New festivals, new business ventures keep Palisade in a celebratory mood


The town of Palisade is planning to spend $1.2 million to make improvements to Main Street and will work around the summertime festival schedule so construction doesn’t cause problems when the town will be flooded with visitors.

Cory Johnson hopes to open a sushi restaurant in this location where Mumzel’s used to operate. He’s planning on using local, fresh ingredients to create some unique sushi rolls.

The legislature recently approved a bill to allow the sale of the land where the Cameo power plant existed and would allow a sports shooting complex to be developed on the property. There is wide support for the project, which would include a 1,000-yard shooting range, as well as an indoor range, archery ranges and space for education.

The town of Palisade sent this pen to Governor Hickenlooper for him to sign the bill that allows the sale of the land and operation of the sports shooting complex in Debeque Canyon near Palisade. As the closest town to the range, Palisade would reap the benefits of having another draw for tourists.

Reasons to celebrate
The festival season began a few weeks ago in Palisade with the honeybee festival in April and continues in May with the first annual Brews and Cruise Festival this weekend. While the main events and festivities for that inaugural festival occurred Friday night and yesterday in the park, there is a guided bike ride through the vineyards today. Next year, festival organizers hope to add a Gran Fondo, an organized race that includes both long distance and elevation changes, to the Brews and Cruise schedule.

“We made the decision to do Brews and Cruise right before Old-Fashioned Christmas,” said Julianne Adams, director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, “but we couldn’t put together the bike ride due to the permitting process. We didn’t want to rush into something and not do it right.”

The Palisade Chamber decided to add a few new festivals to the calendar in hopes of bringing more people to the area in the off season. While the bee festival and the bike and beer festival bring people to the area long before there are peaches or grapes, the chamber hopes the new fiber art and quilting festival will bring them back after the harvest. The fiber festival used to be part of the peach festival, but will be a stand-alone event this year in October.

“The fiber people were disillusioned with being part of the peach festival,” Adams said. “Attendees weren’t thinking about warmer clothes.”

In addition to moving the event to October and inviting the quilting coalition to join, the festival is also moving to the smaller Memorial Park, where there is a building to use for indoor exhibits and demonstrations.

A shot at unique tourism
The town of Palisade is cheering about the actions taken by the state legislature, which approved the sale of the land on which stood the former Cameo power plant in Debeque Canyon. Supporters hope to turn the 1,400+acre site into a shooting complex. Governor Hickenlooper has already thrown his support behind the idea, and the town of Palisade sent him a special pen in the shape of a bullet to sign the new law.

“To have a facility with this kind of topography will be world-class,” said Rich Sales, town administrator for Palisade. The facility, which has received broad regional support from neighboring towns and counties, will include indoor and outdoor rifle and archery ranges, as well as a 1,000-yard range. A classroom could be used for hunter education and outdoor education for children from school district 51.

The project is still in very early planning stages, but will be a Division of Parks and Wildlife facility, with the town of Palisade also playing an anticipated role to secure funding. Although there is no timetable on the construction, the governor has tagged it as a priority for the property, which is unsuitable for many uses due to its vertical terrain.


Downtown & business
The town of Palisade is also working to improve the aesthetics of its downtown area, adding a new public bathroom and spending $1.2 million to improve Main Street.

“We’ll phase it in and out,” Sales said. “We don’t want to disrupt the festival season.”

Work will be done above and below the surface and anticipated improvements include new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and lighting improvements.

Renee Gibson, who owns Casual Gal Silver Smith on Main Street loves operating a business in downtown Palisade and has added the Red Re-do to her shop. Shoppers will find unique, one-of-a-kind home accessory items like plant shelves, foot stools, coat racks and frames that Gibson has refurbished and splashed with a touch of red.

“A little bit of red seems to go with everything,” said Gibson, who picks up likely looking items at garage sales and thrift stores and transforms them prior to displaying them at her shop.

Across the street, Cory Anderson is planning to open the Tophu Monki Sushi Company next to the Blue Pig Art Gallery. Anderson worked at a sushi restaurant in Corpus Christi, Tex., where he learned to do everything, including make the sushi and manage the restaurant. Anderson is waiting for a green light from the health department and hopes to have his restaurant open in May. He’s also looking forward to making unique rolls using fresh local ingredients and has a peach tuna roll in mind.

Although Chris Hogan thought he wanted to find a downtown location for his new Palisade business, Motoplex, he’s happy with his location on G Road across from Palisade High School, which is along the Fruit and Wine Trail that winds around Palisade and East Orchard Mesa. Hogan has a fleet of rental scooters, along with helmets, glasses and safety vests, which gives people another option when touring the farmland around Palisade. He hopes to be open by June 1 to take advantage of the summer tourist season.


Real estate in a small town
The real estate market in Palisade is fairly active, with properties that are priced well selling quickly.

“We have a very low inventory with only 23 total listings, which is low for Palisade,” said Patti Poschman, broker associate with RE/MAX 4000.

Because Palisade is a smaller market with a lower inventory, those who want to live in Palisade often keep their eye out for available property. When it appears on the market, they don’t hesitate to make an offer.


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