at UCC, 403 Maroon Ave. Closed meeting for addicts only. (1st & 3rd Sundays)
• 4-5:15 p.m. CBCYC Community Book Club at 405 4th Street.
• 4-5:30 p.m. Reveal – The Creative Process with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 5-6 p.m. All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Eucharist at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• 5-7 p.m. Pick-up Adult Basketball. HS Gym, CBCS.
• 6 p.m. AA meets at UCC.
• 6 p.m. Evening Service at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 711 N. Main St., Gunnison.
• 6:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• 6:30-7:45 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 7 p.m. Gamblers Anonymous meets at the Last Resort.
• 7-9 p.m. “Salsa Rueda de Casino” workshop at the Pump Room (3 week, 6 session workshop that runs thru Aug. 1)

MONDAY 23
• 6-7:15 a.m. Hip Hop Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7 a.m. Adult Ballet Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Intro to Ashtanga at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 8 a.m. Active Isolated Stretching (thru Aug. 22) at Union Congregational Church.
• 8:45 a.m. Mat Mix at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9:30-10:45 a.m. Adult Ballet Technique with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Iyengar at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 10:50 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Ballet Technique (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• noon Adult Children of Alcoholics open meeting at Union Congretional Church.
• noon-1 p.m. Gentle Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 12:30-1:45 p.m. Modern Dance (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 12:45 p.m. Bridge at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 1:30-2:15 p.m. Zumba with Barron Farnell in the Gunnison Arts Center Dance Studio.
• 4 p.m. Hard Hat Tours at the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin Yoga Nidra at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Moms in Motion class at the GVH rehab gym.
• 6-7 p.m. Body Maintenance at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6-7:15 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6:30 p.m. WellBeing Connection Workshop at the CB/Mt. CB Chamber of Commerce.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Women’s Domestic Violence Support Group at Project Hope. Childcare available upon request. 641-2712.
• 7:30 p.m. Open AA at UCC. 349-5711.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

TUESDAY 24
• 6-7 a.m. Sunrise Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-7:45 a.m. Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 7:30 a.m. AA/Alanon Open at UCC. 349-5711.
• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Free Co-Working Tuesdays at the ICELab at WSCU.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Level 2 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Mindful Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m. Historic Walking Tour at the Crested Butte Heritage Museum.
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Summer Art Workshop: (ages 11 to 14) Tags & Bags Art at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics Level 1 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 11:30 a.m. League of Women Voters meeting at 210 W. Spencer in Gunnison.
• noon AA Closed at UCC.
• 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tech Tuesdays at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 2-3:15 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4-5 p.m. Family Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 4-6 p.m. Creativity & Cocktails: Spray & Splash with Spritzers with the Art Studio of the Center of the Arts. 349-7044.
• 4:40-5:40 p.m. Pre-Pointe Conditioning (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:45-7:15 p.m. Ballet (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6-7 p.m. Piyo at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6-8 p.m. Figure Drawing Sessions with live model in Downtown Crested Butte. 349-7228.
• 6-9 p.m. Clay & Cocktails in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.
• 7 p.m. Alanon meeting at the Last Resort.
• 7-8:30 p.m. Blessing Way Circle support group at Sopris Women’s Clinic. 720-217-3843.
• 7:15-8:30 p.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7:20-7:50 p.m. Pointe Training (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.

WEDNESDAY 25
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-8:15 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 7:30 a.m. The Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte Rotary Club breakfast meeting in the Shavano Conference Room at the Elevation Hotel.
• 8 a.m. Active Isolated Stretching (thru Aug. 22) at Union Congregational Church.
• 8 a.m. T’ai Chi for advanced participants in the northeast corner of Rainbow Park.
• 8:30 a.m. Hike with HCCA. Sign up at hccacb.org.
• 8:45 a.m. Pilates at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m. T’ai Chi for beginner participants in the northeast corner of Rainbow Park.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 9 a.m.-noon Open Wheel Throwing at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 9:30-10:45 a.m. Kaiut Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Two Buttes Senior Citizens van transportation. Roundtrip to Gunnison. Weather permitting. Call first for schedule and availability. 275-4768.
• 10:30 a.m.-noon Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• 12:15-12:45 p.m. Yoga Nidra Relaxtion at Yoga for the Peaceful. ($5 donation)
• 2-3:15 p.m. Forrest Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 3-5 p.m. Pinot & Van Gogh with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts & the Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival. 349-7044.
• 3:30-5 p.m. ICELab tours at Western State College University with Patrick Rowley.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5-10 p.m. Game night at Tassinong Farms, CB South.
• 5:15-6:30 p.m. Jazz Funk with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:30 p.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30 p.m. Prenatal Yoga class in Crested Butte South. 349-1209.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 6:30 p.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back), 4th and Maroon. 349-6482.
• 7-9 p.m. “GriefShare,” a grief recovery seminar and support group, meets at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 711 N. Main St., Gunnison. 970-349-7769.
• 7-9 p.m. “Salsa Rueda de Casino” workshop at the Pump Room (3 week, 6 session workshop that runs thru Aug. 1)

 

EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT

THURSDAY 19
WSCU’s Writing the Rockies continues thru July 22, www.western.edu/writing-rockies-annual-conference.
• 7 p.m. Gunrack plays at The Talk of the Town.
• 7 p.m. Floyd Bauer plays at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF: Verdi’s Falstaff at the Center for the Arts.
• 7:30 p.m. Comedy is Hard in the Black Box Theatre of the Gunnison Arts Center.
• 8 p.m. Ladies’ Night at the Red Room.

FRIDAY 20
• 2 p.m. Book signing with Mike Reiss, author of the Simpsons, for his new book Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for the Simpsons at Townie Books.
• 3:50 p.m. Crested Butte Writers’ Network Meet-Up at Writing the Rockies with the Literary Arts Department of the Center of the Arts at Quigley Hall of WSCU. 349-7487.
• 4-7 p.m. Coal Creek Connection plays on the Butte 66 deck.
• 7 p.m. Tyler Hansen plays at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF: Verdi’s Falstaff at the Center for the Arts.
• 8 p.m. Comedy is Hard in the Black Box Theatre of the Gunnison Arts Center.
• 9:30 p.m. Classic Colorado: Michael Martin Murphey at the I Bar Ranch.
• 10 p.m. CBMF: After Dark with Ron Earl at the Center for the Arts.

SATURDAY 21
• 8 a.m.-noon Tom Stillo Round Robin Mixers Memorial Tennis Tournament for advanced participants at the Town Courts with BBQ to follow. 349-5338.
• 5-7 p.m. Artist Reception with Rosalind Cook and Marin Dobson at Rijk’s Family Gallery. 349-5289.
• 6 p.m. Casey Falter plays at Montanya Distillers.
SATURDAY 21 cont’d
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF: Verdi’s Falstaff at the Center for the Arts.
• 8 p.m. DJ Ryan Herr & Mine Control plays at the Public House.

SUNDAY 22
• 8 a.m.-noon Tom Stillo Round Robin Mixers Memorial Tennis Tournament for intermediate participants at the Town Courts with BBQ to follow. 349-5338.
• 3 p.m. Live music on the deck at the Eldo.
• 6-8 p.m. Sundays @ 6: Farmer in the Sky at Legion Park in Gunnison.
• 7 p.m. Jim Sargent plays at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF: The Wild Chamber Music Party at the Center for the Arts.

MONDAY 23
• 5:30 p.m. Alpenglow: Jason Boland & the Stragglers play on the Center for the Arts Outdoor Stage. 349-7487.
• 7 p.m. Paradise Divide plays at The Princess Wine Bar.

TUESDAY 24
• 9 a.m. Coffee with Community with Daniel Bruce, executive director of Six Points, at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 10 a.m.-noon RMBL’s Geology Van Tour with Dr. Amy Ellwein. 349-7420.
• 5:30 p.m. The Chamber’s Business After Hours Mixer at Crested Butte Family Dental. 349-6438.
• 6:30 p.m. Burgers N Brews: I Draw Slow plays at the I Bar Ranch.
• 7 p.m. Public Policy Forum: Bryan Cunningham: How Worried Should I Be?: Separating Fact from Fear on Cybersecurity at the Center for the Arts.
• 7 p.m. Casey Falter plays at The Princess Wine Bar.

WEDNESDAY 25
Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival begins and runs thru July 29. www.cbwineandfood.com.
• 5:30-9 p.m. Live! from Mt. Crested Butte: LowDown Brass Band plays on the Red Lady Stage at CBMR.
• 5:45 p.m. Powerade Pinnacle gO Ride Series at Evolution Bike Park at CBMR.
• 7 p.m. RMBL’s Open House at the Mt. CB Town Hall to discuss the potential of a Mt. CB Campus.
• 7 p.m. Music on Maroon at the Union Congregational Church.
• 8 p.m. CBMF: Gypsy Jazz Goes South: Hot Club in Latin and South America at the Center for the Arts.
• 8 p.m. Ladies’ Night at The Talk of the Town.
• 9:30 p.m. Classic Colorado: Sawyer Brown at the I Bar Ranch.

 

KID’S CALENDAR

THURSDAY 19
• 9 a.m.-noon Dance Camp! (ages 3-5) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 9:30 a.m. Munchkin’s Music & Dance Class in the High Altitude Dance Academy in Gunnison.
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Art Babies & Toddler Art (ages 0-4) at The Trailhead. 349-7160.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Contemporary Dance (ages 9-11) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.

FRIDAY 20
• 9-9:45 a.m. Art ‘n Dance (ages 2-3 w/ caregiver) at the Gunnison Arts Center Outdoor Courtyard.
• 9 a.m.-noon Aerial Dance Camp! (ages 6-11) with CB School of Dance at the Center for the Arts.
• 10-10:45 a.m. Art ‘n Dance (ages 4-6) at the Gunnison Arts Center Outdoor Courtyard.
• 11 a.m. Big Kids Storytime (ages 3-7) at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 1:30 p.m. Little Minds (ages 3-7) at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 4-5 p.m. Tang Soo Do Martial Arts classes for youth with West Elk Martial Arts, Town Hall Fitness Room. 901-7417.

SATURDAY 21
• 10 a.m.-noon Kids Plein Air Watercolor single day class at the Gunnison Arts Center.

MONDAY 23
• 3:45-5 p.m. Messy Mondays at the Crested Butte Library. (ages 5-12, kids 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult)
• 4-5 p.m. Kids Yoga (ages 8 & under) at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

TUESDAY 24
• 9 a.m.-noon Dance Camp! (ages 3-5) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 1-2:30 p.m. Mud Puppies Clay Camp (ages 5-7) in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Ballet (ages 9-11) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 3:30-5:30 p.m. Mud Makers Clay Camp (ages 8-12) in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.

WEDNESDAY 25
• 9 a.m.-noon Aerial Dance Camp! (ages 6-11) with CB School of Dance at the Center for the Arts.
• 9:30 a.m. Munchkin’s Music and Dance Class in the Fitness Room at Town Hall. 349-9639.
• 11 a.m. Baby & Toddler Literacy Time at the Crested Butte Library.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4-5 p.m. Kids Yoga (ages 8+) at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 4:15-5:15 p.m. Kids Yoga (ages 8 and under) at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

Community Calendar Thursday, July 12–Wednesday, July 18

THURSDAY 12
• 6-7 a.m. Sunrise Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-7:45 a.m. Guided Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8 a.m. Ecumenical Meditation at UCC.
• 8:30 a.m. Women’s book discussion group at UCC.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Level 2 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m. Historic Walking Tour at the Crested Butte Heritage Museum.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Vinyasa Level 1/2 at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 9-11:30 a.m. In Your Own Backyard: Urban Nature Journaling with the Literary Arts Department of the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wildflower Cut Velvet Silk Scarves with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Ashtanga Vinyasa / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics Level 1 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 11 a.m. Weekly storytime at Townie Books. 349-7545.
• 11:30 a.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• noon All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Church Community Healing Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Vinyasa Level 1/2 at Yoga for teh Peaceful.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunchtime Yoga with Leia in the Gunnison Arts Center Dance Studio.
• 3-5 p.m. Watercolor & Wine with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044
• 4-5 p.m. RockAsana at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 4:30-6 p.m. Crested Butte Community Food Bank open at Oh Be Joyful Church. (1st & 3rd Thursday)
• 4:45-6 p.m. Contemporary Dance (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. Cardio Dance at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6:10-7:10 p.m. Barre Workout (ages 14+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 6:30 p.m. AA Open Meditation at UCC.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Restorative Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 7 p.m. Women Supporting Women Group Discussion at the Nordic Inn.
• 7:15-8:30 p.m. Adult Contemporary Dance with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.
• 8:15-8:45 p.m. Free Meditation / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 p.m. Evening Sadhana / CB Co-op at Town Hall.

FRIDAY 13
• 6-7:15 a.m. Hip Hop Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. Adult Ballet Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 8 a.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8-8:45 a.m. Open Aerial Play with CB School of Dance at the Center for the Arts.
• 8:45 a.m. Core Power Yoga Class at the Pump Room.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Flexibly Challenged / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Simple Sketch Series: Mountains with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10 a.m.-noon Glass Bead Making with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Iyengar at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 12:30-2:30 p.m. Glass Bead Making with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 1 p.m. Art group meets at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 2-5 p.m. Paint Your Own Pottery in the Gunnison Arts Center Clay Studio.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30 p.m. Friday Night Tennis at the CB Town Courts (thru the end of August.)
• 6-7 p.m. Poi Playshop at the Pump Room.
• 6:30-7:45 p.m. Restorative at Yoga For The Peaceful.

SATURDAY 14
• 7:30 a.m. Open AA at UCC.
• 7:45 a.m. Weights and Indoor Biking Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8-9 a.m. Mindful Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Community Yoga at the Sanctuary Yoga & Pilates Studio, Gunnison.
• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A Two-Day Art Immersion – Creative Pages: Fold, Sew, Embellish! (thru 7/15) with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10-11 a.m. Hip Hop Community Dance Class at the Pump Room (above Fire House on 3rd & Maroon). 415-225-5300.
• 10:30 a.m. & 4 p.m. Storytime with Jen Hillebrandt at Townie Books.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Guided Sound Meditation at 405 4th Street.

SUNDAY 15
• 7-8 a.m. Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful, by donation.
• 7-8:15 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 8:30 a.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 8:30 a.m. Oh Be Joyful Church Worship Service at the Center for the Arts outdoor field.
• 9 a.m. Worship Service at Union Congregational Church. 349-6405.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9:30-11 a.m. Free Community Class / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10 a.m. Oh Be Joyful Church Worship Service at the Center for the Arts outdoor field.
• 10-11:15 a.m. Vin-Yin at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Crested Butte Farmer’s Market on the 1st block of Elk Ave.
• 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• noon Narcotics Anonymous Meeting at UCC, 403 Maroon Ave. Closed meeting for addicts only. (1st & 3rd Sundays)
• 4-5:15 p.m. CBCYC Community Book Club at 405 4th Street.
• 5-6 p.m. All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Eucharist at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• 5-7 p.m. Pick-up Adult Basketball. HS Gym, CBCS.
• 6 p.m. AA meets at UCC.
• 6 p.m. Evening Service at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 711 N. Main St., Gunnison.
• 6:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• 6:30-7:45 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 7 p.m. Gamblers Anonymous meets at the Last Resort.
• 7-9 p.m. “Salsa Rueda de Casino” workshop at the Pump Room (3 week, 6 session workshop that runs thru Aug. 1)

MONDAY 16
• 6-7:15 a.m. Hip Hop Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7 a.m. Adult Ballet Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Intro to Ashtanga at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 8 a.m. Active Isolated Stretching (thru Aug. 22) at Union Congregational Church.
• 8:45 a.m. Mat Mix at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Plein Air Oil Painting with Dawn Cohen with the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-0947.
• 9:30-10:45 a.m. Adult Ballet Technique with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Iyengar at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 10:50 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Ballet Technique (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• noon Adult Children of Alcoholics open meeting at Union Congretional Church.
• noon-1 p.m. Gentle Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 12:30-1:45 p.m. Modern Dance (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 12:45 p.m. Bridge at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 1-3 p.m. ArtHouse Teen Art Camp (ages 13-18) in the Gunnison Arts Center Adult Art Studio.
• 1:30-2:15 p.m. Zumba with Barron Farnell in the Gunnison Arts Center Dance Studio.
• 4 p.m. Hard Hat Tours at the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin Yoga Nidra at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Moms in Motion class at the GVH rehab gym.
• 6-7 p.m. Body Maintenance at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6-7:15 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6:30 p.m. WellBeing Connection Workshop at the CB/Mt. CB Chamber of Commerce.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Women’s Domestic Violence Support Group at Project Hope. Childcare available upon request. 641-2712.
• 7:30 p.m. Open AA at UCC. 349-5711.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

TUESDAY 17
• 6-7 a.m. Sunrise Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-7:45 a.m. Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 7:30 a.m. AA/Alanon Open at UCC. 349-5711.
• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Free Co-Working Tuesdays at the ICELab at WSCU.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Level 2 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Mindful Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m. Historic Walking Tour at the Crested Butte Heritage Museum.
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Summer Art Workshop: (ages 11 to 14) Oil Painting with Dawn Cohen at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics Level 1 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 11:30 a.m. League of Women Voters meeting at 210 W. Spencer in Gunnison.
• noon AA Closed at UCC.
• 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tech Tuesdays at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 2-3:15 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4-5 p.m. Family Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 4-6 p.m. Creativity & Cocktails: Cyanotype & Champagne with the Art Studio of the Center of the Arts. 349-7044.
• 4:40-5:40 p.m. Pre-Pointe Conditioning (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:45-7:15 p.m. Ballet (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6-7 p.m. Piyo at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 6-8 p.m. Figure Drawing Sessions with live model in Downtown Crested Butte. 349-7228.
• 7 p.m. Alanon meeting at the Last Resort.
• 7-8:30 p.m. Blessing Way Circle support group at Sopris Women’s Clinic. 720-217-3843.
• 7:15-8:30 p.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 7:20-7:50 p.m. Pointe Training (ages 12+) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.

WEDNESDAY 18
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-8:15 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 7:30 a.m. The Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte Rotary Club breakfast meeting in the Shavano Conference Room at the Elevation Hotel.
• 8 a.m. Active Isolated Stretching (thru Aug. 22) at Union Congregational Church.
• 8 a.m. T’ai Chi for advanced participants in the northeast corner of Rainbow Park.
• 8:30 a.m. Hike with HCCA. Sign up at hccacb.org.
• 8:45 a.m. Pilates at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m. T’ai Chi for beginner participants in the northeast corner of Rainbow Park.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 9 a.m.-noon Open Wheel Throwing at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 9:30-10:45 a.m. Kaiut Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Two Buttes Senior Citizens van transportation. Roundtrip to Gunnison. Weather permitting. Call first for schedule and availability. 275-4768.
• 10:30 a.m.-noon Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• 12:15-12:45 p.m. Yoga Nidra Relaxtion at Yoga for the Peaceful. ($5 donation)
• 1-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays @ Western: Watercolor @ the Park with the Gunnison Arts Center at Jorgensen Park Gazebo.
• 2-3:15 p.m. Forrest Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 3:30-5 p.m. ICELab tours at Western State College University with Patrick Rowley.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5-10 p.m. Game night at Tassinong Farms, CB South.
• 5:15-6:30 p.m. Jazz Funk with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 5:30 p.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30 p.m. Prenatal Yoga class in Crested Butte South. 349-1209.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 6:30 p.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back), 4th and Maroon. 349-6482.
• 7-9 p.m. “GriefShare,” a grief recovery seminar and support group, meets at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 711 N. Main St., Gunnison. 970-349-7769.
• 7-9 p.m. “Salsa Rueda de Casino” workshop at the Pump Room (3 week, 6 session workshop that runs thru Aug. 1)

 

EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT

THURSDAY 12
• 5-7 p.m. Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Crested Butte Mountain Theatre, 403 Second St.
• 5-7 p.m. Robert Burch Opening Reception at the Piper Gallery of the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Indigo + Shibori Workshop fundraiser for the Trailhead on the lawn at Scout’s General Store.
• 6 p.m. Reading and signing with author Joyce Hocker and her memoir Trail to Tincup: Love Stories at Life’s End at Townie Books.
• 7 p.m. Bill Dowell plays at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 7-9 p.m. Cattlemen’s Days #1 Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo.
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF: Fluxus Night: Community Performance Art at the Center for the Arts.
• 7:30 p.m. RMBL’s lecture event with Dr. Monica Geber at the Gothic billy barr community center.
• 8 p.m. Ladies’ Night at the Red Room.
• 9:30 p.m. Classic Colorado: Dale Watson & His Lonestars with Opal Moon at the I Bar Ranch.

FRIDAY 13
• noon Tour de Forks – Luncheon Among the Aspens (with optional hike at 9 a.m.) with the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 3:50 p.m. Crested Butte Writers’ Network Meet-Up with the Literary Arts Department of the Center of the Arts at Townie Books. 349-7487.
• 4-6 p.m. Mountain Roots + Coldharbour Collaborative Ranch Workday at Coldharbour Ranch, 47068 E. Hwy. 50.
• 4:30-6 p.m. Meet & Greet with Democratic Candidates with Roland Mason (District 3 Gunnison County Commissioner), Julie McCluskie (House District 61) and John Gallowich (Gunnison County Sheriff) at Rumors.
FRIDAY 13 cont’d
• 7 p.m. Rachel Van Slyke plays at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF: Film: The Colorado at the Center for the Arts.
• 8 p.m. Casey Falter plays at Blackstock Bistro.
• 9 p.m. Opal Moon with Johnny Kongo play at Timbers.

SATURDAY 14
• 8 a.m. 35th annual Grin & Bear It Trail Run from Crested Butte to Green Lake and back.
• 11 a.m. Silver Fox Disc Golf Tournament at CBMR.
• 6 p.m. Author event with fiction writers Kevin J. Anderson, Candace Nadon and Richard Wilber at Townie Books.
• 6 p.m. Casey Falter plays at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 6-9 p.m. Jazz Cabin plays at Tully’s.
• 7:30 p.m. CBMF Symphony Orchestra with Charles Yang at the Center for the Arts.
• 9 p.m. Opal Moon with Johnny Kongo play at Wapiti Ridge Saloon.
• 8 p.m. Cycles play at the Public House.

SUNDAY 15
• 3 p.m. Live music on the deck at the Eldo.
• 5:30 p.m. CBMF: Celebration Gala at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square.
• 6-8 p.m. Sundays @ 6: 9 Mile at Legion Park in Gunnison.
• 7 p.m. Eli & Willa Emmitt play at The Princess Wine Bar.

MONDAY 16
• 4-6 p.m. Farce of Nature Auditions at the Mallardi Cabaret.
• 5:30 p.m. Alpenglow: Dragondeer plays on the Center for the Arts Outdoor Stage. 349-7487.
• 6 p.m. Learn about the army plane that crashed in 1943 with no survivors in the Gunnison National Forest, at the Pioneer Museum.
• 7 p.m. Paradise Divide plays at The Princess Wine Bar.

TUESDAY 17
• 9 a.m. Socrates Cafe at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 4-6 p.m. Farce of Nature Auditions at the Mallardi Cabaret.
• 6:30 p.m. Burgers N Brews: Halden Wofford & The Hi Beams play at the I Bar Ranch.
• 7 p.m. Public Policy Forum: Ellen Sweets – The Voting Booth: Be There or Be Square at the Center for the Arts.
• 7 p.m. Movies That Matter: Rising from the Ashes at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 7 p.m. Dwayne Dodson plays at The Princess Wine Bar.

WEDNESDAY 18
WSCU’s Writing the Rockies begins and runs thru July 22.
• 11 a.m. CBMF: Hike-or-Bike to Outdoor Concert: Alex Komodore and Friends, venue to be announced to ticket holders.
• 5:30-9 p.m. Live! from Mt. Crested Butte: Matthew Curry plays on the Red Lady Stage at CBMR.
• 5:45 p.m. Powerade Pinnacle gO Ride Series at Evolution Bike Park at CBMR.
• 7 p.m. Nichole Reycraft & Renee Wright play at The Princess Wine Bar.
• 8 p.m. Ladies’ Night at The Talk of the Town.

 

KID’S CALENDAR

THURSDAY 12
• 9 a.m.-noon Dance Camp! (ages 3-5) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 9:30 a.m. Munchkin’s Music & Dance Class in the High Altitude Dance Academy in Gunnison.
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Art Babies & Toddler Art (ages 0-4) at The Trailhead. 349-7160.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Contemporary Dance (ages 9-11) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.

FRIDAY 13
• 9-9:45 a.m. Art ‘n Dance (ages 2-3 w/ caregiver) at the Gunnison Arts Center Outdoor Courtyard.
• 9 a.m.-noon Aerial Dance Camp! (ages 6-11) with CB School of Dance at the Center for the Arts.
• 10-10:45 a.m. Art ‘n Dance (ages 4-6) at the Gunnison Arts Center Outdoor Courtyard.
• 11 a.m. Big Kids Storytime (ages 3-7) at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 1:30 p.m. Little Minds (ages 3-7) at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 4-5 p.m. Tang Soo Do Martial Arts classes for youth with West Elk Martial Arts, Town Hall Fitness Room. 901-7417.

MONDAY 16
• 3:45-5 p.m. Messy Mondays at the Crested Butte Library. (ages 5-12, kids 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult)
• 4-5 p.m. Kids Yoga (ages 8 & under) at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

TUESDAY 17
• 9 a.m.-noon Dance Camp! (ages 3-5) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Ballet (ages 9-11) with CB School of Dance in the Pump Room Dance Studio.

WEDNESDAY 18
• 9 a.m.-noon Aerial Dance Camp! (ages 6-11) with CB School of Dance at the Center for the Arts.
• 9:30 a.m. Munchkin’s Music and Dance Class in the Fitness Room at Town Hall. 349-9639.
• 11 a.m. Baby & Toddler Literacy Time at the Crested Butte Library.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4-5 p.m. Kids Yoga (ages 8+) at Yoga for the Peaceful in CB South.
• 4:15-5:15 p.m. Kids Yoga (ages 8 and under) at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

A Ranch of a Different Color

Bryan Wickenhauser is onstage with several of his employees, rigging up lights and gauzy white curtains and tweaking the sound system for a wedding at his I-Bar Ranch. An enormous U.S. Air Force C17 cargo plane roars low overhead. “They like to do take-offs and touchdowns at the Gunnison airport, where they can practice their high-altitude maneuvers because it’s all different at altitude,” he explains and nods toward the plane as it makes a tight turn. “They’ll be back around.”

Tables are organized into rows and a rubberized dance floor is being unfolded in the tall-roofed, open-sided structure that looks like it’s always belonged there in the middle of the verdant Tomichi Creek valley, sitting among long-time ranching meadows and fields.

The 14 acres of I-Bar Ranch were annexed into Gunnison as “Gunnison Rising” by its owner, Dick Bratton, who had the original vision of dinner and music in a gorgeous country setting. “

Dick built this complex in 1992, purposely to be a chuck wagon dinner venue for the I-Bar Wranglers, Bryan says, recalling the house band that twanged up post-dinner dancing music. “It was the standard fare—you got a chuck wagon dinner and you got a show from the Wranglers.” The venue ceased business in 2004 and sat dormant until 2013, when Bryan had his own vision for the place.

Bryan’s story with the I-Bar Ranch starts in 2004 when he got married to Jennifer Michel and the two had their reception at the ranch. He had met Jennifer through the Tune Up bike shop in Gunnison.

“My roommate in Crested Butte South was working there and invited Jennifer’s girlfriend up for a Friday night fish fry,” Bryan says. The fish fry is a popular tradition in his home state of Wisconsin. Jennifer came along with her girlfriend and the rest, as it’s said, is history. They married three years later in 2004 at the I-Bar Ranch.

When Bryan took over the I-Bar in 2013, he changed its concept. “I wanted to predominately book concerts and weddings. We cater the food because I didn’t want to get in to the food aspect, just beverages. The place doesn’t have the kitchen capabilities. I felt that through music and weddings, I could have a viable business out here. I saw a need for both in the lower end of the Gunnison Valley.”

Bryan originally moved to Crested Butte in 1997 as a ski coach for the Crested Butte Academy at the suggestion of his buddies, Kevin Krill and Kevin’s brother Brian. “I was living in Summit County. Vail had just purchased Breckenridge and Keystone. Brian was the athletic director at the Crested Butte Academy so he suggested I apply for the job. I had a place to live and a job and I also brought with me a location-neutral business, Midwest Leasing,” he says. A location-neutral job, he explains, is like a traditional corporate job you would have in the city, except you could work remotely from anywhere since internet and fax were just then being developed. Bryan brokered commercial leases and loans from Crested Butte.

Bryan says, “The light bulb moment for me was going to Lake City in July 2012 to see Asleep at the Wheel. Lake City is way small and they were bringing in performers like Michael Martin Murphy, Dean Dillon and Asleep at the Wheel at Hutch’s Backyard BBQ, a small 200-seat venue that didn’t even have a roof over the crowd. I was impressed because it was packed and they were bringing vitality to this itty bitty town in the summer, giving the people some cool culture.”

Bryan saw an opportunity to both expand the Gunnison culture and make a living. “I saw how the music was taking off at the north end of our valley, and I saw the wedding business flourishing up there and in other similar mountain towns. I realized that tourism was going to keep getting stronger as a staple to our economy. I saw all those factors as opportunities to enhance the cultural vitality of the lower end of the valley because there was a missing element that wasn’t being met. The tourists were all being serviced at the north end of the valley and southern end of the valley was being deprived. The identifiable music venues in Gunnison back then were the Gunnison Arts Center, the Last Chance, the Timbers and the Elks Lodge.”

Before Bryan found himself at the helm of a concert venue smack in the middle of sagebrush hills and lush pastoral hay fields, he originally hailed from outside of Milwaukee, raised with his younger sister, Amy, who at one time also lived in Crested Butte for a while. Bryan was somewhat of an über athlete throughout his childhood and life. “We were into ski racing every winter and in the summers it was lake life, frolicking in the water and skiing,” he recalls.

He was an avid skier and soccer player, which he says were his passions. “We were living three miles north of Alpine Valley, which was a major Midwestern summer concert venue and a ski resort in the winter.” He notes that it’s where the helicopter carrying Stevie Ray Vaughn fatally crashed into a 400-foot-high hill, “I was a 19-year-old lift-op that following winter in 1990 and a lot of the older employees and the community were heavily affected by the incident. I was going into my senior year in high school.” He graduated in 1991.

He enrolled at Carroll College (now Carroll University), studying business with a minor in Spanish because the trade borders were being open, NAFTA was just being formulated and there was plenty of commerce between Mexico and the U.S., “and in my mind, Spanish was the language I thought I needed.”

He graduated from college in 1995 and smiles, “I knew whatever I would do, I was going to do it in Colorado,” and he moved out to Summit County two weeks after grabbing his degree. He was a part-time ski coach and working his corporate, location-neutral business from 1995 through 1997, until he felt, “Vail went Wall Street and started acquiring ski resorts and it wasn’t the community I was desiring. [Summit] was already having those challenges with Denver coming up every weekend. You lost your community every weekend. I was looking more for a ski town with a sense of community.”

Bryan had quit ski coaching in 2002 to pursue being a semi-pro endurance athlete. “The first year I moved here was the first year of the Grand Traverse. I had limited ski touring skills at the time but ended up winning the Grand Traverse in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with my partner, Brian Smith.”

Bryan was co-director for the Grand Traverse from 2010 to 2015, and was also president of the Nordic Center board for four years beginning in 2010. From 2002 through 2009, Bryan was a member of Team Crested Butte, an elite adventure racing team that consists of multi-sports events that often span a 100- to 600-mile course, “You travel as a team of four. We were all based in the Gunnison Valley. The events usually took place in challenging conditions like deserts or mountains and included mountain biking, hiking, climbing, kayaking, and orienteering with map and compass. It was one of those niche sports but we’d do races around the world. I traveled quite a bit and had some success.”

Bryan rattles off the various countries he traveled to—Ecuador, China, Brazil, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Andorra, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, and Abu Dhabi. “Then I got into ski mountaineering, climbing up Crested Butte Resort and racing down and up, like a major Al Johnson race,” he says, expanding that to explain it’s more like six Al Johnson races in one.

He went to three world championships in Switzerland, Italy, and Andorra. “I’m retired from competitive athletics because,” he smiles, “life… kids, family, and the I-Bar, my priorities have shifted. Besides, they turn out new 20-year-old athletes every year and I keep getting older.”

Bryan was also one of three partners who started High Alpine Brewing Company in Gunnison in 2015. “I like beer,” he grins, “and I like the aspect of what a craft brewery represents to community. One of the values is that it embraces the community, it’s a place to go socialize, bar stool conversations, and it can host and sponsor events. I was already engaging the community culturally through I-Bar, and I thought Gunnison needed a craft brewery again since the local breweries had gone out of business. The model of a craft brewery is about locally sourcing ingredients—the beer is produced locally, so it fosters community. We bought a historic building on Main Street, repurposed that building and exposed the interior brick to give it that warm feel. We created the first commercial outdoor downtown deck. It fostered the Old Miners decision to also build a deck. Now it’s given the Gunnison downtown a little more vibrancy.”

He sold his partnership in 2018 to focus more on the I-Bar, which had grown exponentially.

The I-Bar keeps Bryan pretty busy from before its opening for events on May 1 and past its closing for the season on November 1. And there’s the couple’s two children, Eliza, who celebrated her golden birthday, turning five on July 5 by dancing to The Wailers live at the Ranch, and Gianna, who turns eight August 6.

Back at the I-Bar Ranch, Bryan continues his day, juggling multiple tasks, directing guests and employees with his big smile as the humongous C17 screams overhead again in its seemingly endless passes.

He pauses for a moment to say that he’s particularly excited about one of his concerts. “This upcoming week is Cattlemen’s Days and Dale Watson and his Lone Stars are playing Thursday, but Saturday is going to be a fun one that I’m personally excited about—Paradise Kitty, an all-female Guns n Roses tribute band,” he grins.

But today, he’s completely focused on preparing the venue to ensure the perfect wedding event against the beautiful backdrop of a sunny day, with Tomichi Creek sparkling like a rhinestone ribbon weaving through the fields.

For more information and schedules to concerts at I-Bar Ranch visit Ibarranch.com. 

Profile: Kelly Dean, Back to the Garden

By Dawne Belloise

Kelly Dean was thrilled to leave Ohio in the early 1980s and arrive in Crested Butte through a program created by Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The program sought to enlist young college students as workers for a winter semester, with the promise of ski town fun and a small scholarship to the school they were attending.

Growing up as an “army brat,” Kelly had been used to moving, and she wasn’t happy in the grey, dreary, humid winters of Ohio. Kelly recalls that when she and her bestie since they were four years old, Lisa Santelli, arrived in November, they were housed in the Almont cabins.

“I lived in the Jolly Rancher,” she recalls. “I was paid $3.25 an hour and my rent was deducted from my paycheck so, basically, when I got my paycheck I got a Snickers and Coke. The cabins didn’t have full kitchens, just a hotplate with a dorm-sized refrigerator and we’d wash our dishes in the bathroom sink. We’d hitchhike to Gunnison to get groceries because we didn’t have a car, so you were limited by what you could carry back and by your budget. We lived on ramen and we’d drop chopped broccoli and crack eggs into it for protein. We were so thrilled when we figured out we could actually put stuff in it and it didn’t have to be just the chicken ramen.”

Kelly worked in the kitchen pantry of the now demolished Gothic building making to-go snacks, sandwiches, and cinnamon rolls. “It was a blast. We had so much fun in there. We had the greatest crew. Back in those days, the people you worked with were your family,” she smiles. “We’d have Thanksgiving and Christmas together because no one had family here. I had never skied but I skied that first winter of 1980. It was a very low snow year, and it was icy. I wouldn’t have known the difference anyway because I had never skied, and it was great fun.”

The snow was so scarce that season that she remembers, “Ross Matsumoto would stand at the bottom of Warming House Hill by the ice rink with a hose and spray the mud off of people’s ski boots.” There was so little white stuff that the ski area would pay the workers to catch one of the last chairs up and head into the trees to shovel the snow from there onto the runs. “We’d always take a cafeteria tray up with us so that when we were done we’d slide back down to the base on our trays.”

When the lifts closed that year at the end of season, Kelly headed back to college at Ohio University, but before she left Crested Butte she expressed her interest in summer work to a Gunnison outfitter as a raft and horseback guide job for the summer, “neither of which I had ever done in my life,” she mused. It took exactly two weeks back in Ohio for her to determine she wanted to be in Colorado.

“I called the outfitter and he said, come on out, we have a job for you. They were located across from Safeway with a teepee set up in the parking lot. I had to hang out in the teepee on some days since it was the central reservation spot for rafting and horse riding. Other days I was a raft guide or horseback riding guide over old Monarch Pass. Back in the day, to be a river raft guide, there was no formal training. So, I didn’t need any training like they do today, where they have to have a lot of safety training, skills, and on-the-river experience. For me, I just showed up, they handed me the oars, showed me which way to sit in the raft and I floated from Twin Bridges to Neversink and didn’t have a disaster so they said I was hired,” Kelly laughs. “I look back on those days and think how different they were, so easy without a lot of stress, rules and regulations.”

When she returned that summer, she never left. Kelly continued to work for Crested Butte Mountain Resort both winter and summer in various jobs. “All through the early 1980s. I was working constantly but I would camp a lot and try to explore the area. I couldn’t believe the beauty that surrounded me here. From the time I first got off the bus to work for the mountain, I was floored that this is where I get to be and live. I couldn’t wait to get back here to live forever.”

She married Vic Dean in the early 1980s, and her first daughter, Karleigh, was born at the Gunnison Hospital in 1993, followed by daughter Jessie in 1996. When the couple decided to part ways after 25 years, Kelly kept her last name so she would be associated with her daughters, whom she raised in Crested Butte. Even though the girls no longer live in the valley, Kelly is in constant touch with them. “I talk to them multiple times during the week. Karleigh is in Ft. Collins finishing her master’s in greenhouse gas management at CSU, and Jessie is in Salt Lake City going to nursing school, and she’s getting married August 4,” Kelly smiles proudly.

Like so many Buttians, Kelly always had about three jobs, but one of those usually included gardening, either for a company or a second home owner, so by the time she had her first home in Allen Homesites in Crested Butte South, she had really begun to enjoy the art.

“I was loving the beauty it offered to the house and property. You can see the results of your work and when I see a beautiful garden, it gives me joy and just makes me feel giddy inside.” Kelly re-created the things she saw that she liked and learned much from her hands-on experience, “It’s all about the environment and knowing what will grow in that particular environment. When you’re creating a garden, you have to consider both the environment and the space you have before deciding what to plant there. Is it full sun or is it a really shady area?”

Kelly revels in working with earth, “There’s a joy when you get your hands dirty, you get caught up and lost in the creation, and it’s definitely addictive. Once I get started, even weeding, I can’t quit until I have the garden in order and everything is deadheaded, weeded and beautiful. Then you stand back and admire the beauty and that’s when you get that feeling of serenity and comfort. I love it when the garden wraps around you and you feel snug and safe there.”

Having bought one of the locals-only townhomes in Prospect on the mountain in 2009, Kelly now shares that home with her love and business partner, Holt Loeffler. “He’s a big part of my world,” she says. Holt created the business they now share, Alpine Landscapes, “Reflect Your Nature,” in 2007 (alpinelandscapescrestedbutte.com). She met Holt in 2008 while she was managing the Princess Wine Bar and Western Design. The two hit it off and have been a couple ever since. “Holt had some amazing ideas to create a backyard nook for me that included a tiny water feature and terraced gardens.”

Working together, Kelly defines their gardening roles. “He builds the ‘hardscape’ areas of our business projects, adding trees, boulders, all the heavy loading aspects, while I do the flower gardens and the accounting.” Kelly attended the master gardener course through the CSU Extension office to up her game and knowledge.

“Holt has an amazing eye for landscaping and has the vision. We’re a really great team because we both have an infectious excitement that carries over to the clients. We also have amazing employees who have been with us for quite a few years and we couldn’t run this business without them.”

She laughs though about the reality of aging in such a physically demanding business. “We’re getting older, our bones are getting older but we have these young 20-somethings to help us and they have all the energy, and we love that.”

Having been in Crested Butte for 38 years, Kelly still enjoys some things about the long winters here—snowshoeing and Nordic skiing—however, she confesses, “I’m starting to think about being in a warmer climate for part of the winter… where I can garden,” she says. She and Holt do a lot of adventuring in the off seasons, hitting many tropical climes, islands and destinations. “It’s constantly on-the-go with Holt, he’s a kite boarder and loves the Caribbean. I’ve traveled a lot of the world since I’ve been with Holt and I’m immensely grateful for all the places he’s shown me.” Kelly rattles off a list of some of those places—Philippines, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Bahamas, Hawaii, Dominican Republic, Canary Islands, Cuba, Honduras, Madrid.

Even though most who spend a considerable portion of their lives in the long winters of paradise here think about part-time escapes, Kelly shakes her head and considers, “When I think about where else I would go, I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live, where you feel safe and have the comfort of knowing it is home.”

Guerilla Composting: One bucket of soil at a time

More than 34,000 pounds of food scraps composted in ten months

By Kristy Acuff

What if you could reduce the amount of waste you throw in the landfill by 30 percent and make a valuable soil ingredient in the process simply by using a bucket next to your trash bin?

Thanks to a new valley business, Guerilla Composting, both residents and commercial businesses can easily compost food and yard waste without a lot of hassle. For a small fee, Guerilla Composting will provide a bucket, collect your waste weekly or bi-weekly and turn it into beautiful, rich compost. Then, once or twice a season, they will deliver compost back to your door to use in the garden.

Guerilla Composting founder 29-year old Julie Donohue grew up with a compost pile in her backyard and saw the need in Crested Butte when she moved here in 2014. While compost piles are prohibited in town limits because of wildlife concerns, especially bears, Donohue was able to set up outside town limits and began the business in July 2017.

“I thought people definitely needed the opportunity to put their nutrient-rich food scraps to use, especially in a progressive community that also loves its gardens,” says Donohue.

“Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away and they should be composted instead,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

So far, Donohue has composted more than 34,000 pounds of food scraps and is getting ready to deliver completed compost to customers. Her operation is based outside of Crested Butte South and in Gunnison. She says the primary challenge in the cold climate is “motivation.”

“Everything is outdoors, so it is hard to motivate to get outside and move around literally tons of food. To shovel, rake, mix and turn the compost is a lot of work,” says Donohue. “Once it got well below freezing, I stopped turning the piles and allowed just the centers to stay warm and the outside of the pile to insulate the inside. Over winter, worms and other bacteria and fungi survive in that warm core of the pile and just hang out until spring comes.”

The service has reached 100 residents and more than a dozen commercial businesses, ranging from Crested Butte Mountain Resort to the Old Town Inn, as well as several local restaurants and catering services.

“We really care about sustainability and are happy to pay for this service,” says Dana Zobs, co-owner of Crested Butte’s Personal Chefs and one of Donohue’s customers. “It is totally worth it to support sustainability and the full circle of food and food waste. I love Guerilla Composting.”

“It’s super easy. We have two buckets in our back kitchen and she comes and gets them weekly,” says Old Town Inn employee Stephanie Maltarich. “We were inspired by a film at last year’s film festival that documented food waste. After we watched it, we thought, ‘We have to do this at the hotel.’”

Donohue says the sheer quantity of pre-consumer food scraps she collects from commercial businesses has allowed her to reach out to Gunnison valley livestock producers and provide food scraps for animal feed. In addition, she has started a small hog farm in Gunnison.

“We have actually started a hog farm [called Pangaea] as a direct result of the quantity of food scraps we receive from restaurants,” Donohue says. “I want to follow the food waste hierarchy and use food waste to feed livestock prior to composting it. The hogs will be raised on food scraps plus supplemental feed.”

With hog-breeding on the horizon, Donohue continues to find creative ways to put the valley’s food waste to good use. For more information, visit the website, www.guerillacomposting.com.

Of pancakes, parades and pride in paradise

By Dawn Belloise

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.” —Woodrow Wilson

What better way to kick off the Fourth of July shindig than with an all American Crested Butte tradition—PANCAKES! First things first on this illustrious holiday: To sustain your energy throughout the many events all day, you’ll need to load up the calories. From 7 to 10:30 a.m. on the celebrated day, the Crested Butte Fire and EMS Squad at the Fire Station, 306 Maroon Avenue, will be flipping those pan-cookies, along with sausages and fixins’. It’s advisable to get there early because it gets packed as the crew serves flapjacks to more than 1,200 people. That’s probably more than 2,400 pancakes (who can eat just one?).

Crested Butte is especially known for its community-wide Fourth celebrations and outrageous parades. Throughout its history, Crested Butte’s local population has put on a spectacle of creatively wacky floats and processions that border on the preposterous and always in good humor. In times past, the parade was small enough that it went up Elk Avenue and then reversed for a repeat performance in the opposite direction.

Locals will gather for days before the parade to create their costumes and floats. Some of the more innovative ones in the past included the ski jump packed with snow on the back of a truck, created by former town mayor Alan Bernholtz who bedazzled the crowd by hucking himself down the jump in full disco threads with his wig hat on his head. Then there was Alan’s daring bike jump through a hoop of fire, and his water slide during another parade, all on the back of a truck. Another float that awed the masses was Tucker Roberts doing full back layout on a trampoline while the float was moving. Then there was the time when Burt Rentals would ride snowmobiles in the parade with wheel attachments on the skis. And who can forget Tony Wildman in an American flag g-string on a horse?

In the earlier days of wildness, during the bicentennial parade of 1976, the scandalous Red, White & Blue Girls used only paint as their costumes. Most of them were topless, some were completely naked, and some of the crowd didn’t even realize the infamous troupe had only body paint on for the now-legendary tribute to freedom of speech.

Long-standing floats and groups to watch for are the Red Ladies, the wild sisters who represent the spirit of Red Lady Mountain—aka, Mount Emmons—in the town’s battle to keep a molybdenum mine from desecrating the sentinel, with the High Country Conservation Advocates leading the fight.

There’s the Flauschink Royal Has-Beens who follow the current Flauschink King and Queen in their Royal Chariot.

The hippest of funkiness belongs to the effervescent, groovin’ KBUT float with its disco dancers and mirror ball, hosting the chosen King and Queen of Soul.

The ecologists and biologists at Rocky Mountain Biological Labs (RMBL) in Gothic are brilliant researchers and scientists who work hard and let their hair down for Independence Day. It’s the only day they get off during their intensive summer work.

The RMBL folks in all their greenery have been favorites in the parade for as long as they’ve been marching. They come with spears and pots and pans, whistles and bells and wild primitive faces that tell of being in the sun too much, alone with plants, insects and marmots. They live under the towering cathedral spires of Gothic Mountain until the flora dies and snow threatens, but for one hot summer day in July, they costume up, wearing only corn lily leaves, which they sew together themselves. Marching in their outfits that conjure up images of crazed aboriginal biologists, they proudly chant and stomp their way up the parade route. In past years, after marching through to the end of the Elk, they’d walk backwards down the avenue, but these days, the parade is too big for that.

Current Crested Butte mayor Jim Schmidt—aka “Deli”—has been in town for the celebration every year since 1977. Having served as mayor in the past as well as on Town Council for well over two decades, he says of his 1995 brainstorm, “I decided that what the council should do was scoop up the horse poop in the parade. How could a Town Council be of better service to their community than slinging poop? I thought it was very symbolic.” He laughs about the past tradition that no longer exists since there are no horses in the parade anymore, but he adds that both tourists and locals got the message back in the day.

Deli feels the holiday is so special in the Butte because everybody gets to celebrate it in their own way and as for the parade, “There are no boundaries as to what you can put into the parade as far as floats. It’s freedom of expression and that’s what the Fourth is all about. A few years back, there was a move to ban political statements in the parade but the Fourth is a political holiday. We rebelled… That’s what we’re celebrating. That’s why I think if somebody makes a statement, whatever the statement is, it’s cool that they’re in there even if I don’t agree with it.”

Deli reflected on some of the parade aspects he misses, as times changed and the town grew. “I was disappointed when we stopped running the parade both ways… it was so short.” He remembers the parade getting to the Four-way Stop and turning around to march back up Elk Avenue. “It was like a snake that ate itself because they would take it around the block and suddenly you’d run into the other people coming back up. But it just got too long. Pretty amazing that we’ve never had a real marching band in the parade. There’s been the boom box band from KBUT and RMBL sort of band with their kazoos, chanting, and pots and pans.”

Deli reflects the sentiments of most in this valley when he says, “The whole tradition and people are all so great.”

A procession such as we have needs an interpreter, a liaison between the audience and the crazies marching up Elk Avenue. Than Acuff took the reins of announcer in 2013 from Denis Hall, who had been injecting his own style of emcee for 30 years. “I have no idea why Denis picked me,” Than shrugs and smiles in an interview a year ago. “It was a surprise and an honor. I’ve announced at a bunch of sports events and I’m comfortable with a microphone in my hand. Denis was my Fourth of July emcee sensei and I think because I’m sober, he figured I wouldn’t totally screw things up.”

KBUT deejay Josephine Kellett offered to jump up there and co-emcee with Than and now the duo rocks the parade. “I thought it would be great to have a woman’s energy up there and she provides the necessary sass,” Than says, and describes his favorite thing about announcing. “Being a part of one of the longest standing traditions in Crested Butte and seeing the same people year in and year out, whether they’re visitors or locals cruising down Elk, either in the parade or in crowd.”

And then, there’s the Twinkies. “People throw Twinkies at me… I love Twinkies. I put them in my bike pack and eat them on a big ride,” he laughs.

After the parade, there’s a much anticipated and refreshing water fight at the west end of Elk Avenue where the Crested Butte Fire Department brings in the big guns and revelers bring out their arsenal of semi-automatic super-soaker blasters. There was a time when the water fights took place all over downtown but they’re now limited to the first block of Elk, so if you aren’t a water baby, it is recommended that you stay away from that area or be considered as fair game. If you’re going into Kochevar’s for the traditional high noon tequila shot, you’d better be speedy in getting through the tossed buckets of water, blasters and hoses.

Crested Butte’s parade and celebration are eccentrically different from anywhere else, mostly because of the community of locals who make the town as funky as it still is. It’s always been more of a carnival atmosphere, because we’re just a town inhabited by kids of all ages. It continues yearly, the youthful, rogue energy of a typical Crested Butte Fourth of July parade and rest assured, it’s not likely to go conservative in our lifetime or lose its wild innovative spirit, despite Vail’s purchase of the ski resort. So don your most independent spirit and head out into the streets. Go Fourth and enjoy!