KUSA - Summer is officially winding to a close, and that means it's time to officially savor all of those festivals and outdoor concerts before they fade into the cold (and random 70 degree days) of winter
From seeing Pat Benatar at NewFestFest to celebrating the "Carnation Capital of the World", it's the perfect time to enjoy the dog days of summer... and even participate in a race that's more reminiscent of a Japanese game show than the average 5K.
Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival –Aug. 15 – 16 – Anderson Park, Wheat Ridge http://bit.ly/1zE1r83
Fun fact: Wheat Ridge is known as the "Carnation Capital of the World." Why, you ask? Well, during the 1960s, the city boasted 32 different carnation growers and sent a bouquet to the White House every Monday morning. Now in its 45th year, the festival features more than just carnations, with elements including a street fair, beer garden (because, priorities), exotic car show, the Zoppe Italian Family Circus and, yes, a carnation parade. Every night ends with some of the best fireworks in the area.
Last weekend of Western Welcome Week – Aug. 15-17 – Downtown Littleton http://bit.ly/1sZiSfz
Take part in a summer tradition in one of Colorado's best historic downtowns. On Friday, be sure to check out the 12th annual Community Quilt Show and Littleton Jazz Festival, grab a quick sandwich at the aptly named Grand Western Sandwich Breakfast on Saturday morning, and then catch community groups and high school marching bands brave the heat in the 86th Western Welcome Week Grand Parade. End the night by watching "Perils on the Platte," since there's no better way to spend a Saturday night than watching a melodrama.
Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest – Aug. 15-17 – Old Town Fort Collins http://bit.ly/1oRwEBt
This weekend, scenic Old Town Fort Collins will become alive with the sound of music, with free concerts from local favorites like Fierce Bad Rabbit and You, Me and Apollo, as well as national acts like Pat Benatar (who will remind you that, like many things, love is a battlefield) and Big Head Todd and the Monsters (who sing a lot of songs that you probably know, but can't think of right now). Also present will be hundreds of booths featuring local artists and businesses, the chance to indulge in the amazing northern Colorado craft beer scene and opportunity to watch CSU students blow off steam before the official start of classes.
Rocky Mountain Folk Festival – Aug. 15 – 17 – Planet Bluegrass, Lyons http://bit.ly/1rMRLXJ
It's hard to pin down what makes the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival so great. Part of it is the music of dozens of fantastic local and national acts, sure, but there's also the fact that the St. Vrain is just steps away, the setting sun seems to cast the surrounding foothills in a perfect glow once the headliners take the stage and the whole experience is just so mellow that it's hard not to relax and settle into the whole chill mountain vibe (there's also a food truck that sells really, really good dumplings and an ample amount of beer). Tickets are sold out for Saturday, but still available for Friday and Sunday (there are also plenty available on Craigslist and the festival message board for Saturday).
Hit and Run 5K – Aug. 16 – Dicks Sporting Goods Park http://bit.ly/1o4KE6a
Let's be real: there are 5Ks all the time (and they generally support great causes). This 5K stands out though, given that it's more than simply the average run, that is, unless your average run feels like a Japanese game show. Duck, dive, slip and trip through a course that includes inflatables, dodging an onslaught of gym balls (which could potentially bring back repressed middle school memories), water obstacles, a worm-like feature and more. Registration runs for $40.
Chive Fest – Aug. 16 – City Park, Denver http://bit.ly/1sYZ3VH
Life has few guarantees, but one of them is that you will probably see multiple people wearing "Keep Calm, Chive On" T-shirts at City Park on Saturday. Other things you will probably see are Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, the Cold War Kids, Steel Panther, Talib Kweli and others. In addition to music, there will also be nourishment available at the Chive Food Court (which presumably has food other than chives), an official Chive Merchandise Tent (so you can blend in with the crowd and buy a "Keep Calm, Chive On" t-shirt), a nostalgia tent, multiple bars and free water stations and cooling areas. General admission tickets are $70. COULD YOU REFERENCE THE CHIVE FEST STORY WE DID?
Winter Park Chili Championships – Aug. 16-17 – The Villagehttp://bit.ly/Y9e65J
When you think of the word "chili," you may picture Chilli, one of the members of the iconic girl group TLC. You might also picture the magical food that involves chili peppers, beans and perhaps some form of meat. And it's this version of chili that will take center stage this weekend at Winter Park, where some of the state's best purveyors of red and green chili, as well as salsa, will compete for the adoration of the people, culinary greatness and, perhaps most importantly, the chance to go to the Chili World Championships in Las Vegas. Proceeds from the event benefit the Winter Park Ski Education Foundation – Spencer Nelson Memorial Fund.
Art in the Park – Aug. 16-17 – O'Brien Park, Parker http://bit.ly/1l73OO0
Art is cool, but it's even cooler amid the quaint backdrop of Parker, Colo. Check out work from artists representing a variety of forms, including painting, drawing, pastels, pottery, jewelry, photography, wood working, glass and sculptures, as well as live music in the gazebos. Bring the youngsters, since this family-friend event has a face painting booth and art station, where kids can rock out their own painted rock art projects. The show is sponsored by the Parker Artists Guild, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting area artists, and admission is free.
Climb the Incline – Aug. 15-17 – Manitou Springs http://on9news.tv/VpMpTZ
There are a lot of rites of passage involved with becoming a true Coloradan, from standing on the majestic summit of a 14er to eating a Rocky Mountain Oyster. There's one, however, that's perhaps more painful and possibly masochistic than all the others: dragging yourself up the Manitou Springs Incline. And if you want to do it before summer ends, this weekend's your last chance. The famous trail – which reaches a lung-burning 68 percent grade at its steepest point – is closing for four months on Monday. The Incline's 2,741 leg-burning steps gain 2,000 feet in a one-mile ascent. The average grade is a 43 percent – which is significantly steeper than the maximum grade on a treadmill at the gym.
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If you aren't keen on driving to the events, here are some alternative-transportation suggestions:
Taxi - Call 303-333-3333, 303-444-4444 or 303-777-7777. For Uber, text an address and city to 827-222.
Light Rail - Visithttp://www.rtd-denver.com/lightrail.shtmlto plot your route
Bus - Visit http://www.rtd-denver.com/ to plot your route