Strawberry Days still sweet |

Strawberry Days still sweet

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
A clown exchanges a high five with spectators along Grand Avenue during Saturday's Strawberry Days parade. (Chad Spangler/Post Independent)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” For an event that is 111 years old, it has yet to lose its luster for thousands of people. In fact, it seems to have taken on an even better shine.

The attendance at this year’s Strawberry Days in Glenwood Springs seems to be higher than in recent years, said Marianne Virgili, president and CEO for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, which puts on the festival.

“It was a great event,” Virgili said. “We seemed to have better crowds than usual. It was a very well-received event.”

Virgili added that high gas prices did not seem to prevent people from across the area from taking part in the long-running, three-day event, which wrapped up Sunday.

“If anything, I think the region has grown so much from Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction that people were looking at a quick day trip,” Virgili said. “We think there were more day visitors to the event. It was just an easy drive for a lot of people.”

And though thousands of people came to partake in the activities, there were no serious incidents, Virgili said.

Glenwood Springs Police Department Lt. Bill Kimminau said officers had few problems during the three-day festival, adding that there were fewer fights at the Sayre Park – where most of the events were concentrated – as compared to recent years.

“All in all, it was very quiet,” Kimminau said.

Glenwood Springs police officers still cited six people for DUIs and 13 other people for other alcohol violations – such as open container and minors in possession violations – in connection with the festivities, Kimminau said.

Police also responded to six instances of petty theft near the Strawberry Days activities; however, those were mostly tied to thefts at area stores. They also arrested one person at Sayre Park during the festivities, but that was for an outstanding warrant, Kimminau said.

Officers also responded to one car accident during the Strawberry Days Parade on Saturday, Kimminau said.

Virgili said the economic impact of Strawberry Days is “enormous” for Glenwood Springs, thanks to the estimated 40,000 people who take part in the celebrations.

Strawberry Days also helps local nonprofits, which use the event as a fundraiser. It is also a sales tax generator for Glenwood Springs, she said.

“Then there’s the ripple effect,” Virgili said of Strawberry Days impacts on local businesses. “The vendors stay in local hotels, so do many participants in the event.”

There is also a strong public relations and advertising benefit that comes along with the Strawberry Days, Virgili said. That’s because some national media outlets cover the event.

“That puts Glenwood Springs on the map,” she said.

Nikita Daniely, a manager at the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. in downtown Glenwood Springs, said the restaurant saw an up-tick in its level of business as thousands of revelers enjoyed Strawberry Days.

“It is always nice any time there is a big event in town,” Daniely said. “We always do see a nice increase in customers with people taking a little break from the heat of the day and coming in for a beer.”

Every year the Glenwood Springs brewery crafts a beer called the Strawberry Daze Ale specifically for the event. And every year, the beer rapidly sells out, Daniely said.

“It really is a very popular beer,” she said. “Typically we run out of that within a few days of Strawberry Days.”

The business hadn’t run out of the beer as of Monday afternoon. However, the supply of the beverage was on its “last legs,” Daniely said.