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By Sally Griffin

The definition of a festival is “a celebration or an occasion for joy, often with a program of cultural events.” A fair is “a public exhibit of culture and particular achievement, often combined with entertainment and sale of products.” Lucky for our area, we have plenty of both. Summer is the best time for joy, celebration and fun. I know I remember how much fun my siblings and I had with carnival rides and games, parades, music, food and special treats. This year, we want to remind you of five festivals or fairs that will take place in our parks and streets.

Carnation Festival

  The Carnation Festival is a celebration of the Wheat Ridge community since the city’s incorporation in 1969. Once named the “Carnation Capital of the World,” Wheat Ridge embraces its heritage through this spectacular event. Celebrating its 48th anniversary in 2017, Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival will be filled with food, music, culture and fun for people of all ages! The main events are held at Anderson Park, 4355 Field St., from Aug. 11 to 13. The parade takes place between Ames and Upham Streets on West 38th Avenue on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon. The parade is preceded at 7 a.m. by a pancake breakfast at the Grange Hall.

Events include:

• An expanded car show with hot rods, imports, exotics and muscle cars

• The Zoppé Circus, one of the few old-fashion, family-run, one-ring touring circus left in the U.S.

• Vendor fair with food, art and specialties for people of all ages

• Music that will make you want to get up and dance, including Country Jam on Friday, Throwback Saturday with a new take on old favorites, and Sunday Cruising and Classic Rock

• Fireworks on Friday and Saturday night at 9:15 p.m. at the baseball field

• The Annual Art League Member show will give you a chance to view and purchase fine art works from local artists

• Wheat Ridge students will demonstrate their handiwork in the Student Garden Art Bench Auction. You can bid in a silent auction for these one-of-a-kind benches.

Festival admission is free, but the circus admission is $20 general, $25 VIP and children under two are free. The Spaghetti Dinner, presented by the fire department, is served from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for kids under 12. The Chili Cook-off will be on Aug. 12 with a $5 suggested donation for public tasting. The Beer Garden will provide water and soft drinks for $1, craft beers and wine $6, and  Bud and Bud Light available for $5.

Jeffco Fair & Festival

There is fun coming at the Jeffco Fair & Festival, happening Aug. 10 through 13 at Jeffco Fairgrounds. Attendees are treated to interactive, engaging and traditional fun with a focus on locality to ensure there is something for everyone. Lasting four days, it is Jeffco’s biggest celebration of the summer. The Fair and Festival combines the entertainment and activities of a festival while using a fair approach to support and showcase 4-H, youth programs, equine, livestock and agricultural elements that have long been a part of Jefferson County.

Events are numerous at the Fair and Festival, and select highlights include:

• 4-H members Horse Show and Trail Classes and Gymkhana

• 4-H animal viewing, project viewing and Rabbit Hopping and Bunny Costume Contest;

• Kids Science Safari, a fully interactive children’s museum and Kids Discovery Day, that features additional activities and entertainment for the younger children

• Outdoor Adventure Zone to get a taste of the active, enriching outdoor adventure we have in Jeffco

• Petting Farm and Pony Rides

• Professor Newton Science Show with some of the most incredible, interactive science experiments you’ve ever seen

• Reptile Adventures to learn about reptiles and the important role they play in nature;

• Milestone Seven VIP Wrestling Event and Pro Wrestling Event

• Gladius the Show, featuring high-flying aerial stunts from horses

• CPRA Rodeo and Ranch Rodeo

• Inventor Faire, showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness;

• Meet SURLY from the movie, “Nut Job 2”

• Pie Eating Contest, presented by 4-H members and open to everyone

• Mutton Bustin’ for children 4 to 7 and under 60 pounds who will ride sheep out a chute and into the arena and

• Music events

The cost is $5 for ages 13 and up, kids under 12 are free. The Gladius Show, both wrestling events, the CPRA Rodeo and the Ranch Rodeo all have additional costs ranging from $7 to $30. Most tickets to these events include same-day general admission for the Fair and Festival. These tickets can be bought now at www.celebratejeffco.com/.

Blues & BBQ for Better Housing Festival

The 20th Annual Blues & BBQ for Better Housing Festival is coming up! On July 29, people from throughout the Denver metro area will gather at Citizens Park in Edgewater to enjoy the best local music, craft beer and local food and to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. This fundraiser has donated over $172,000 towards building homes for families in need. With nine awesome local bands, local restaurants and local breweries, the festival builds community through music! The event goes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is available in the old King Soopers parking lot at West 20th Avenue and Depew Street. General Admission is $10 for adults, kids 12 and under are free. Tickets do not include food, that must be paid to the individual food vendors.

The band line-up is: Cup A Joe, 11 to 11:45 a.m.; Wild Love Tigress, noon to 12:45 p.m.; Funk Knuf, 1 to 1:45 p.m.; Stacey T and the Big Difference, 2 to 2:45 p.m.; The Symbols, 3 to 3:45 p.m.; My Blue Sky, 4 to 4:45 p.m.; Six Foot Joe and the Red Hot Rhinos, 5 to 5:45 p.m.; The Duke Street Kings, 6 to 6:45 p.m.; and The Austin Young Band, 7 to 8 p.m.

Breweries include Edgewater’s Joyride Brewing, Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Company, Arvada’s Odyssey Beerwerks, Lakewood’s Denver Brewing Company, and Lakewood’s Westfax Brewing.

West Colfax MuralFest

The third annual West Colfax MuralFest will be Saturday, Aug. 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is held in the heart of 40 West Arts District at Lamar Station Plaza, 6501 W. Colfax Ave., in Lakewood. This plaza is home to two art galleries, an award-winning brewery, and Casa Bonita, where weekend visitors to this nationally known restaurant run in the thousands. This free arts festival features juried artists who create an outdoor gallery of murals. These are then celebrated in a one-day festival with art, music, food and creative activities, including:

• Music by Legitimate By Friday, Land Lines, and Jolly Green Love Machine

• Trolley mural tour to view murals outside of the immediate festival area

• Interactive Kids Tent with street art station, mini-mural, and takeaway printing

• Food Trucks, with Burgerchef, Deer Creek Pizza, Steady Smoking BBQ, WonWeyVeg, Rocky Mountain Snowflakes and Tacos El Huequito

• Beer Garden with WestFax Brewing and

• 12 exhibits, including, among others, sculpture, games, jewelry, leather goods and wood and metal fabrication

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) celebrates the culture, contributions and accomplishments of Colorado’s Asian Pacific American communities. Dragon boat racing was a unique competitive sport to host here. Now, it is the largest dragon boat festival in the country. CDBF features more than 20 food vendors in two Taste of Asia Food Courts, a huge Asian Marketplace of gifts, artisans and organizations, a Wellness Village where health is the focus, Dragonland interactive children’s area, and over 100 performances on five stages that feature traditional Asian to contemporary Asian American culture. You can enjoy Chinese fan dances, watch authentic martial arts demonstrations, rock out at the Band Stage or the Cultural Unity hip-hop stage!

This year’s festival will have, as usual, free admission. Events happen on July 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and July 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and include:

• The Opening Ceremony starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, featuring Chinese Buddhist monks chanting and blessing the festival and competitors, followed by a beautiful, spiritual, traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony with invited dignitaries to awaken the spirit of the dragons within the race boats;

• The dragon boat competition, an ancient sport with origins in China more than 2,000 years ago, that dozens of teams look forward to every year;

• The Colorado Anime Fest, bringing classic and new anime favorites to CDBF since 2015;

• The CDBF Marketplace, a dream bazaar with merchants from every corner of Asia and the Pacific;

• The opportunity to eat your way across Asia and the Pacific Islands, bite by bite, without leaving Denver, at two food courts; and

• Five Performing Arts Stages showcasing both traditional and contemporary Asian-American talent from within the community.