By J. Patrick O’Leary
Alarger chalk art exhibition and cottage foods showcase are new to this year’s RidgeFest, Saturday, Sept. 8 from 3 to 9 p.m., on The Green, 7101 W. 38th Ave., in the heart of the Ridge at 38 district. RidgeFest is a free family-friendly event highlighting the agricultural heritage and handmade/homemade appeal of Ridge at 38 and the entire Wheat Ridge community, presented by Localworks.
The cottage food showcase replaces the contests of previous years, explained Ashley Holland, Localworks’ Marketing and Events Coordinator. The four categories – pickled vegetables, candies, pies and jams/jellies – allow for a greater diversity of entries, from people who may shy away from competition.
“Folks just want to show off their favorite apple pie recipes,” said Holland. “We didn’t want to scare them away,” if they did not want to compete with their neighbors.
Showcase entrants need to register online – space is limited – and create enough for 60 to 70 samples, and be available on event day to answer questions about the recipe and techniques. The public just needs to enjoy, through 6 p.m.
In addition to the showcase, the event features a return of the Chalk Art Festival – which was inaugurated last year – four bluegrass bands, a classic car show, an international heritage festival, vendors, food trucks, local beer and wine, and lots of kids’ activities.
“As Chair of the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission we are very excited to be hosting the Chalk Fest again this year during RidgeFest,” said Diane Robb. “With the wonderful leadership of Olivia [McLeod], we can be assured that it will be bigger than last year – and I can’t imagine how it could be better!”
Wheat Ridge resident Olivia McLeod, a long-time artist in the Denver Chalk Art Festival, inaugurated the Chalk Fest last year. She and her family have been working to bring in more artists to this year’s festival with the support of the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission.
Although RidgeFest doesn’t start until 3 p.m., and the chalk art ready for viewing after 6 p.m., the public is free to watch the chalk artists from when they set up and begin.
“The artists come out early in the morning and begin on their part of sidewalks,” said Holland. “People were definitely there last year, early, checking it out. But between 3 and 6 you really see it come together.”
Bluegrass music will be performed by local bands throughout the festival.
Heartstring Hunters will kick off the concerts at 3 p.m. Flatt Five is the second act at 4:15 p.m., and Thunder and Rain will follow at 5:30 p.m. This year’s headliner, Oakhurst, will take the stage at 7:15 p.m.
“We try to bring back bands that are really well received from years past,” said Holland. “All are from Colorado, one from Boulder. I believe one of the members of the Flat Five is from Wheat Ridge.”
While the music plays, dance and entertainment from cultures around the world can be seen on a second stage from 3 until 5:30 p.m., part of the International Heritage Festival, organized by the Colorado Folk Arts Council.
Free kids’ crafts – sponsored by Teller Street Galleries and Studios – facepainting and field-day games take place until 6 p.m.
The Artisan Market takes place from 3 to 7 p.m., showcasing hand-crafted goods, local products and community groups. About two dozen vendors are expected, including local artists, jewelry makers and candlemakers.
Libations will be offered by Colorado Plus Brewery (both beer and cider), Brewery Rickoli, WestFax Brewing Company, and Bonacquisti Wine Company, and food from a variety of food trucks, until 9 p.m.
The Stevens Elementary School parking lot will be used by the car show and food trucks, so parking will be available on the street and in surrounding neighborhoods. For those who cycle in, bike corrals will be set up in a couple of spots, said Holland.
Ridge at 38 is Wheat Ridge’s central commercial district, located on West 38th Avenue between Sheridan and Wadsworth Boulevards. It hosts a variety of events designed to foster a close relationship between the merchants and the community.
Localworks is a community-based, non-profit development corporation advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community. Both community and economic development work is done through activities and investments affecting the housing, businesses, policies and identity of the City of Wheat Ridge.
For a full schedule of RidgeFest events, visit Ridgeat38.com.