Since 1970, the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival has attracted thousands of people from Wheat Ridge and surrounding communities. This year’s festival held Friday to Sunday, August 11 to 13, 2023, is no exception with a fireworks display on Friday and Saturday, as well as live music acts performing on multiple stages with entertainers such as Nick Schnebelen Band, That Eighties Band, Message in a Bottle, Hazel Miller and Just a Girl.
Enjoy a traditional spaghetti dinner ($10/adults, $4/children) in the Food Court on both Friday & Saturday nights. Throughout the event food vendors dish up festival fare.
There’s also a Chili Cook-off on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Another great Wheat Ridge tradition is the pancake breakfast at the Wheat Ridge Grange Hall (3850 High Court) on Saturday morning before the Carnation Festival parade. The breakfast, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., will include ham, eggs, pancakes, coffee and juice. There is no required cost, but donations (suggested $7 per person) are always welcome and greatly appreciated.
If you have never been inside the Grange Hall, 3850 High Court, this is the perfect time to see a fine vintage building while filling up on carbs that will sustain you throughout the parade. Funds will help the Wheat Ridge Grange continue the exceptional work that they do with youth in the community.
During the day, check out the fine art show, carnival rides for all ages and the Saturday morning (9:30 a.m.) Carnation Parade (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) on 38th Ave. between Ames & Upham. The parade will include fan favorites the Westernaires and the El Jebel Shriners.
Carnival rides vary from $1 to $5, but an unlimited daily pass is available for $20.
The Colorado Honey Festival sets up at this year’s Carnation Festival. It celebrates bees, beekeeping, pollinators of all kinds, and of course, honey! Festival attendees can sample different kinds of local honey, listen to live music, and stop by the educational booths for fun activities for all ages.
The Carnation Festival Beer Garden, despite the name, will offer a wide variety of beverages for the entire family. There are two locations: one in the beer garden near the Main Stage, the other in the center of the Food Court. Water, diet and regular soft drinks are available. Beer and wine is available for adults.
Sunday centers around the Carnation Car Show — “Big Wheels on the Farm.” Cars will be parked in the grass right in the heart of festivities.
The beautiful vehicles will roll in (loudly) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Expect decades worth of American muscle, hot rods, exotics, classics and vintage vehicles. The car show will help raise money for Wheat Ridge High School clubs and sports.
Finally, the Zoppé Family Circus will perform during the annual Carnation Festival under their Big Top Veneto in Anderson Park. Performances are August 5 to 15 at multiple times on performance days.
A favorite among Carnation Festival-goers, Zoppé Circus is celebrating the 178th year its family-run extravaganza. There are 54 individuals who make up the company coming to Wheat Ridge. Acts include a wide range of acrobatics, high wire, dogs and horses.
Circus tickets are $15 for Limited General Admission (bleacher seats), $25 for General Admission and $50 for VIP seating.
All events, unless otherwise noted, take place at Anderson Park at 44th and Field (4355 Field St.).