By Gwen Clayton
Peter and Paul were two of the most famous apostles from the New Testament, and they both share the same feast day in the Christian church – June 29. That date also happens to be the anniversary of the opening of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Wheat Ridge.
For the past nine years, the parish has celebrated its anniversary with an annual festival that includes a car show, live music, children’s rides, carnival games, vendors and fun for every generation. The 2017 Saints Peter and Paul Parish Festival will run from Friday, June 23 to Sunday, June 25. Doors open at 5 p.m. all three days, and close at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 8 p.m. on Sunday. “The parking lot transforms into a family friendly environment where kids can run around while parents can enjoy the night,” said festival co-chair Zachary Urban.
One of the highlights every year is the car show. “We’re inviting all comers to come out and show off their ride,” Urban said. “We get motorcycles and bicycles – even McLarens. Being in Wheat Ridge, you never know what’s going to show up.”
The musical lineup this year features local bands Struck by Lightning on Friday night, Serenade in Blue on Saturday and Wild Mountain on Sunday. “Struck by Lightning plays classic 1970s rock and roll,” Urban said. “They really draw people in. Serenade in Blue is a 13-piece swing band. They do a good job of creating a relaxed atmosphere while still giving us a big band, classic feel for a Saturday night. Wild Mountain is a great band that has a big local following. They play at Clancy’s and other places around town. It was quite a coup for us to get them.” The Facebook page for Wild Mountain describes the group as having a power folk/rock/Celtic/bluegrass sound that the members have dubbed “Rocky Mountain Greengrass music.”
Admission to the festival is free, but profits raised from the vendor booths, raffle and donations exceed $14,000 each year. Proceeds go toward the parish’s school programs and various outreach efforts such the nursing home and homebound ministries.
According to the church’s website, the four-acre site for Saints Peter and Paul Parish was acquired June 1, 1948. Reverend Robert G. McMahon was appointed the first pastor on June 30, 1949. The parish festival started in 2008 and attracts roughly 3,000 people every year. “The festival is a way for the parish to interface with the community,” Urban said. “The community supports the parish in a number of ways. We wanted to throw a party and have a good time with our neighborhood.”
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church is located at 3900 Pierce St. in Wheat Ridge. For more information, call 303-424-3706 or visit www.peterandpaulcatholic.org.