Las Colonias Amphitheater

While the music coming from the stage is the main attraction, it doesn’t hurt that the amphitheater at Las Colonias Park also is attractively situated.

The red rock monoliths of Colorado National Monument are to the west, the picturesque Mount Garfield and looming Grand Mesa are to the east, and the Colorado River runs by just feet away.

“People love being on the riverfront. I think that’s the biggest attraction,” said Traci Wieland, recreation superintendent for the city of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The city-owned $3.6 million, 66,000-square-foot amphitheater opened over the summer and is proving to be a key component in revitalizing that area of the community, Wieland said.

For years, the Las Colonias section of the riverfront south of downtown Grand Junction was a barren stretch of land with a sidewalk ribbon of the Colorado Riverfront Trail on one side.

The Riverfront Trail is still there, although rerouted a bit to make way for the amphitheater’s stage building that opens out to green lush grass, an area where more than 2,000 people can easily take in a show.

United Way of Mesa County took advantage of that large grassy area to include lawn games during its Chilled by the River fundraiser in July featuring the Colorado bluegrass band Head for the Hills.

Between music sets, there was corn hole, badminton, croquet and other games to be played.

“It was really enjoyable. Just how we were imagining it to be,” said Honora Thompson, marketing and events manager for United Way of Mesa County. “It was low key and relaxing and such a beautiful venue for outdoor music.”

“It’s well-designed and beautiful. We can’t say enough good things about it,” she said.

And the sound: “It was awesome,” Thompson said.

“The sound is pretty phenomenal,” Wieland agreed.

The amphitheater fills a niche for large outdoor concerts that other Grand Junction venues — the historic Avalon Theatre and Two Rivers Convention Center — can’t accommodate, Wieland said.

The city partnered with Pinnacle Venue Services for the bigger entertainment acts that will be booked at the amphitheater, but the venue also can be rented and will be used for some city-organized events, such as the Colorado Pork and Hops Challenge in early September.

Since information regarding parking or what may or may not be brought into the amphitheater can change depending on the entity using the venue, it is best to check lascoloniasamphitheater.org for information about events, Wieland said.

The website is a clearinghouse of sorts for all amphitheater events.

The amphitheater’s upcoming concerts include Skillet with Colton Dixon on Sept. 1 and Starship featuring Mickey Thomas on Sept. 2.

Paint the Monument

The new Colorado National Monument Plein Air art festival is set for Oct. 10–14. Watch area artists paint while inspired by the red rock canyons, monoliths and spires of the monument. Go to coloradonma.org for information and registration.

 

Lip smackin’ good

The Colorado Pork and Hops Challenge will be Sept. 8–9 at Las Colonias Park on the Colorado Riverfront. Along with professional and amateur barbecue competitions, there will be a corn hole tournament and plenty of live music in the amphitheater. Kip Winger is the headliner for Sept. 8, with Restless Heart headlining Sept. 9. For tickets and information, go to porkandhops.com.

 

Taste for finer things

Colorado Mountain Winefest is Sept. 14–17 in the Palisade area. Among this festival’s offerings are special dinners, vineyard tours and the popular Saturday “Festival in the Park,” where those who attend can taste and learn about wines created by more than 55 Colorado wineries. Tickets sell out for Winefest, so don’t delay in picking up yours at coloradowinefest.com.

 

Celebrate fall

For more than 100 years, the community of Fruita has gathered for Fruita Fall Festival. This year’s event is Sept. 22–24 in downtown Fruita. More than 125 vendors will offer arts, crafts and food, and on the schedule is an outhouse race, parade, talent show, cooking contest, street dance and live music. Go to fruitfallfestival.com for information.

 

Look up!

The Grand Junction Air Show is Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Grand Junction Regional Airport. The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will amaze the crowd, as will many other military and non-military acts and displays. Go to gjairshow.com for tickets and information.

 

Play on

The Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra has filled its 2017–18 season with beloved symphonies, incredibly talented guest artists, a holiday performance of “The Nutcracker” and even some Motown and Broadway. Check on upcoming concerts and tickets at gjso.org.

 

Just look around

The installation of new temporary sculptures in the Grand Junction Art on the Corner exhibit will be Oct. 7. These pieces will join the more than 100 sculptures in the exhibit’s permanent collection that can be found along the sidewalks in downtown Grand Junction. Go to downtowngj.org to learn about Art on the Corner.

 

Go for an art walk

In Grand Junction, First Fridays — the first Friday of every month — are the time to find art galleries’ new exhibits opening and receptions filling the evening. In Fruita, Fourth Fridays are the go-to evening for art. In Palisade, any day of the week is a fine time to seek out art. For the latest details on art events at area galleries, pick up a copy of The Daily Sentinel’s arts and entertainment section, Out & About, published each Friday.

 

On the stage

Colorado Mesa University’s theater season will feature not only acting, but music and dance. “A Grand Night for Singing: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein” will lead off the season followed by the drama “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder and the annual Fall for Dance concert. “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Mr. Burns” and Spring into Dance will follow during the spring semester. For information and tickets, go to coloradomesa.edu/arts/theatre/index.html.

 

Time to rock out

Experience symphonic rock with Grand Junction Rockestra: singers, a band and orchestra and a unique vibe. Rockestra’s 2017–18 season is titled “I Love Rock and Roll!” and its upcoming concerts are “Women who ROCK!” on Nov. 4 at Avalon Theatre and “Ages of ROCK!” on Jan. 13 at Robinson Theatre at Colorado Mesa University. For information, go to Grand Junction Rockestra’s Facebook page.

 

Exhibits to discover

Learn about the area’s history and residents through Museums of Western Colorado’s three area museums. At the Museum of the West in downtown Grand Junction, visitors can check out an interactive stagecoach and see a re-created early Grand Junction, among other exhibits. Dinosaurs rule at Dinosaur Journey in Fruita with interactive and informative displays and activities. And Cross Orchards Historic Site in northeast Grand Junction hosts special events as well as a farmers market twice a week during the summer season. For information go to museumofwesternco.com.





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