Yagatta Regatta floats into Glenwood
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” For the past six years, costumed folks have come together in Glenwood Springs to cruise down the Colorado River in one, colorful mass. The Yagatta Regatta makes another run on Saturday.
“It’s the alcohol,” suggests Dede Hofmann.
Before anyone gets riled up ” she was joking. While the Regatta has always had a drinking-friendly vibe, the flotilla and summer fair is fast becoming quite the family affair. This year, alongside the gourmet beer tents and food booths, will be children’s games and even a juggler (Glenwood’s own Jammin’ Jim). From all accounts, Saturday’s shindig is all about feeling good ” responsibly.
“What we’re trying to do is build a family event that people want to come to year after year,” explained Scott King, who organized the half-dozen bands showing up at Two Rivers Park for the post-float party.
Like event organizer Bob Johnson, King stressed that the day is “geared toward honoring our military personnel.” Complete with a presentation by a color guard, the festival’s reverence toward servicemen and women should be evident. After all, this is Operation Vacation’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
For those not in the know, Glenwood-based nonprofit gives soldiers and their families free vacations. While rafters do not pay to raft down the river, there is a charge to enter the celebration area at the park. Proceeds will go toward keeping Operation Vacation afloat.
But even with its underlying purpose, the Regatta still looks to be a lighthearted party.
“It’s just a fun time,” explained Johnson. “Come out and have good time.”
You don’t have to tell Hofmann, a Regatta veteran, twice. For the last few years, she’s been on one of the most prominent rafts, full of women who consistently win the costume contest. Last year, you might remember them as the “Seven Menopausal Dwarves.” With names like Weepy, Bloated and Forgetful, the ladies easily locked up first place. Past years’ themes include a “Popemobile” (with the women dressed as nuns) ” and who could forget the time they were all little boys, hanging around a Michael Jackson look-alike?
“It’s kind of a freedom,” said Hofmann. “It’s kind of fun to get together and enjoy the day.”
And though you’d never know it, she’s actually petrified of the water. Yet there’s something about the Regatta, about being around women she’s so close with that brings her out of that fear.
“It’s just us, being together on the river,” she said.
While the Regatta might not break Deana Hermanson through a phobia, it certainly prompts her to do stuff she might not otherwise. Thanks to the float, this mother of two has transformed into a pirate and a hillbilly over the years. This time around, she’ll be a one of many ’70s-style basketball players, complete with “afros and everything.”
To her, this day is about coming together as a community ” whatever that takes.
“If it means dressing up like fools ” yeah, we do it,” she joked.
It’s just that kind of feisty energy that MC Micah Ball likes at the celebration. While he talked about his deep appreciation of Operation, what really draws him to the festival is the water.
“I think the river is underdeveloped and undervalued here,” he said.
To him, the Regatta is just the vehicle to change all that. Recently, he’s heard rumors that people from all over the state might be coming for the day to check out Glenwood’s whitewater park.
Regardless of whether Regatta attendees are there for the water, the music or the brews, he said, one thing is for sure: “Everyone’s just having a damn good time.”
A costumed flotilla followed by free children’s games, face painting and juggling performances in Two Rivers Park. A half-dozen breweries will be pouring beer; food will include burgers and dogs on the grill, and pie from Mancinelli’s Pizza.
The live music ranges from bluegrass to progressive rock. The entertainment lineup:
11 a.m. ” Machtweed
12:05 p.m. ” Acoustic Mayhem
1:30 p.m. ” The Porchlights
3 p.m. ” Friends with You Band (a John Denver tribute group)
5 p.m. ” Presentation by the color guard
5:15 p.m. ” The Butchers
5:30 p.m. ” Presentation of the $6,000 dollar-bill chain (a fundraiser for Operation Vacation, created by local middle school students) to Operation founder Bob Johnson.
7:30 p.m. ” Ralph Dinosaur
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A technical glitch Monday that led to long waits for COVID-19 booster shots at a clinic at Buttermilk should be fixed in the near future, and any Pitkin County resident who wants a booster will get one.