Carnation Festival Still Excites In Its 54th Year

The Wheat Ridge High School band and flag team march down 38th Avenue on August 12, 2023.

The carnations may be gone, but the festival is as lively as ever. 

Wheat Ridge residents and visitors gathered at Anderson Park from Aug. 11 through 13 to celebrate the City of Wheat Ridge in the annual Carnation Festival. The crowd enjoyed a parade on 38th Avenue, carnival rides, live music and a fireworks show. 

Caressa Robles saw the festival parade banner on 38th Avenue and decided to come from Lakewood with her family to watch the fireworks, she said. Robles enjoyed the classic feel of the fair, which is refreshing in a hyper-modernized world. 

“Now that we’re here, we’re definitely thinking of making this an annual thing for our family,” Robles said. 

The festival started 54 years ago to honor Wheat Ridge’s incorporation as a city on Aug. 15, 1969. At the time, Wheat Ridge was a top producer of carnations, and though carnation production phased out in 2008, the festival honors the city’s history. 

John Bandimere, Jr., grew up in Wheat Ridge and has attended the festival many times. This year was special, though, because the committee selected him to serve as Grand Marshal and be recognized as a distinguished resident. 

“I feel very honored, I’ve been a part of Wheat Ridge all my life, but I had no idea this was coming my way,” Bandimere said. 

Bandimere enjoys coming to the festival every year to reconnect with neighbors and celebrate the community, he said. 

“Today I realized, more than ever, it brings the community together,” Bandimere said. “I think we have so many things that pull us apart today, this just really brings us together more than anything.”  

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