9Things to do in Denver & Colorado this weekend: July 15-17, 2021

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Fairs and rodeos plus BBQ, wine, jazz, lavender, water lantern, pride and art festivals are back after the pandemic pause.

COLORADO, USA — County fairs are back in Colorado for the first time in nearly two years.

The summer fair and carnival season kicks off this weekend with fairs in El Paso County, Park County and Mesa County. Colorado Springs and Gunnison are ready to host their annual rodeos while BBQ, wine, jazz, lavender, water lantern, pride and art festivals are back after their pandemic absence.

Remember to share your weekend photos with the “Near Me” feature on the 9NEWS app. Have a wonderful weekend!

> Would you like to see your favorite Colorado event in 9Things? Send it to alexander.kirk@9news.com.

Park County Fair

FAIRPLAY  The Park County Fair is underway, and the schedule is packed. The 2021 schedule includes 4-H shows, livestock shows, mutton bustin’, live music and more. A rodeo will be held Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17. You can view a complete schedule at ParkCoFair.com.

Mesa County Fair

GRAND JUNCTION — Hard work meets fun at the 2021 Mesa County Fair. The 134th annual tradition on the Western Slope takes place through Saturday, July 17 and will showcase the best of the Grand Valley, form peaches to livestock.

Professional bull riders are scheduled for Thursday and monster trucks will perform a Saturday matinee show. This year’s fair which will have family-friendly activities, a carnival, shows, food and drink vendors and livestock auction. For show tickets and a complete 2021 fair schedule, head to MesaCountyFair.com.

El Paso County Fair

CALHAN — The El Paso County Fair in Calhan continues through Saturday, July 17 with bull riding, demolition derby, roping and racing events, plus family activities, live music and food. General admission tickets can be purchased at ElPasoCountyFair.com.

Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo

COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado tradition is underway at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, now in its 80th year, runs through Saturday, July 17 with some of the top talent in professional rodeo from across the country competing in bareback, saddle bronc, team roping, barrel racing, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, mutton bustin’ and bull riding.

Rodeo events are scheduled for Thursday and Friday nights as well as a Saturday matinee. The rodeo grounds also have a mechanical bull, pony rides, photo opportunities with longhorns, vendor booths, roadhouse saloon, dancing and food and drink options. Get your tickets ahead of time at PikesPeakorBust.org.

Cattlemen’s Days

GUNNISON — The Gunnison Valley has celebrated its western way of life for 121 years with Cattlemen’s Days. Selected by American Cowboy magazine as one of the best western events in the country, Cattlemen’s Days honors ranching culture with the “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos.” A complete schedule of the 11-day western celebration is available at CattlemensDays.com.

Blues & BBQ

EDGEWATER — Blues & BBQ returns to Citizens Park in Edgewater on Saturday, July 17. Money raised from the event will go to Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver. On hand will be food vendors, local breweries and local artisans.

There will be nine local bands including Nick of Time, Teledonna, Moji Mama, Eef and The Blues Express, The Cass Clayton Band, Zepp11, Cast Iron Queens, Wild Love Tigress, and The Duke Street Kings.

Tickets are just $10 for an all-day pass. You can get your tickets at BluesNBBQ.com.

Mile-High NHRA Nationals

MORRISON — The biggest event of the year at Bandimere Speedway is here. The 42nd annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals is the ultimate family racing event of the summer. There will be competitions in jet cars, funny cars, pro stock motorcycles and more. The Mile-High NHRA Nationals run Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18. Get your tickets at Bandimere.com.

Colorado Springs PrideFest

COLORADO SPRINGS — PrideFest, Colorado Springs’ LGBT Pride Festival is underway with events scheduled through Sunday, July 18. Events include a caravan, drag queen brunch, family BBQ, dance party and more. Head to COSPrideFest.com to see a complete schedule or to purchase tickets.

Chainsaws and Chuckwagons

FREDERICK  Some of the most talented chainsaw carvers in the country will be in Colorado this weekend for a carving competition that pits the best against the best. The Chainsaws and Chuckwagons competition will take place on Main Street in Downtown Frederick.

Artists will turn giant logs into beautiful works of art starting Wednesday, July 14. There will be live music, food trucks (also known as chuckwagons) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The completed wood carvings will be on display on Saturday, July 17 at Crist Park at a family-friendly event where you can vote for your favorites. Visit FrederickCO.gov to see a complete event schedule.

Winter Park Jazz Festival

WINTER PARK — The 38th annual Winter Park Jazz Festival is set for Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 at the Rendezvous Event Center. Saturday’s lineup includes Bell Biv DeVoe, Damien Escobar, Peter White, Elan Trotman’s tribute to Marvin Gaye and Julian Vaughn. 

Attendees can expect to see En Vogue, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Avery*Sunshine and Dotsero on Sunday. The Winter Park Jazz Festival is expected to sell out, so reserve your ticket at AXS.com.

90th Annual Bazaar

DENVER — After a one-year break, Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s Annual Bazaar is back for a 90th year. One of Denver’s oldest Bazaars, this year’s event is set for Saturday, July 18 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 3549 Navajo Street. You can expect live music and bazaar food including pizza fritta, sausage sandwiches, hot dogs, meatball sandwiches, beer, wine and more. More information is available online at OurLadyMountCarmel.com.

Downtown Aspen Art Festival

ASPEN — The Downtown Aspen Art Festival returns to Aspen’s Paepcke Park for its 18th edition. The 2021 festival will take place Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The free outdoor art festival offers a wide-range of creations in sculpture, photography, glass, paintings, ceramics, one-of-a-kind jewelry and mixed media. Located directly on Main Street, Paepcke Park is conveniently located near downtown shops and restaurants.

Lavender Festival

LITTLETON  Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms will host its Lavender Festival on Saturday, July 17. With more than 2,000 lavender plants, the family-friendly celebration will have products made by local growers and artisans, free demonstrations, live music, kids’ activities, craft vendors, farm tours, food and drink vendors and more. Tickets for the celebration, which runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, are available at BotanicGardens.org.

RELATED: 9 amazing wildflower hikes that are 45 minutes or less from Denver

Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival

KEYSTONE — No matter if you’re a Chardonnay fan or you prefer a nice Riesling, you’ll find something you’ll like among the 300 varieties of wine at the Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival. The festival begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17 and continues Sunday. The jazz lineup this year includes La Pomp Jazz, Sheryl Renee, Joel Siemion, Kerby Velarde, Dotsero, Ron Ivory, Gregory Goodloe, Jakarta and more. Tickets are available at KeystoneFestivals.com.

Water Lantern Festival

THORNTON — Experience the magic of floating lanterns as the soft glow reflects upon the water at the Water Lantern Festival in Thornton. The festival, scheduled for Saturday, July 17, combines the friends, family, great food and a beautiful array of twinkling lanterns on the waterfront of Carpenter Lake.

There will be food trucks, live music, lawn games and lantern decorating stations. Bring your lawn chairs for a relaxing evening at the park. The festival starts at 5:30 p.m. and lanterns will be launched at 8:30 p.m. Each ticket comes with a floating lantern, LED candle, marker, wristband and commemorative drawstring bag and are available at WaterLanternFestival.com.

Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies return from the All-Star break for a five-game homestand at Coors Field. The Rockies will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game series beginning Friday, July 16.

The game on Saturday, July 17 is University of Wyoming Night and Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. matinee is Colorado State University Day. Tickets are on sale now at Rockies.com/Tickets.

Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Quakes

COMMERCE CITY — The Colorado Rapids continue their July homestand this weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids welcome the San Jose Quakes to Commerce City for a match at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 17. Tickets can be purchased in advance at ColoradoRapids.com/Tickets.

Rocky Mountain Vibes vs. Grand Junction Rockies

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Rocky Mountain Vibes and Grand Junction Rockies wrap up their series with games on Thursday, July 15 and Friday, July 16. The minor league baseball clubs meet each night at 6:40 p.m. at Colorado Springs’ UCHealth Park. The Vibes will have a post-game firework display on Friday. Snag your tickets at MiLB.com.

Rocky Mountain State Games

COLORADO SPRINGS  The Rocky Mountain State Games is a multi-sport festival for athletes of all ages and athletic abilities. About 30 sports competitions will be held this weekend, beginning Friday, July 16, and next weekend at the Olympic Training Center, National Strength & Conditioning Association, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado College and Memorial Park.

Some sports require a small ticket fee to attend, but most are free for spectators. Head to RockyMountainStateGames.org and click on a sport to see when and where the competition is being held.

Barr Trail Mountain Race

MANITOU SPRINGS — The Barr Trail Mountain Race is one of Colorado’s most historic — and most difficult — mountain running events. The 12.6-mile course begins at the Cog Railway Station (6,570 feet) in Manitou Springs and ascends the Barr Trail towards Pikes Peak up to Barr Camp (10,200 feet) before turning around and descending back to the station.

The 20th annual Barr Trail Mountain Race will start at 7 a.m. Sunday, July 18. If you have what it takes to participate, register online.

The String Cheese Incident

MORRISON — The String Cheese Incident is back in the Centennial State for a five-night run of concerts. The Colorado jam band will play Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday, July 16, Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18.

Before traveling to Denver, the band will also play two shows at Dillon Amphitheater in Summit County on Tuesday, July 13 and Wednesday, July 14. Tickets for the concerts are on sale at AXS.com.    

> Would you like to see your favorite Colorado festival, fair, expo, concert, drama, musical, ballet, run or event listed in 9Things? Send it to alexander.kirk@9news.com. 




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