Annual Carnation Festival set to bloom

Wheat Ridge hoping for record 30,000 participants

Staff report
Posted 7/20/16

The City of Wheat Ridge expects to draw record crowds to this year’s Carnation Festival, thanks to the addition of an art and crafts fair and an upgraded fireworks show.

The annual festival will run Aug. 12-14at Wheat Ridge’s Anderson Park. …

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Annual Carnation Festival set to bloom

Wheat Ridge hoping for record 30,000 participants

Posted

The City of Wheat Ridge expects to draw record crowds to this year’s Carnation Festival, thanks to the addition of an art and crafts fair and an upgraded fireworks show.

The annual festival will run Aug. 12-14at Wheat Ridge’s Anderson Park. This year’s festival will also include a student art show, a country music jam and the Zoppe Italian Family Circus, which returns this year with an entirely new show.

“We’re excited to be able to add sought-after attractions that we know will resonate with visitors and provide them with new reasons to come back to the festival,” said Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay. “With its rich history, it’s great to see the Carnation Festival grow and continue to serve as an important tradition for the community.”

Wheat Ridge is one of only three cities nationally this year to host the Jackalope Art & Craft Fair, a showcase for more than 150 juried artisans and crafters. The fair will feature a variety of handcrafted items, including ceramics, paper goods, home décor, art, jewelry, photography and one-of-a-kind accessories. Festival attendees can shop for goods and interact with artisans from 4-11 p.m. on Aug. 12 and from noon to 11 p.m. on Aug. 13.

Students from Wheat Ridge schools will also get the chance to highlight their arts and crafts skills. In addition to a student art show, the festival will include an auction featuring wooden picnic tables painted by the art departments of Wheat Ridge schools. Funds raised from the auction will support art programs at local schools.

For younger festival-goers, the Zoppe’ Italian Family Circus is also expected to serve as a big draw, with a new show, “Ricominciare,” featuring a new equestrian act, a new ringmaster from Italy and a classic flying trapeze act. Pint-sized patrons will also enjoy an expanded carnival section with an increased number of rides and a larger, upgraded fireworks show, presented at 9:15 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights.

The festival will also offer plenty of fun for adult attendees, including one of the state’s largest beer and wine gardens and a Country Music Jam, featuring local Honkey-Tonk, classic country and pop country bands on Friday night.

The festival also features a range of other attractions and activities, including:

• A neighborhood pancake breakfast and parade on 38th Avenue on Saturday morning

• The Automezzi XXVI Italian Exotic Car Show

• A Chili cook-off

• The Wheat Ridge Art League Membership Show

• Throwback Saturday with Chris Daniels & The Kings and featuring Freddi Gowdy and Sheryl Renee performing fresh takes on old classics.

The festival pays tribute to Wheat Ridge’s history as the world’s carnation capital. During the 1960s, the city boasted 32 different carnation growers and sent a bouquet to the White House every Monday morning, which was displayed in the front foyer with a card stating: “With compliments to our nation’s capital, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, Carnation City.

The Carnation Festival was created when Wheat Ridge was founded in 1969 to celebrate and honor the carnation industry’s accomplishments.

The festival raises money for a variety of causes, including scholarships for Wheat Ridge High School students and funding for the school’s STEM program and cheerleader and pom squads. The Automezzi show, which is slated for Aug. 14, benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The Wheat Ridge Rotary and Optimists service clubs also receive proceeds from the festival’s bar sales.

With limited parking available on site, visitors are encouraged to use the free shuttle service available until 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday to and from four stops along 44th Avenue. To view the shuttle stops, visit www.wheatridgecarnationfestival.org/schedule.pdf.

Free bicycle parking is also available in the on-site parking lot.

For more information about the festival and a full schedule of festival hours and activities, visit www.thecarnationfestival.com.

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