A fair chance of festivals this summer

Though it’s too soon to say for sure, many beloved summer events are in the works

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For those who didn’t get to watch fireworks or eat funnel cakes in 2020, this spring and summer could bring good news: Festivals and fairs are in the works, though nothing is set in stone.

Scores of local events were canceled last year as COVID-19 reshaped life, though some gatherings went forward in a limited capacity. This year, as COVID numbers improve and the vaccine rollout advances, local officials are cautiously optimistic that many beloved community events can carry on.

“It will look different, but we can figure out innovative ways to do this,” said Mellissa Sager, the policy and intergovernmental affairs manager for the Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. “These events are really important to communities, and we can make it work.”

Face masks will likely still be required at public events through the summer, Sager said, as will social distancing measures, symptom screenings and capacity limits.

Restrictions are largely set at the state level, Sager said. Governor Jared Polis is expected to roll out new, more flexible measures in coming weeks that could better facilitate summer festivals.

Here’s a look at summer plans around the metro area as they stand at the beginning of March:

Adams County

No events have been canceled so far this year, Adams County spokesperson Christa Bunting said. That includes the Adams County Fair scheduled for Aug. 4-8, and a Styx concert at Riverdale Park on Sept. 11. adcogov.org/events

Arapahoe County

The Arapahoe County Fair, scheduled for July 22-25, will be open “in some form,” county spokesperson Luc Hatlestad said. “The goal is to have as complete an experience as possible.” Other summer events at the fairgrounds on East Quincy Avenue include a series of 5K walks and runs, the Chalk Lines & Vines art and wine festival on May 15 and 16, and the Pictures on the Plains summer movie series on June 16 and 30. arapahoecountyfair.com

Arvada

Arvada’s Kite Festival, scheduled for April, has been canceled, but quite a few other events are going forward: Movies Around Town, with live music before showtimes starting at dusk, will run from May to September. Arvada On Tap, a craft beer and barbecue fest, is set for June 26. 4th of July fireworks are a go, as is Arvada Days on Aug. 21. arvadafestivals.com

Brighton

Brighton’s summer event schedule is in the early planning stages, said city spokesperson Kristen Chernosky. Summerfest, normally the first weekend in June, may be pushed back. brightonco.gov

Castle Rock

Most events are still in their planning stages, said city spokesperson Melissa Hoelting. The city will host Climb4Change at Phillip Miller Park on May 22. The event features five racing events to choose from, and raises money for the town’s adaptive recreation program. crgov.com

Douglas County

The 103rd annual Douglas County Fair & Rodeo is scheduled for July 31 through Aug. 8. No schedule of events has been announced yet, but county spokesperson Luanne Lee says organizers will strive as always to bring together “the best of rural heritage, agriculture, Western sports, youth and adult exhibits and quality entertainment.” douglascountyfairandrodeo.com

Elbert County

The Elbert County Fair is scheduled for July 31 through Aug. 8, with a full slate of 4-H programming and livestock shows. Other events are to be determined. elbertcountyfair.com

Elizabeth

The Elizabeth Stampede, featuring concerts, a parade and three days of rodeos, is scheduled for June 3-6 at Casey Jones Park. Higher expenses and spectator limits have spurred the Stampede to launch a sponsorship drive called the Stampede Booster Club. elizabethstampede.com

Englewood

No decision has yet been made on the 4th of July festivities at Belleview and Progress parks, city spokesperson Ann Lauricello said. The city is “cautiously optimistic” about the late-summer Block Party on Broadway. “Obviously there are still many unknowns,” she said. englewoodco.gov

Fort Lupton

No major events have been canceled, though all now include social distancing measures, face masks and staggered start times where appropriate. That includes the Easter Egg Hunt on March 27 at the recreation center, the Cinco de Mayo 5k at Railroad Park and the Independence Day celebration at the recreation center. fortlupton.org

Golden

What will 4th of July look like this year? How about Buffalo Bill Days? The Fine Arts Festival? City spokeswoman Diane Tiberi said: “We are still trying to answer some of the very same questions you are asking!” visitgolden.com

Lakewood

The annual Earth Day celebration won’t be a festival format this year, with the city instead planning a variety of chalk art installations in parks accompanied by workshops and tutorials, starting April 17. Though the city will still fire off fireworks on July 3, there will be no gathering at Jeffco Stadium. Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park will host some groovy events, like the Rockin’ Block Party on June 4, featuring cover bands playing ‘90s hits followed by a screening of Jurassic Park (reservations required). The park will also host outdoor concerts every Thursday evening between June 17 and July 29. lakewood.org

Littleton

Plans for the Fire Muster and Block Party, both traditionally held in June, have not yet been announced. Western Welcome Week is scheduled for Aug. 13-22, though details have not yet been fleshed out. westernwelcomeweek.org

Northglenn

Northglenn will see a few cancellations this year: The Food Truck Carnival, Mudapalooza volleyball tournament and the Flashlight Egg Hunt are off the table. In their place, however, are a boatload of smaller events: Canal Cleanup on March 13, Kids’ Fishing Derby on May 15, Stonehocker Farmhouse Porch Concerts, and movies and theater performances. In place of the normal 4th of July bash, Northglenn is planning “4 for 4th:” four smaller celebrations at city parks, including a car show, field day and spirit tasting. Also in the works: a grand opening of the city’s new recreation center, senior center and theater. northglenn.org

Parker

Parker’s events season kicks off with a stretched-out St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with Lucky the Leprechaun visiting Mainstreet on March 13 and 20. Residents who spot Lucky or the shamrocks he hides can enter to win a prize basket. Parker Days is still tentatively scheduled for June 10-13, though details have yet to be fleshed out. July 4 will feature a scaled-down celebration, with details to be announced. parkerdaysfestival.com, parkeronline.org

Thornton

Thornton will host its "Twist & Shout" series of eight summer concerts in different parks around town, starting at 7 p.m. most Thursdays from mid-June to mid-August. Concerts will be preceded by Arts in the Park programs starting at 5:30 p.m. Keep your eyes on thorntonco.gov

Westminster

Westy, known for its off-the-wall events, is shifting away from one-time events in 2021, said city spokesperson Ryan Hegreness. That means no Adult Egg Hunt, Ballerina Dodgeball or Zombie Golf. Instead, the events team touts month-long attractions: June’s is “The Land of Milk and Honey,” and “immersive theater experience.” July is “Reels on Wheels,” featuring live entertainment followed by a drive-in movie. August brings Friday Night Beer Crawls. And from May to October, “Art in the Neighborhood” will bring low-cost art workshops around town in a mobile studio. cityofwestminster.us

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