Carnation Festival Gearing Up For August Event


The countdown is on to one of the most anticipated weekends in Wheat Ridge: The Carnation Festival, now more than 50 years old, is one of the longest-running festivals in Colorado.

Its name comes from the post-World War II period when Wheat Ridge was home to a thriving carnation industry. The last carnation grower in the city phased out their operation in 2008.

Festival director Joe DeMott said preparations for this year’s event are running smoothly.

“That’s one thing with an established festival; the vendors, the bands and everyone are easier targets because you’ve been running for a long time,” he noted.

The festival will be held Friday, Aug. 9, from 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 10, from noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 11, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Anderson Park, 44th Avenue and Field Street. The event perimeter is fenced and admission is free.

The festival has changed and grown over the years but has always been a free, locally driven and family-friendly event. It features a parade, live music from top regional acts on two stages, two fireworks nights, a Kids Zone with carnival rides and a spaghetti dinner with beer and wine. Other events include a pie-baking contest, a fine art show and more.

New to this year’s event is a honey festival.

“There will be lots of educational and fun stuff about bees, beekeeping and honey and should be a big attraction for kids,” DeMott added.

This year’s carnival will also be an “exclusive” to the Carnation Festival.

“Usually, when a carnival comes to a state, they do several events with a small number of rides at each one,” DeMott explained. “We have an exclusive contract, so they’ll have everything here.”

The festival will again feature live daily music, including the Sunday car show.

“That’s something I think is unique,” DeMott said. “I go to a lot of car shows, and you always have a DJ playing the same music, so it’s nice to have live music.”

In 2023, there were around 30,000 attendees over the three-day event, according to DeMott. It has continued to grow a little bit each year, he added.

The festival has long supported many local nonprofits, service clubs, student and senior organizations. All monies generated by the festival go to local entities or help cover the festival’s costs.

The festival is a registered nonprofit with the state of Colorado. It is managed and run by a board of Wheat Ridge volunteers.

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