Carnation Festival Returns With Fun For The Whole Family

Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker
Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker

The Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival has been a beloved summer tradition for more than 50 years. It was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but we are happy to see it back with all the usual fun and more this year, running from Friday, Aug. 13, to Sunday, Aug. 15.

The Carnation Festival is a free community event celebrating the unique character and history of Wheat Ridge, which was once known as the Carnation Capital of the U.S. When Wheat Ridge was well known for its many greenhouses and carnation growers, an arrangement of the flowers was delivered every week to the White House in Washington. One of the oldest and longest running festivals in the state of Colorado, the 2021 event will take place at Anderson Park at 4355 Field Street.

Although the festival starts on Friday, one of the highlights of the weekend is the hometown parade that heads west on 38th Avenue from Chase Street, starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. That will be led by The Wheat Ridge Police Honor Guard and Chief Murtha, Carnation Festival Royalty, myself, Wheat Ridge City Council, the city clerk and treasurer, and city staff. This year the city’s parade entry will be a celebration of Wheat Ridge having been selected as an All-America City by the National Civic League. Community members who participated in the city’s final winning presentation will walk with city officials and staff.

This year’s Royalty includes Countess Suzanne Smith, owner of Food for Thought and life-long Wheat Ridge Resident; Count Roy Hurley, who has worked at SCL Lutheran Medical Center for 45 years; and Grand Marshal Jeff Hurlburt, Wheat Ridge High School alumnus and owner of Clancy’s Irish Pub since 2010. Please join me in congratulating all of them.

The Carnation Festival will be re-energized this year with even more fun for attendees, including the Carnation Mile race and fun run on Saturday benefiting the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. This mile-long, interval-start race features multiple waves of runners starting at 8 a.m. The Carnation Mile finishes with a community fun run down the 38th Avenue parade route prior to the 9:30 a.m. parade. For details visit

The festival offers fun for the whole family including professional fireworks Friday and Saturday nights. Live music from more than a dozen musical acts including fan favorites Hazel Miller, Austin Young Band, The Trampolines, Buckstein, KISSm, That Eighties Band and more! The classic car show Big Wheels on the Farm is back on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors, art, food, beer and wine, kids’ activities and the carnival round out the weekend event.

I hope you are as excited about this year’s events as Mary and I are, and we look forward to seeing you Aug. 13-15. Carnation Festival organizers are still looking for volunteers and sponsors.

More information about the weekend’s events can be found at Contact Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker at 303-235-2800 or

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