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. It is that time of year that is the best time for joy, celebration, and fun. I remember how much fun my siblings and I had with carnival rides and games, parades, music, food, and special treats when we were growing up in this area.
This year, we want to remind you of several festivals or fairs that will take place in our parks and streets.
The Carnation Festival is a celebration of the Wheat Ridge community since the city’s incorporation in 1969. Once designated as Carnation City, Wheat Ridge embraces its heritage through this wonderful event. Celebrating its 49th annual festival in 2018, Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival is one of the longest running festivals in Colorado. It has a reputation that attracts people from all over the state.
The Festival will be filled with food, music, culture and fun for people of all ages! The events are held at Anderson Park, located at 4355 Field St., Aug. 10 through 12. 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.
- On Sunday, a car show will be in the middle of things and will include the 1957 Chevy originally bought by the grandfather of Festival Chairman, Joe DeMott;
- The Zoppe Circus, a favorite among Festival participants, is one of the few old-fashion, family-run, classic one-ring touring circus left in the United States;
- The Vendor fair will have food, art and specialties for people of all ages;
- Music events will include a KISS tribute band among 11 other bands representing sounds from “turbo-charged” Celtic music to Blues Brothers Chicago-type blues;
- Fireworks will be held on Friday and Saturday night at 9:15 p.m. at the baseball field; and
- The Annual Art League Member show will give you a chance to view and purchase fine art works from over two dozen local artists.
The parade theme this year is “Deep Roots.” The Parade Committee is calling local artists to submit an original design that embodies the history of Wheat Ridge. These will be put on commemorative plates that will be given to parade winners.
Festival admission is free, but the circus admission is $18 general, $23 for VIP seats and children under two are free.
The Spaghetti Dinner is served in its own tent from 4 to 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday; cost is $8 for adults, $5 for kids under 12.
The Chili Cookoff will be on Aug. 11 with a $5 suggested donation for public tasting.
The Beer Garden and Food Court will be open Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival
For the 18th year, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) celebrates the culture, contributions, and accomplishments of Colorado’s Asian Pacific American communities. Dragon boat racing is an ancient sport, with its origins in China over 2,000 years ago. It was a unique competitive sport to be hosted here 18 years ago. Now, it is the largest dragon boat festival in the country with 52 teams competing. The number of teams has steadily increased every year from the original 16 teams.
The festival features more than 20 food vendors in two Taste of Asia Food Courts, a huge Asian Marketplace of gifts, artisans and organizations, Dragonland interactive children’s area, and five stages that feature traditional Asian to contemporary Asian American culture. The Gateway to Asia provides quieter dances or musical sets, as well as demonstrations ranging from Japanese flower arranging to Chinese calligraphy to Thai fruit carving.
This year’s festival will have, as usual, free admission. Events happen on July 28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and July 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features the following activities:
- The Opening Ceremony starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 29, with a cultural spectacle, featuring Chinese Buddhist monks chanting and blessing the festival and all the competitors, then performing a beautiful, spiritual, traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony with invited dignitaries to awaken the spirit of the dragons within the race boats.
- At 10 a.m. on Sunday, there will be a Japanese Obon Dance at the Main Stage. As usual, the public will be invited to join in the fun.
- The Colorado Dragon Boat race is a unique summertime competition that over 50 teams now look forward to every year.
- This year, Noble Energy will sponsor a scavenger hunt to help celebrate the diverse Asian communities in the Denver metro area.
- Since 2015, CDBF has partnered with Colorado Anime Fest, to bring classic and new anime favorites to the festival.
- On both Saturday and Sunday, there will be Spicy Ramen Eating contests, where you can compete against other festival attendees to see who can finish a bowl of spicy ramen.
- Shopping in the CDBF Marketplace every year is like shopping at a dream bazaar with merchants from every corner of Asia and the Pacific.
- One of the ongoing highlights of each year’s Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has been the opportunity to eat your way across Asia and the Pacific Islands — bite by bite, and without leaving Denver.
- The festival’s five Performing Arts Stages showcase both traditional Asian and contemporary Asian American talent from within our communities.
Colorado Scottish Festival
The St. Andrew Society of Colorado will hold its 55th annual Colorado Scottish Festival in Edgewater’s Citizens Park (on Benton Street between 22nd and 24th avenues), Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5. The event returns to the Denver metro area this year; the 2017 festival was held in Snowmass Village. (It’s not to be confused with the Celtic Harvest Festival, which was cancelled in 2017 after a seven-year run in Edgewater.)
The Society promises to provide all the classic elements of a world class Scottish Festival and Highland Games: Scottish heavy athletics caber tossing (the “telephone pole” event), Scottish Highland dancers, Scottish country dancing, the pipe bands from around the state, whisky tastings, Clan Village, Colorado’s own Renaissance Scots, living history, Scottish food, British Dogs, British Cars and Parade of Clans.
For more information, visit www.scottishgames.org, Facebook at ColoradoScottishFestival or Twitter at @ColoradoNessie.
Jeffco Fair & Festival
There is fun coming at the Jeffco Fair & Festival, happening Aug. 10 through 12 at Jeffco Fairgrounds. Lasting three 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, so only major activities are listed below:
- 4-H members Horse Show and Trail Classes and Fashion Review;
- 4-H animal viewing for swine, rabbits, sheep, goats, poultry, steers, horses, dogs, llamas and alpacas;
- All About Science, the perfect blend of education and entertainment, featuring audience participation and a bunch of surprises;
- Petting Farm, Pony rides, Barrel Train, and Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull;
- Milestone Eight-VIP Wrestling Event and Lucha Libre Pro Wrestling Event;
- CPRA Rodeo, Ranch Rodeo and Cowboy Church;
- Inventor Fair, Red Rocks Community College’s interactive science exhibits, 3D printing, Robotic Escape Maze, and Kids Wind Tunnel Design Challenge;
- Pie Eating Contest presented by 4-H members and open to everyone;
- Mutton Bustin’ for children ages 4-7 and under 60 pounds who will ride sheep out a chute and into the arena;
- Canine Stars- Stunt Dog Shows;
- Daily Flag Retreat Ceremonies;
- Home Brewing Competition;
- Music events;
- Carnival games and rides.
The cost is $5 for those ages 13 and up, kids under 12 are free. Both wrestling events, the CPRA Rodeo and the Ranch Rodeo all have additional costs. Most tickets to these events include same-day general admission for the Fair and Festival. Carnival rides, one-day wristbands will be available for $30. These tickets can be bought soon at www.celebratejeffco.com/.
West Colfax MuralFest
The fourth annual West Colfax MuralFest will be on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., held in the heart of 40 West Arts District at Lamar Station Plaza, 6501 W. Colfax Ave. The plaza is home to two art galleries, an award-winning brewery and Casa Bonita. 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 Pandas and People, Graham Good and the Painters, Maya Bennett, plus an additional band TBD.
- Interactive Kids Tent with street art station, mini-mural, and take-away printing
- Food Trucks, with Burgerchef, Deer Creek Pizza, Steady Smoking BBQ, WongWeyVeg, Rocky Mountain Snowflakes and Tacos El Huequito.
- Beer Garden
- Art exhibits.
Blues & BBQ
The 20th Annual Blues & BBQ is back. On July 21, 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. 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, July 21. 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, which is purchased from individual food vendors.
The band line up includes The Symbols, The Dale Cisek Band, Teledonna, My Blue Sky, Wild Love Tigress, Ryan Chrys and the Roughcuts, Ricky Earle Band featuring Cherise, Eef and the Blues Express, and The Duke Street Kings.
Jamming on the Jetty
Jamming on the Jetty will again offer up live music on the Sloan’s Lake jetty to benefit local charities, Saturday, July 7, starting at 3 p.m. It’s the fourth incarnation of the festival, which began three years ago.
This year’s bands will be Sloan’s Lake neighborhood favorite Dyrty Byrds and Coal Town Reunion, according to Mayo Schiavone, who is helping to organize the event. The emcee will be Brad Laurvick of Highlands United Methodist Church, with special guests Denver councilmen Rafael Espinoza and Paul Lopez.
“Last year we had over 500 local attendees and this year the goal is 750 plus,” said Schiavone. New this year are vendors selling merchandise, food and drink.
Geared toward all ages, there will be water sports, games for children and free giveaways.
Attendees are invited to bring a picnic basket, umbrellas andblankets.
Bienvenidos Food Bank is the beneficiary of this year’s event, receiving all proceeds raised by sponsorships.
Performances In The Park
Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. Make it a picnic. Wheat Ridge provides free outdoor, concerts and performances on Wednesdays for the whole summer. These events are very family friendly. Come to Anderson Park, at 4355 Field St., for Children’s Shows at 10 a.m. Then bring back the whole family at 6:30 p.m. for the free concerts, featuring:
- June 20, Magic Rob Ryan, followed by Chrys & the Rough Cuts;
- June 27, Eric West, Music Phat Daddy;
- July 4, Bradley Weaver, Papa Juke Band;
- July 11, Beth Epley, Rheinlanders;
- July 18, Kusogea Nobe Drum Ensemble, Chico’s Malos Salsa Band;
- July 25, Puppets & Things on Strings, Michael Friedman Band; and
- Aug 1, Ann Lincoln, Magic Hot Tomatoes