On The Scene: Le Rouge and the Art + Music Festival

Logan Baker, Jackie Bray and Ron Walz

Cheryl Powell, Tarah Powell and Amy Sheppard

Debbie and Larry Skaff

Jeff Pacotti and Christi Cox

Jared, Karen and Amir Beshai

The new format for the Mother’s Day weekend downtown Arts and Music Festival brought a mixed bag of opinions from those accustomed to the way it had always been.

There was still plenty of jazz to be heard — the festival formerly was named the Art and Jazz Festival — but this year there was also a variety of music genres to satisfied everyone.

Friday night was an absolute packed house and, as it has been in the past, the festival was a lively meeting place for people who hadn’t seen each other for a while, and a great reason to share a beverage and dance. I think everyone was ready to get out of the house and mingle.

I decided to concentrate on one “scene” early in the evening at Le Rouge Restaurant. I came in the back door and saw Debbie and Larry Skaff having a glass of wine. Larry is with Focus Technology Group, a company that gives support to medical offices.

The Skaffs were soon joined by Shea Bramer‘s Aunt Stephanie and Aunt Cindy who had come from Greeley to see him perform that evening at the festival.

Heading up to the front of Le Rouge, I found a couple people I absolutely had to get in my column: Cheryl Powell and her daughter, Tarah Powell.

The story goes, when I lived in Gunnison and was going to Western State College, I worked at the Elks Club. It was my first bartending job. I was a 21-year-old Colorado girl whose wardrobe was mostly hiking boots and cowboy shirts.

One night as I was behind the bar playing horse dice, in walked Cheryl with Max Powell. He had brought her all the way from California.

She was 19, and I thought she was the most fantastic thing I’d ever seen, pretty and classy and sophisticated. I’d never even been to California. She was something you didn’t see every day in the Wild West.

Well, she hasn’t changed. Neither have I.

Her daughter Tarah was in Grand Junction for Mother’s Day. She works for Patron Tequila as an ambassador for the state of Colorado. Now that sound like a Wild West job! Ole!

Sitting with them was Amy Sheppard, owner of Urban Girls Salon. She does Cheryl’s hair.

I asked after Patrice Petit, the owner of Le Rouge, and was told he was away, gone to France. Patrice hires great wait staff and the service is always professional.

Jackie Bray was bartending Friday night and is popular with the customers. I asked for a photo of her with Ron Walz, who is a Realtor by day at Bray Real Estate and works at Le Rouge part time, and waiter Logan Baker, who is new in town from California and kind of fancy, like Cheryl.

The patio filled with diners and drinkers getting into the festival scene.  Christi Cox and Jeff Pacotti were enjoying each other’s company with dueling martinis. Christi is a stylist at Salon Panache, and Jeff is a consultant for the salon industry.

The specials that evening were sea bass and roast duck breast with a brandy merlot cream sauce, and I noticed some diners contemplating the menu. Jared, Karen and Amir Beshai were celebrating Mother’s Day.

Amir is with Urological Associates of Western Colorado, Jared is a track star and honor student at Palisade High School, and Karen is attending Luther Rice University, online, to get a theology degree in Christian studies. What a nice, handsome family.

I left that scene and hit the outdoor party. It was a blast.

Good job downtown Grand Junction. I think I’ll stick around another 55 years.

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■ Jeff Pine and Friends will play a concert to benefit the Colorado National Monument Association at 7 p.m. Friday at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, 2087 Broadway. Take a chair, blanket and picnic. Wine will be available for purchase. Tickets cost $30 and are available at coloradonma.org the monument Visitor Center, Back Porch Music and Two Rivers Winery. Info: 858-3617, ext. 360.

■ With a “Country-fied Mike” theme, the annual Mike the Headless Chicken Festival is set for Friday and Saturday at the Fruita Civic Center Pavilion, 325 E. Aspen Ave., in Fruita. Among the festival’s offerings are music, dancing, artisan booths, a 5K run and disc golf tournament. Info: miketheheadlesschicken.org, 858-0360.

Check Friday’s Out & About for additional entertainment events.


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