THE COLORADOANĀ  Written by Carl McCutchen

The fifth anniversary of SummerFest in the Rockies is shaping up to be a milestone.

The event, created and hosted by Engaging Loveland, will ascend on Civic Center Park for three days next week, July 8-10. The event will bring varieties of food, music and fun to an expected 10,000 residents and visitors.

“It really is a great overall event for downtown Loveland,” said Kristine Koschke, executive director of Engaging Loveland.

This year’s SummerFest will kick off Friday night with “Spirits at Sunset after Midnight,” a ticketed event that replaces the traditional wine tasting that used to mark SummerFest’s beginning. Cost of the event is $35 for one person and $50 for a couple and will feature food and drinks from many local venues, including beer from Grimm Brothers Brewhouse and spirits from Dancing Pines Distillery and Sweetheart City Wines.

“Everything is very local,” Koschke said. “We’re taking the beer and the spirits and infusing it into the food and the cupcakes that we’re having.”

On Saturday, the festival will be in full swing as live entertainment, food and vendors will be offered from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. around the park and near the Foote Lagoon.

Live music will grace the stage, with a new band nearly every hour, and a mini-carnival with rides and contests will be open for the city’s youths. The event also will feature an ice sculpture to promote one of Engaging Loveland’s other events, the balloon rally.

“We’re doing an ice sculpture in 100-degree weather,” Koschke said. “It’s in the shape of a balloon, so kids can climb into it and have their picture taken.”

A classic car show and a fly fishing demonstration highlight Saturday’s schedule, with a fireworks show wrapping up the day at 9:15 p.m.

“It’s just a great day full of sun, and there’s a beer and wine garden,” Koschke said.

Sunday will be as jam-packed as Saturday, with events ongoing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including a contemporary worship service in the morning and a sidewalk chalk contest in the afternoon.

“It’s a community event for family,” Kosckhe said, adding that over the three-day span, there’s really something for everyone.

“Very rarely can you just go to a free event, sit in the sun and have live entertainment every hour that changes up from a blues band to a Cajun band to rock ‘n’ roll and to country western,” she said. “I know a lot of the people who come for the music. We’re changing it up a little bit this year with adding spirits and beer, and I see that just becoming a great event.”

Koschke pointed out that if for some reason the festival isn’t quite enough, there are plenty of other things happening near the event that families could go to.

“It is the same weekend as Loveland Loves BBQ and there’s a big magician’s show at the Rialto,” she said. “We’re not four separate events trying to get people to come; we’re all about ‘Come down, ride some rides at SummerFest, listen to music, go eat some BBQ, do some shopping on Fourth Street, go to a magician’s show and come back to SummerFest, go through the vendor booths, get some ice cream and watch the fireworks.’ ”