Aspen Highlands adds swap meet, farmer’s market to summer activities

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A Saturday swap meet and a Wednesday farmer’s market are two new ways retailers will try to pull people to Aspen Highlands Village this summer.

The base village at the ski area in the Maroon Creek Valley is gearing up for another event-filled summer, hoping to draw locals just off the beaten path to “discover Highlands.” Last summer’s campaign included league lawn bowling, outdoor movies and live music. The events created a buzz at Highlands Village, and organizers will try to continue the momentum this summer.

The village’s merchants association will offer activities on five days of the week, including last year’s popular events.

That means more lawn bowling on Monday evenings, outdoor movies on Tuesdays, an organic farmer’s market on Wednesdays, live music for Freestyle Fridays, and a Saturday “Swap and Village Marketplace,” pegged as a communitywide yard sale.

It’s all an attempt to get summer visitors and residents to “come around the roundabout” to Aspen Highlands, as this summer’s tag line goes. The events are built around a funky, maverick spirit that reflects the feeling of the ski area, organizers say.

“We’re trying to blend the local energy into some come-as-you-are events,” said Aspen Highlands Mountain Manager Ron Chauner. “Highlands has always been kind of a renegade place among its corporate surroundings.”

The ski area had its second-highest visitor count since the Aspen Skiing Co. bought the area in 1993 – Chauner attributes that to the opening of Iguanas as a primary apres-ski location at the bottom of the ski hill, and the opening of the entire Highland Bowl to skiers.

A record 47,000 people hiked the bowl last winter, Chauner said.

“We want to fold last winter’s energy right into this summer, and we think we have a good lineup of events for doing that,” he said.

This summer’s newest events at Highlands include a Colorado-grown fruit and vegetable market from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning June 25. Growers from the Paonia area will sell organically grown produce, and flavored oils and vinegars, elk meat, fresh flowers and baked goods will also be offered.

Highlands Village will turn into a marketplace and swap meet on Saturdays, with locals invited to bring their treasures to swap or sell. It will cost $10 to reserve a table at the swap, and reservation forms are available from the Darnauer Group – the public relations firm handling the campaign for the area’s merchants.

Back for the second summer is the event that made Tuesday nights at Highlands last summer a well-known spectacle: “Outside at the Movies” – a wide variety of movies played outdoors on the Highlands lawn after dark. This year residents are voting on what movies will be shown, via a ballot printed in The Aspen Times. Also, World Link Cafe and the Wine Spot at Highlands Village will offer wine tastings at 5 p.m.

A “Sneak Peek” of the movies is planned for Tuesday, June 24, and the movie nights begin July 1 and run through August. The lawn bowling league will begin June 30, and league nights are Monday nights from 5 to 8 p.m. with a $50 fee per person.

Freestyle Fridays, with popular live music on Friday evenings, will also be back, featuring bands like Betty Dylan, New Monsoon, Smokestack and Mountain of Venus.

In addition, buses for the Maroon Bells recreation area will leave from Aspen Highlands three times an hour. Tickets can be purchased from Pro Mountain Sports in the village.

Highlands officials also are planning a Fourth of July community picnic after the parade in downtown Aspen, featuring live music, food and drinks and a Harley Davidson rally.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]


Hanukkah has arrived in Aspen

Members of the valley’s Jewish community gathered at the Albright Pavilion at Aspen Meadows Thursday for their second annual menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the first day of Hanukkah.

See more