Summer festivals: Seven outdoor events in Colorado to check out (or avoid)

Categories: Travel

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Guy Morissette
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, which kicks off the summer festival season. From sweaty outdoor concerts to snooty art crawls, here are the good, bad and ugly of the Metro-area's most popular festivals.

Boulder Creek Festival
1. Boulder Creek Festival
When: Memorial Day weekend
Where: Boulder Creek
The Boulder Creek Fest's biggest plus is its location. Nestled along the Boulder Creek in the center of town, it presents the best a Colorado summer has to offer: mountain views, a babbling brook, and (typically) great weather. The food's pretty good too, from the giveaways (like soy milk and energy bars) to the stands, which don't carry typical-festival fare but popular dishes from nearby cafes. Brave folks can also get their palms read. The downside? The crowd can't all fit alongside the Boulder Creek, especially the trail that leads from one end of the festival to the other. Also, mountain-climbing uber-jocks and women in tie-dyed skirts not be your cup of tea. Be sure to buy a duck in the Duck Race!

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Guy Morissette
2. Capital Hill People's Fair
When: June 4 and 5
Where: Civic Center Park
The People's Fair boasts a more diverse crowd. Right in the heart of Downtown Denver, it is truly the fair of the people, and you will see all walks of life, from too-cool-for-school teens to young families to eccentric singletons parading in their Sunday best. This heterogeneity is both the best and the worst part of the People's Fair -- come ready for some sensory overload. Another plus, there is a lot to do. Not happy branding itself as a food or an art fair, it has something for everyone: Funnel Cakes and hot dogs, cover-bands, mini-Ferris wheels and more. Per festival insider Seth Haber, owner of Trek Light Gear, handmade and small business vendors far outweigh the usual schlock-sellers.

Chalk Art Festival
3. Denver Chalk Art Festival
June 4 and 5
Where: Larimer Square
Some people don't know about the Chalk Art Festival, but it's one worth checking out. There's not a lot to do except, well, look at sidewalk murals, but the oversize circus scenes, renaissance replicas and MC Escher lookalikes are really cool. There's not much about this festival that's annoying. It's a pretty laid-back event and a fun way to pass an hour or two on the early June weekend.

4. Cherry Creek Arts Festival
July 2, 3 and 4
Where: Cherry Creek North
Speaking of arts events, the Cherry Creek Art Festival comes next. If you are looking to buy a landscape for your house and you're not a serious collector, this fair could make for fun browsing. The best parts are the islands of paintings and sculptures that catch your eye and the subdued stockbrokers and well-mannered real estate agents (emphasis on the subdued and well-mannered). The worst part? The sea of boring art that surrounds the good stuff ... and yes, the crowd, if you're the type to avoid Cherry Creek North like the plague. The food is pretty good, though; like the Boulder Creek Festival, nearby cafes set up stands in Culinary Row.

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How fun!! :-) I love summer festivals and these pictures are just the thing to make me want to don a sundress and head out exploring. :-)


Anything involving Boulder is annoying.

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