This weekend, there’ll be a local convergence of all things delectable, beautiful and autumnal in downtown Montrose. The annual Public Art Experience (PAX) Gala opens Friday evening, with 10 new works from local sculptors joining the 12 outdoor works already on display. This collaborative event is a fundraiser to help the City buy new, permanent outdoor sculptures. Existing PAX pieces will be re-positioned for this event, says Bob Brown, the owner of Around the Corner Art Gallery who is overseeing PAX this year, to keep things visually fresh. And indeed, “fresh” is a good way to sum up the weekend. On Saturday, the first annual FreshFest takes over downtown, beginning with a local breakfast at the Farmers Market, and concluding with Oktoberfest. In between, there’ll be live music, plenty of shopping and specials, local music and the launch of the Black Canyon triathlon. Here’s a timeline.
For the second year in a row, the opening of the annual PAX sculpture exhibit will coincide with the First Friday Stroll (5-8:30 p.m.), a monthly Main Street event in which local galleries showcase new exhibits, and Main Street shops offer special discounts. “There’ll be a lot of interaction between the shops and Main Street events,” Brown says, including numerous musicians (this goes for Friday as well as Saturday) up and down the street, wine tastings, and local beers. Around the Corner Gallery typically serves wine at its First Friday events; this weekend, they’ll offer local beers from Colorado Boy pizzeria, to help set the regionally-brewed, casually-festive mood. They’ll also be featuring artist Lynn Vogel, who’ll be demonstrating her unique copper weaving. Just down the street, A+Y Gallery will host an exhibit for the Montrose Quilter’s Guild entitled The Pumpkin Patch, as well as a local food-and-wine matchup courtesy of Kendra’s Kitchen of Telluride and Mountain View winery in Olathe. The boutique Fabula’s fare is a preview of Saturday’s: a tasting of pretzel sticks and gourmet mustards (as well as first anniversary specials, including discounts and drawings). Nina Suzanne’s boutique will feature gourd artist Michele Gad and music by Dr. Mary. Cookies and cider will be available (and everything in the store is 10 percent off). Along the corners of Main Street corners, you’ll find the latest PAX sculptures. The People’s Choice Award for favorite new sculpture is at 6:30 p.m.
FreshFest begins, with a Harvest Breakfast at the Farmers Market (South 1st Street) from 8:30-11:30 a.m. The meal benefits the work of the local non-profit Valley Food Partnership, whose mission is to connect “local farms and forks,” and includes an omelette bar, a pastry station, juices and a cider pressing, all from locally grown, organic ingredients. From 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., it’s time for the Black Canyon Sprint Triathlon. Sponsored by the Montrose Firefighters Association, the 12th annual event challenges competitors to a 500-yard (i.e., 10 lap) swim at the Montrose Aquatic Center, a 14-mile bike course which winds through the west side of town, and a 3.1-mile run that wraps up back at the aquatic center. “It’s our hope that the competitors head straight to the beer festival,” organizer Bob Brown said. And so, at 1 p.m., Oktoberfest begins. For the third straight year, All Points Transit – which offers the wisest way to travel after an afternoon spent sampling local brews – is the sponsor, along with Black Canyon Homebrewers. Delicious craft beers, hearty Teutonic fare (schnitzel, bratwurst, kielbasa, even Chocolate Stout and Coconut Porter gelatos) and live music will be available up and down Main Street. A group of locals has assembled a five-piece German “oompah” band to entertain the crowd between sets from Laura Austin, Boxcar and Zolpht and the Destroyers. The party continues at R&R Sportsbar after Oktoberfest ends (around 6 p.m.), with live music from Zolpht & co. For more on this weekend, visit cityofmontrose.org, montrosefreshfest.com and bctri.com.