Festival Recap: Ridgway RiverFest 2018

Ridgway, Colorado is known as the gateway to the beautiful and rugged San Juan Mountains. With a population of just over 1,000 people, and the only stoplight in all of Ouray County, community is the name of the game in this small town. We felt right at home as we drove into Rollans Park on the river to set up the Elevation Outdoors booth at Ridgway RiverFest.

Before heading to the festival, we thought we would get a feel for the surrounding area. We pointed the van toward the biggest mountain you can see from Ridgway, Mount Sneffles. We hiked into Blue Lake, and found out that no other lake is more aptly named. This lake is the bluest of blues. After putting some Sea to Summit sleep systems to work and downing a Mountain House meal, we turned in for the night, ready to take on the 14,150 foot peak the next day.

With the Mount Sneffles summit in our memories, we drove into town and set up the booth to enjoy the Ridgway RiverFest. Because of low river levels (the entire state of Colorado is dry), Ridgway recommended only inflatables and Junk of the Unc crafts float the river. That didn’t stop creatures of all types from enjoying the water. Kids, dogs, plenty of adults, and all types of inflatable crafts were cooling down in the water all day. It felt like a big picnic with food vendors dishing out hamburgers and tunes floating from the stage down to the river. They ran a silent auction all day and kept the margaritas flowing. In the middle of the day, there was a Ute cultural presentation by Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk and a Native American flute performance by Norman Lopez. There was a rope throwing competition for best rescue. They baked cookies in solar ovens. Both members of the road team claimed a duck in the Rubber Ducky Race, though neither made it past the finish line. The day concluded with music by Sugar & the Mint, who performed a chilling rendition of Riders in the Sky.

Ridgway RiverFest is produced by Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership. UWP is a 501(c)(3) organization that works on water quality restoration and education projects in the Upper Uncompahgre River Watershed. There is so much to learn about keeping our rivers clean and happy, and this non-profit is working on figuring it out and enacting practices to keep our rivers around. Ridgway RiverFest is a zero-waste event, had compost options and encouraged vendors to recycle. We were happy to oblige!

Our next event is closer to the front range. We’re headed east to Copper Mountain Music Festival. Stop by this Saturday, July 7, for a huge raffle, a ton of incredible outdoor gear and great music. A bunch of the team will be there, so it is a great time to meet everyone who makes Elevation Outdoors possible!

The Monday after, we are all climbing three fourteeners as an office to raise money for Big City Mountaineers. Take a look at our Facebook event page for more information on how to get involved!


There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors that make this happen: Crazy CreekNational GeographicSea to SummitMountain HouseLowe AlpineOld TownLekiHydraPakUCO Gear and WenzelIf you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to win.

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