Oktoberfest on October 5, 2013 in Montrose, CO.

Oktoberfest on October 5, 2013 in Montrose, CO.

1st Annual Montrose Fresh Fest.

By: Liesl Greathouse

(September 3, 2013)

For people who enjoy fresh local food, outdoor activities, brews, or art, then the 1st Annual Montrose Fresh Fest is the place to be, October 4‑5.

The Fest is four different events compiled into two days.  The weekend kicks off with the Public Art eXperience (PAX) Celebration of Art and Culture on Friday, Oct. 4th in Downtown Montrose.  Different chefs, musicians and artists will be paired with different stores, so attendees can stroll downtown to admire the public art exhibits and enjoy what each store has to offer, as well as get great discounts from merchants.  Proceeds from ticket sales will support PAX’s efforts to purchase permanent public art for the City of Montrose.

Saturday is packed with excitement. Those participating in the Black Canyon Sprint Triathlon will get started with the race at 8:30 a.m, beginning with a 500 yard (10 laps) swim at the Montrose Aquatic Center, followed by a 24K (14.6 mile) bike course winding through the west side of town, and wrapping up with a 5K (3.1 mi) run, finishing back at the Aquatic Center.

For those seeking to spend a relaxing Saturday morning, the Montrose Farmer’s Market and Valley Food Partnership will present a farm to table breakfast near the Farmer’s Market Plaza at South 1st and Uncompahgre.  The Fresh Harvest breakfast will be prepared by Chef Janice Wheeler of Pine Cone Catering from all locally grown organic foods.  The breakfast will feature a pastry station, omelet bar, organic juice, and cider pressing.

Over at Centennial Plaza, Oktoberfest will begin at 1 p.m. This is the 8th year for Montrose Oktoberfest, presented by The Black Canyon Homebrewers’ Association (BCHA). The event features live music, traditional Oktoberfest fare from local restaurants, artisan booths and beer tasting from craft breweries throughout the Western Slope and beyond. Over 20 different breweries are expected to participate this year. Proceeds from the event will benefit All Points Transit.

The weekend will wind down with an Oktoberfest After Party at RnR Sports Bar, complete with music from Grand Junction’s Zolopht and the Destroyers, who will also be playing Oktoberfest earlier in the day.

Two of the women who helped organize the event, Yesenia Duncan, Chairperson of the Montrose Downtown Events and Promotions Committee, and Abbie Brewer of the Montrose Farmer’s Market, are excited for a festival that focuses on what the Montrose community is all about.  “It’s new and it’s something hip to bring to Montrose,” Yesenia explained.

“It introduces fresh air, art, brew, and fruits and vegetables to people,” Abbie added.  “It brings a newness and a freshness together at a community event where people can enjoy it.  It brings outsiders in and introduces locals to what they may not have known that Montrose has to offer.”

What makes the Fest beneficial to the community is the fact that certain events, such as Oktoberfest, have been happening separately for several years.  But by combining all the events’ resources, the events are no longer competing for people, but instead are working together to attract even more people to each event.

The entire collaborative process to make this event happen has greatly impressed Yesenia and Abbie.  “So many people came together for the same cause,” Yesenia said.  “It has been cool to see everyone coming together to share costs and ideas.”

“It has been a community effort,” Abbie said.  “It shows our community spirit and has ended up being a match made in heaven.

The Fest is grateful to its sponsors and to the City of Montrose for funds.  Sponsorships are still available for the Fest.  The most important thing that locals can do to help the event is to help spread the word by telling their friends and bringing their family to the Fest for a fun‑filled weekend.

Yesenia and Abbie hope that the Fest will prove to be a success and something to look forward to next year.  “I hope we continue the collaboration of events, supporting community spirit, bringing it all together so that every year we can make it a bigger event,” Abbie said.

“We hope to make it an event that people will put on their calendars in January in preparation for October,” Yesenia said.  “We want to show everybody what the Montrose community is all about: a place for everyone to enjoy recreation, brews, shop, and eat awesome food.”

For more information about tickets, the events during the Fest, discounts and specials offered by local businesses, and sponsorship opportunities, visit montrosefreshfest.com or call 240‑7914.