Aspen Times Weekly: ACES’ Harvest Party |

Aspen Times Weekly: ACES’ Harvest Party

Cal and Monica Vial celebrated their twins Ryland and Isabelle’s first birthday at the Harvest Party. Courtesy photo.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies presented its annual Harvest Party on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Rock Bottom Ranch. The weather cooperated perfectly for the fall festival, which featured apple-cider pressing, farm tours, pumpkin carving, storytelling, face painting, a silent auction and more. Guests also enjoyed local food from Smoke Modern BBQ in the field and live music by The Hell Roaring String Band in the barn.

While the staff, vendors and volunteers made things look seamless, all in all, the effort was monumental as you can imagine from the numbers. For this year’s event, Rock Bottom Ranch Director Jason Smith counted 820 pumpkins, 500 guests on hayrides, 20 head of cattle, 30 pigs on property (16 in view of Harvest Party), 10 rabbits, 500-plus laying hens, 100 laying hen chicks, 18 sheep, 3 goats, 2 donkeys and don’t forget the peacocks.

ACES Development Director Christy Mahon added there were 1,400 attendees (1,300 plus volunteers and ACES staff) and a silent auction with 150 items helped raise more than $10,000 for ACES Ed, the environmental science education programs that reach more than 50 regional schools and provide upward of 400 field programs for students from pre-K to 12 grade.

“We keep the ticket price for this event low so that all families in the valley can join us,” Mahon noted. “Smoke gives us an unbelievable donation of $10,000 for lunch and Aspen Realty Associates and Jeffrey Berkus Architects help to underwrite the event,” which ensure it’s set up for success every year.

Insider tip for 2017 – when Harvest Party tickets go on sale, buy yours right away as this event always sells out. And if you’re a member of ACES, you’ll have first access and reduced rates. Annual memberships start at just $50 for family and individual rates. Learn more via

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