Patriots’ Festival relocates to Mountain Shadows

       With the third annual Patriots Festival and Ride for Heroes likely to expand from the estimated 2,000 at-tendees it drew last Septem-ber, event sponsor Chick-Fil-A has relocated it from Glen Eyrie to the 6.5-acre Mountain Shadows Park off Flying W Ranch Road.
       This will also connect the event Saturday, Sept. 8 with the nearby neighborhood - Mountain Shadows - that was devastated by the recent Waldo Canyon Fire, explained Torie Giffin, lead organizer for Chick-Fil-A, the event's main sponsor.
       “We met with the HOA [homeowners association], and they welcomed us with open arms,” she said. “They're trying to rebuild, and this is a chance to be a stronger community.”
       The patriotically themed five-hour festival will be much like it was at Glen Eyrie, Giffin said. It will be kicked off by concurrent bicycle rides of 14 and 28 miles that people can choose to join, and the riders' entry fees (after expenses) will be donated to police, fire and military charities that the restaurant chain supports.
       The event itself is free, with an emphasis on thanking soldiers, police and firefighters who risk their lives for other citizens. Included will be safety demonstrations; a patriotic ceremony; a 1-mile bicycle “fun ride” and other children's activities; a Flight for Life helicopter; and displays of police, fire and military vehicles.
       The Navigators, a non-profit Christian organization that owns Glen Eyrie (the former estate of Colorado Springs founder William Palmer off North 30th Street) had agreed to hold the event on its Sports Green for a second straight Sep-tember this year, but became concerned about probable crowd increases as the festival date neared. Part of the thinking was the influence of the fire - that thousands more would want to come this year as a way of showing community solidarity, according to Derek Strickler, director of operations for the Navigators.
       “We would love to have continued the festival, but we were already at our maximum capacity last year,” he said. “The event outgrew us.”
       He added that the Navigators “are still helping the festival, with staff and some of our equipment.”
       Securing the Mountain Shadows Park location (which also benefits from grassy areas at neighboring Chipeta School) provided a sense of relief for Chick-Fil-A, Giffin pointed out, in that the Navigators' decision had only been made about a month ago - after materials showing Glen Eyrie as the site had already been printed.
       In the third year of the Patriots Festival, Mountain Shadows Park will be its third location. The first year it was at Colorado Technical University. Needing a larger site in its second year, Chick-Fil-A partnered with Glen Eyrie.
       For more information on this year's Patriots Festival and Ride for Heroes, call 650-5114 or go to patriotsfestival.com.

Westside Pioneer article