“Where the Wild Still Lives: The Great Dolores Outdoors” is the theme of this year’s Escalante Days and Nights on Aug. 11-12.
The hometown festival celebrates Dolores’ pioneer roots and continues the outdoor recreation and live-music emphasis.
“It is a locals favorite, and the evening music festival at the local brewery keeps people in town the whole weekend,” said Rocky Moss, of the Dolores Chamber of Commerce.
“We have all the classic events again. The softball game, bike race, fun run, and parade focusing on boats and the outdoors highlights of our backyard playground.”
On Friday, the event kicks off with kids bike parade, bike rodeo and ice-cream eating contest.
Saturday morning, will be the pancake breakfast at the Dolores Fire Station, a fundraiser for the K9 Search and Rescue. At 10 a.m. will be the parade, with a focus on the Wild West, outdoor recreation and boats of all kinds. Citizen of the Year Dan Heeny will be leading the way.
Later Saturday, there will be the traditional arm wrestling and chain saw competitions, plus free Galloping Goose Rides – a nod to the town’s logging and railroad history.
The Four Corners Community Band will be performing, offering a live soundtrack to the watermelon-eating contest, water balloon fight, hula hoop contest, three-legged race, Dolores Fire Department water fight, duck race and more.
There will be drink and food vendors at Flanders Park.
The Saturday mountain bike race portion of the festival, put on by the Rotary Club of Dolores, continues to improve. This year, the 50-mile endurance and expert courses will include the newly constructed McPhee Overlook trail.
The popular new trail hugs the cliffs above the reservoir, offering riders views of the lake as they race along fun, flowing single-track.
“It gives racers views of the lake not normally seen,” said racer Shawn Gregory. “Riders will appreciate the different terrain with some good up and down elevation.”
Besides the longer courses, there is also a 13-mile beginner race, an 18-mile sport race, and family 5K foot race.
The Overlook trail eliminates the pavement for the endurance and expert courses, and better spreads out racers throughout the Boggy Draw trail system.
A chip-timer system and more elaborate start-finish line has also been added this year. The race is a fundraiser for the Dolores Rotary Club, with proceeds going toward student scholarships.
“With the new trail and professional timing, the race is at the next level, and it’s getting more on the radar of top riders,” Gregory said.
The music festival goes from 2 p.m. to midnight on Saturday at the Dolores River Brewery. Ten bands, and a belly dance performance, costs just $10 bucks. The performers are all local favorites, including Aloha Club, Stan McNeil, The Moetones, Donny Johnson, Last Nickel, Troupe Verde Belly Dance, The Crags, Carute Roma, Bradley Sitton and Wake Up Laughing. Special guest Jill Carlson will emcee the festival.