The return of fall, definitely has a certain smell in the air. Fall means that there is a lot of days where the air conditioning and the heat is on in your car all in one day. Fall also means pumpkin spice lattes and many other pumpkin spice flavored things. A good adult’s only option would be some kind of cinnamon spice beer. The Grand Brew Tour is a good event to check out on October 28th, 2017, stay within walking distance at Hi Country Haus Condominiums. The Grand Brew Tour sponsorship’s generate funds which help support non-profit organizations within Grand County. Since 1996, the Grand Foundation has granted nearly $7.9 Million to qualified Grand County non-profit and charitable organizations. These organizations provide services and programs in the areas of Health & Human Services, Arts & Culture, Education, Environment and Amateur Sports. The Grand Brew Tour is an opportunity for you to give back to the community while enjoying an evening surrounded by food, beer, philanthropy, and fun! There is plenty of fun things to do between now and then. Another great event if you’re getting married soon is the Grand County Bridal Showcase. Please consider joining the Grand County Weddings and Events Association for its Grand Showcase on Sunday, October 1, 2017, from 11am-2pm. Swing by and meet the amazing Grand County wedding professionals and win great prizes at the Grand Park Community Recreation Center! There is still plenty of things to do still wanting to golf? Get your lodging with us at Beaver Village Condominiums and make a weekend of it. Pole Creek Golf Course has a great deal, play 18 holes for just $50.00 or play 9 holes for just $35.00. You can always show up after 2:00 PM and play as many holes as you want for $35.00. The event at Winter Park Resort, Hops and Handlebars that was supposed to happen September 23rd, 2017 was postponed due to weather and is now on September 30th, 2017. Drink good beer and watch people do crazy things on bikes. All in all there is plenty to do during the fall in Grand County don’t miss your chance to enjoy.

The Trestle Bike Park season is coming to an end, so that means we must have a party to celebrate all the jumps, skids, and crashes that made up an awesome season. Well there is a party! The party is called Hops and Handlebars, it is hosted at Winter Park Resort on September 23, 2017. It is being sponsored by New Belgium Brewing so come get your favorite beer in a cool custom cup. There will be some pretty cool events at Hops and Handlebars. There is a competition called the “whip off” which is a competition that will show case a riders style and whip amplitude, the rider will be graded on criteria whip amplitude, landing and style, then the winner will get a $350 cash prize. Another event that is happening is the banana peel jam this is the first stop in the Colorado Slopestyle Championship. The riders will be graded on the best tricks that they can put down. The winner of the banana peel jam will receive a $500 cash prize. You can sign up for both competitions, either $25 for each event or $30 if you would like to compete in both events. Now if you want to have some fun and be able to brag to your friends there is the second annual mini bike race. All you have to do is ride during the day to get one of the top 14 times and then compete in the finals at 5:15pm. The mini bike race is a race with some great prizes from Go Pro, Maxxis Tires, Giant swag, and more. Don’t bike? Just want to party? You can listen to some free live music after the event.

Please see schedule below for details.

11am-1pm Whip Off (36 Chamber)
1-6pm Get your New Belgium beer & compete in our mini bike race competition at the base
2-6pm Live music by The Sweet Lillies at the base
2-4pm Banana Peel Jam|
5:15pm Mini Bike competition finals
5:45pm Whip Off, Banana Peel Jam, Mini Bike Awards Ceremony & Raffle

July, what a great month of the year. July 4th is probably one of the coolest holidays just because it is about us celebrating our independence. Obviously I don’t need to go into detail on what happened in 1776. Today is the day we parted our ways from Great Britain and became our own country. Now July 4th is a day that we celebrate with family, friends, fireworks and a grill. Winter Park’s Lance Gutherson has been hosting his fireworks celebration for many years. Today the town of Winter Park will congregate around 9 o’clock to watch fireworks. For as long as Americans can remember we have been setting off fireworks on July 4th. The reason we set off fireworks on July 4th is because John Adams wanted us to. Before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, he envisioned fireworks as a part of the festivities. The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777 or at least that is when it was recorded. In 1783 fireworks were commonly sold in the United States of America. Tradition alone, of course, does not explain the popularity of fireworks here and abroad. As with many festive decorations, including streamers, confetti, festival lights, and balloons, people often appreciate them simply for their bright colors. Others may appreciate the technical ingenuity and the choreography that goes into the show. And others just like dramatic loud noises, the sense of destruction, and the thrill of danger. Over time, fireworks shows can bring back memories of other festive occasions and warm summer nights. On the other hand, there are the occasional fireworks haters. All in all, it seems that fireworks and independence go hand in hand. The reason that they go together so well is the explosions and the smiles that it can bring to you faces.

So, what is 2014 the year of? If you know your Chinese Zodiac, it’s the year of the horse. My dog thinks she’s a horse, so that would explain a lot of her behavior this week.

However, the year 2014 has a number of other designations. Apparently, the United Nations designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming and the International Year of Crystallography, which makes perfect sense. The goal of the 2014 IYFF is “to reposition family farming at the center of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development.” So that’s clear enough – I’ll start on that right away.

Crystallography, on the other hand, “is the science of condensed matter with emphasis on the atomic or molecular structure and its relation to physical and chemical properties”. I wonder whose job at the United Nations it is to decide what future years should be “The Year Of…?” I’m in the wrong profession, obviously, as I think I would excel at the job of “Future International Year Proclamations Thinker Upper”. In truth, it’s probably not down to one individual to decide – they probably form committees who meet for months on end to figure this out.

What else? Tom Hayden, Mayor of Flower Mound in Texas (famous of course for its proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport) officially declared 2014 the Year of the Bible. Aside from “raising a few eyebrows”, unfortunately that’s already been done before by President Reagan, who by Proclamation 5018 made 1983 the Year of the Bible.

Perhaps something that will be more apposite is that 2014 will be the year of the iPhone-controlled everything. I guess I better activate mine ASAP and discard the bar of soap I’ve been using for the last 8 years.

Here’s one of my favorites. Conservation Groups in partnership with PARC (Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation) have designated 2014 as the Year of the Salamander. There are all sorts of things you can do to get involved: subscribe to a monthly newsletter, enter a photo contest, buy a calendar, even become a Partner yourself. Just e-mail yearofthesalamander@gmail.com to learn more about how you can participate.

And the European Brain Council pledged to make 2014 the European Year of the Brain – “Changing the way Europeans think about their brains”. Hmmm – coming from England I’m going to have to think about that one”.

Now that we’ve all chosen what to dedicate our spare time to in 2014, what else have we got to look forward to this year? Well, it’s curling of course and 457 hours of uninterrupted coverage coming from the Winter Olympics in Sochi. OK – hands on hearts everyone – how many of you profess to actually knowing where Sochi is – other than Russia (and that gets you a bronze medal)? Go on – look it up: it’s nowhere near Siberia. Unfortunately Sochi will have a lot less glamour next month due to the absence of Lindsey Vonn. This morning, Lindsey announced her withdrawal from the Games due to the injury she sustained in a speed training session on November 19th at Copper Mountain. That will just leave Shaun White, “The Flying Tomato”, to assume the mantle of having the most “celebrity wattage” according to sportsillustrated.cnn.com.

In June and July, all eyes (well, some in the U.S., most in the rest of the world) will be on Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I’m talking about soccer, or as most people outside the US call it, football. The U.S. have a really tough draw, with Germany and Portugal in their group, and Ghana (who they play first on June 16th) will be no pushover either.

And finally, on September 18th, the Scottish Independence Referendum is scheduled to be held. This is, of course, of huge importance to everyone who is Scottish. Many of them want it (although not a majority according to opinion polls), the Prison Officers Association in Scotland has voted to back it – even Mel Gibson wanted it, and you know what happened to him? Right now, the “Undecideds” will swing the vote. One potential consequence, according to Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen of the University of Copenhagen, will be that “an independent Scotland would be a natural member of the Nordic Council”. And why not?  Mark your calendars for that one.

As I said, Happy New Year.