Three events will shut down the heart of downtown Colorado Springs this week as the city celebrates race cars, cowboys and motorcycles.
On Wednesday from 5:30-9 a.m. people will flood Tejon Street for the Western Street Breakfast, Friday will see The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb fan fest take over downtown, and Sunday, the Tejon Street Bike Fest 2017 gets underway. This week promises to be a busy time for residents and businesses alike.
The annual Western Street Breakfast draws more than 10,000 people downtown for eggs, pancakes and other breakfast favorites. The event serves as a send off for Pikes Peak Range Riders as they embark on a five-day journey in support of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.
Entering its 16th year of operation, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest draws 35,000 people spanning seven blocks of Tejon street in celebration of the 95th annual Race to the Clouds which takes place on Pikes Peak. The event runs on Friday, 5-10 p.m. Fans will get to see top qualifiers, watch Freestyle Motocross, grab some grub from food trucks and participate in the Firefighter Chili Cook Off.
The wild week ends with the 17th annual Tejon Street Bike Fest on Sunday. The event features food, vendors, a bikini contest and live music all day.
Businesses are preparing for the rush.
Alex Laszar is the owner of Podiatryst Shoe Salon just north of Kiowa Street downtown. His shop focuses on unusual fashion, particularly shoes, including goth, steampunk, pinup and burlesque styles. Laszar has seen a big increase in sales since moving downtown from Old Colorado City some 18 months ago. He estimates a 50 percent increase in sales and profits.
Laszar looks forward to events like these bringing more people to his shop even if he doesn't make an immediate sale.
"I just like increased foot traffic because, even if people are attending events, they may not buy anything during that event, but then they see that I'm here and come back later," he said.
For Anna Duerst, store manager at Tejon Street's Tailored West fashion boutique, the extra business will come this Wednesday from the Western Street Breakfast.
"We expect that, for our business, the western breakfast will be a good hit," Duerst said. "Just because we have that vintage western flair to our boutique."
The plan for Duerst and her crew at Tailored West is to have more items available that potential shoppers will be interested in. Also Tailored West will put two or three additional employees on staff to handle the increased traffic.
Despite the presence of local food and food trucks, the Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels shop on Tejon and Kiowa expects to bustle with business through the events. At least that's what assistant manager Laura Thran believes.
"Even though it can increase business by quite a bit, we only schedule one extra body," she said. "The bike fest typically just gives us something to look at when we're on our break other than that it's business as usual and we're happy to help everyone."
Thran said that the increase only requires one extra person on shift and perhaps the cleaning the occasional pool of vomit when people have a little too much fun.