Montrose, CO – Water sports enthusiasts, competitors, and the fun-loving Montrose community are invited to enjoy the Third Annual Colorado FUNC Fest (Fun on the UNCompahgre River Festival) at the Montrose Water Sports Park (WSP) in Riverbottom Park on Saturday, July 22. The event, presented by the City of Montrose Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) and co-sponsored by Cherry Creek Radio, Peak Professionals, and the San Juan Mountain Credit Union, features a full lineup of river and land events from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“In just two years, the Colorado FUNC Fest has already made a name for itself, drawing local, regional, national, and international competitors,” said OBT Program Coordinator Stacey Ryan. “We are excited to invite water sports fans to Montrose again to enjoy the competition and spectacle, and to encourage locals to take part in the diverse event that is also a celebration of our park system.”
For river competitors, cash prizes are at stake. Men and women compete separately in kayak freestyle and surf freestyle in the morning, and stand up paddle (SUP) and boater cross competitions in the afternoon. “Cross events blend downriver racing and roller derby,” explained Mike Harvey, FUNC Fest river race director. “They’re available to all levels of paddlers and are exciting events to watch.”
Activities will shine a spotlight all things parks, so there will be something land-based for just about everyone. The day will include the grand opening of the new Montrose Dog Park in Cerise Park; yoga; a morning walk in the park with the Montrose 500 Mile Walkers; a mountain bike group trail ride with COPMOBA (Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association); the Peaks & Valleys Disc Golf tournament; a retailers’ expo; Chow Down Pet Supplies’ Dog Welcome Party; Montrose Rec District Kids’ Fun! zone; a roller derby bout featuring the U Valley Vixens in the rink; a casting challenge with Ross Reels on the pond; local conservation and water-oriented nonprofit organizations highlighting the vital role that water plays in our community; Partners’ ducky race in the creek, and more.
Free music, sponsored by the Montrose Daily Press, will run from 2 to 8 p.m. featuring local bands Snooch and the Blue Gators. The headliner, Chris Daniels & The Kings, is a well-known band out of Denver that tours 120 days per year over two continents and is a headliner at international festivals. Chris has appeared with the B.B. King, Blues Traveler, The Neville Brothers, Delbert McClinton, Sister Hazel, Sheryl Crow, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Al Kooper, Bonnie Raitt, Ziggy Marley, and The Fixx, to name a few.
River rangers and staff from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will highlight safety with a presentation on the water at noon. The event will include a thorough river safety talk and discuss safety options like the whitewater swim position and how to catch an eddy.
The Montrose Kayak & Surf FUNC-y River Parade takes place at 4:30 p.m., after the cross events and within the WSP, which consists of 1,000 feet of river, making it one of the largest in the state and one of the few in the U.S. accessible by ADA standards. “River parades can be quite entertaining and pretty wacky, depending on how creative people get,” said Ryan. The FUNC-y River Parade is an easy way to advertise a business, shine a spotlight on upcoming event, or cool off during the event. The cost is $5 to register along with a refundable $20 cash deposit.
“The feedback on the first two years of the FUNC Fest from the paddling community was overwhelmingly positive,” said Harvey. “People who hadn’t been to the park were very impressed … the event will go a long way to spread the word about the awesome resource you have.” The OBT collects feedback to make positive adjustments for next year’s event. “If you have an idea or comment, we want to hear it,” said Ryan. Surveys will be available throughout the event and at the main information booth.
Again this year, free Wi-Fi will be available, and the Wine, Dine, Eats & Beer setting, provided by Prestige Event Rentals, will expand to encompass the entire east side of Riverbottom Park for adult beverages.
“Rain or shine, come spend the day in the park,” encouraged Ryan.
All event participants are required to register and wear helmets and personal floatation devices (PFDs). Registration and a complete schedule of events are available at ColoradoFUNCFest.com