Niwot springs into summer with hot lineup 

By Ross Maak for Longmont Magazine

From trains to bikes, from drinks to dinner, from jazz to rock, if you’re looking for something to do this summer in Niwot, there’s no shortage of options.

Niwot and its local venues are filling up the calendar this summer, including the popular Rock & Rails event every Thursday evening between June 1 and Aug. 31, Dancing Under the Stars every Friday starting June 10, the Niwot Tavern and the Second Avenue Summer Concert Series starting in May or music and trivia at The Wheel House, to name just a few.

Fridays are for dancing

The Niwot Tavern (7960 Niwot Road) has announced its Dancing Under the Stars series, featuring different dance styles Friday nights starting June 10. The event will be held in front of The Tavern with a free dance lesson at 6:30 p.m. and dancing from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Tavern is also gearing up for their first live music event since the Covid pandemic started.

“We are putting on a full production concert in our parking lot, with The Samples headlining,” said Niwot Tavern co-owner Stacy Szydlek. “The event will be Aug. 26 starting at 2 p.m. and go until 9 p.m. with bands playing all day.”

Szydlek and fellow co-owner Tara Shaheen bought Niwot Tavern in January of 2020. Just a few months later everything was shut down due to Covid.

“As a female-owned business, we took over in January 2020, shut down in March 2020 and survived,” Szydlek said. “We love summer at The Tavern because we have a gorgeous patio that faces all the events in town … and most every weekend there is some sort of party going on!”

The Old Oak Coffeehouse puts on a summer show with Music in the Streets. (Courtesy Old Oak Coffeehouse)

Monthly music returns

Once a month from May to September, 2nd Ave. will close from Murray to Franklin Streets for the House Blend Band to perform from 6-9 p.m. 

Spearheaded by Old Oak Coffeehouse owners (and House Blend Band members) Michael Tomich and Patty Machen, performances are scheduled for May 20, June 10, July 15, Aug. 19 and Sept. 9.

According to the coffeehouse website, the eight-piece band performs music from Elton John to Fleetwood Mac to Stevie Wonder. The event is free, organizers recommend you bring your own chair, and while the inside of the coffee shop won’t be open, food and beverage orders will be taken at the door for pick up at the window.

The Wheel House offers up delicious craft cocktails, live music and more. (Courtesy The Wheel House)

Is music and trivia in your Wheel House?

Whether you’re into bikes, live music or Tuesday night trivia contests, The Wheel House (101 2nd Ave.) is ready for you.

The Wheel House also features bike sales, rentals, service, gear and apparel.

At the bar there’s a bar menu along with hand crafted cocktails, beer and wine. The Wheel House even features root beer on tap for children and those looking for a non-boozy alternative. Also, at The Wheel House you’ll find live music most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and even a few Thursdays.

Rock & Rails is a signature Niwot summer event bringing music and dancing into the outdoors. (Courtesy Niwot Business Association)

Off the chain, on the rails

Held every Thursday night at Whistle Stop Park, Rock & Rails is the embodiment of a community event. According to organizers, more than 100 volunteers help make it possible.

While the lineup for this summer’s shows hasn’t been finalized, the June 1 opener has been announced. The Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange Band is set to play everything from classic rock to 90s alternative to Glenn Miller Orchestra tunes to yacht rock. Other headliners this year will include Girls on Top, Face, Last Men on Earth, Twenty Hands High, The Long Run and local legend Hazel Miller.

Each Thursday the opening act will take the stage at 5 p.m. with the headliner slated for 6:30 p.m. 

“Four food trucks are on site each night, and beer, wine and margarita sales from The Depot building, served by a fun group of volunteers, help finance the event,” Rock & Rails co-manager Bruce Warren said.

Rock & Rails also boasts of being a zero-waste event.

“No trash receptacles are provided,” said Warren. “If it’s not recyclable or compostable, patrons are asked to ‘pack it in and pack it out.’”

The organization also puts out several tip jars benefiting local charities. According to Warren, 2022 brought in a combined $25,000 for 23 causes.

“Overall, the event returned $70,000 to the Niwot community last year,” Warren said, adding that net proceeds are divided between the Niwot Cultural Arts Association and the Niwot Business Association.

But wait, there’s more!

As Szydlek said, there’s almost always something happening in Niwot. Here’s a list of more events this summer:

May 20: Round the World Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Niwot businesses “dress up” as different countries, offering music, food and entertainment based on their chosen country.

June 3: Lobsterfest: From 5-8 p.m. at Whistlestop Park, a silent auction will be held with proceeds supporting the Niwot sculpture park. The House Blend Band is scheduled to play. Tickets available on Eventbrite.

June 12: Fundraiser for Scout Troop 161, featuring a trivia night fundraiser from 6-8:30 p.m. at The Wheel House. There will also be a silent auction and food provided by Niwot Market.

June 24: The MS Bike Ride comes through Niwot. Niwot businesses will be offering promotions for spectators, as well as $5 gift certificates and flags to wave.

July 4: Annual pancake breakfast (outside the Niwot Market) and parade. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and the pancake breakfast is free (donations accepted). 

Aug. 1:  National Night Out, featuring giveaways, free hotdogs and a number of police officers and firemen/first responders on hand.

Sept. 7: A fundraiser concert from 5-9 p.m. at Whistlestop Park for the Jared Music Foundation in memory of Jared Lizakowski. The show is free with donations accepted..

Sept. 16: The Niwot Honeybee Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at locations around town. There will be a speaker series, along with music and entertainment.