Celebrate the season at Septemberfest in Snowmass

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

David Dugan is out to up Snowmass’ fun factor, get the community together and raise money for a worthy cause — all at once.

“Let’s celebrate fall, let’s do bigger events, do some good in the world,” Dugan said. “We really want to give reason for people to come together.”

With this in mind, the Snowmass resident and restaurant owner spearheaded “Septemberfest,” a new event that will debut in the village today.

Septemberfest will feature somewhat of a marketplace-type experience in the Base Village plaza with more than 25 local vendors and restaurant booths.

The goal is to offer something for everyone in the family, Dugan said, including a massage station and wine and sake tastings for the adults as well as a bounce house, petting zoo, face painters and cotton candy for the kids.

“I think there’s a mentality in Snowmass that we have a great mountain, but if you want to have fun, go to Aspen,” Dugan said. “It’s always going to be family friendly, and it should be. But we can have events, we can have a nightlife.”

Dugan and fellow Snowmass restaurateur Dieter Schindler were the minds behind the ski area’s closing day parties in the spring, which also aimed to add color to the mountain’s final run of the season.

“I think we’re both kind of inspired by the same grow this fun element at Snowmass,” Schindler said in April of he and Dugan.

Dugan said when he told folks his plans for Snowmass’ closing day earlier this year — which included schlepping 14 tons of sand into the Base Village plaza — “people looked at me like I was crazy.”

But looking back, he said, “It was fun.”

“I love the small town of Snowmass. I don’t want to be Aspen,” Dugan clarified. “But that doesn’t mean we have to be G-rated all the time.”

Breathing more life into Snowmass Village isn’t the only driving force for Dugan who feels it’s equally important to give back.

Septemberfest will benefit the Bridging Bionics Foundation, a Basalt-based nonprofit that helps fund, educate and advance the research and development of exoskeletons and bionic technology.

The foundation also works with its clients at the Snowmass Club about three times per week, executive director Amanda Boxtel said.

Boxtel, who helps people with spinal injuries regain mobility via two exoskeletons and vibration training, said Bridging Bionics is “honored” to be the event’s beneficiary.

“It’s the call that every nonprofit wants to receive,” Boxtel said of Dugan’s call “out of the blue” earlier this summer.

“When you can get people vertical who have never been or help people with a degenerative disease, I think that’s important. At this point, (Septemberfest is) as much about the cause as it is about the party,” Dugan said. “I think both of those are good reasons for people to show up.”

Septemberfest is sandwiched between two Snowmass traditions today — the 42nd annual balloon festival, which will kick off at 6:30 a.m., and the balloon glow show that will start at 7:15 p.m. The glow show, also happening in the Base Village area, will feature dancers and a free performance by the Denver-based ’90’s cover band, “Nevermind the 90s.”

Septemberfest will feature a silent auction whereby all proceeds will benefit Bridging Bionics. A yet to be determined portion of all Base Village restaurants’ sales throughout Septemberfest also will go toward the foundation, Dugan said.

Admission to the Septemberfest, slated from 4 to 7 p.m., is free, but donations to Bridging Bionics are strongly encouraged.

For more on Snowmass’ inaugural Septemberfest, visit