Glen Eyrie to host Patriots’ Festival, timed for decade after 9/11 attack

       On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, bicyclists on city streets and attendees at Glen Eyrie, 3820 N. 30th St., will “celebrate the people who protect our freedoms every day,” according to Torie Giffin, one of its planners.
       The Patriots' Festival and Ride for Heroes will be Saturday, Sept. 10.
       Starting at 8 a.m., the non-competive Ride for Heroes (for which there is a registration fee) will follow routes of 14 or 28 miles, with prizes for the most patriotic apparel, Giffin said.
       The free Glen Eyrie activities will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. These will include live music by Mango Fandjango and Jamaican Eclipse; safety demonstrations; a patriotic ceremony; food vendors; a “kid zone” with a climbing wall, obstacle course and inflatable fire slide; the Peterson Field K-9 unit; and displays of police, fire and military vehicles.
       The event's main sponsor is Chick-fil-A, which will be donating a percentage of sales at all five of its Colorado Springs restaurants that day to the local Firefighters Foundation and Peace Officers Memorial and to the military charity, The Home Front Cares.
       A portion of the proceeds from bike ride registrations will also go to those charities, said Giffin, the Chick-fil-A marketing director and lead organizer of the Patriots Festival.
       It's the event's second year. The first annual was at Colorado Technical University, but the hope is to increase attendance this year. For instance, there were about 400 cyclists in 2010; this year, Giffin is aiming for 1,000. “We're hoping to give a much bigger portion to the charities this year,” she said.
       Originally developed as the home of Colorado Springs founder William Palmer, Glen Eyrie is owned by the Navigators, a nonprofit Christian organization which typically keeps a low profile. However, John Walters, the Glen's senior account executive, said that in the past year he has “established a relationship” with the operators of the Chick-fil-A on Garden of the Gods Road, and Glen Eyrie got involved with the Patriots' Festival as a result. “We're just excited to be part of it,” he said, pointing out that the Navigators already work with chaplains at military bases, so “it's part of our ministry and a way of showing that we appreciate them [the military]. And with the fire and police there, it's like icing on the cake. It's a unique opportunity for us to work with people who do what we aren't able to do every day.”
       The festival activities at Glen Eyrie will chiefly take place on the large Sports Green. Some other Glen Eyrie locales will also be available (including the carriage house, book store and coffee shop), but no tours of the mansion or property will be offered that day, Walters explained.
       Because of limited parking at the property, festival attendees will be directed to the Verizon parking lot at 30th and Garden of the Gods Road, with free shuttle buses bringing people back and forth.
       Until June 30, the cost to register for the Ride for Heroes will be $20, then it's $25 through Aug. 31 and $40 through Sept. 10.
       The festival will also offer a one-mile Kids Ride around Glen Eyrie. There is no charge, but advance registration is necessary. To sign up for the rides, go to patriotsfestival.com or call Chick-fil-A at 650-5114.
       The following is taken from the Patriots Festival website: “September 11, 2001 is not a date we will ever forget! Many men and women lost their lives trying to rescue the innocent victims of the terrorist attack on America. Police, fire and our military men and women put their lives on the line everyday to protect us. They are our HEROES, and this event is a tribute to them. Who's your hometown hero? This is a great time to show them how much they mean to you.”

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