The Boulder Creek Festival has been going on during Memorial Day weekend for a little over three decades now (wow, can you believe it’s been that long?), and it has consistently remained Boulder’s favorite city celebration since its inception.Taking up the whole Boulder Creek area (between Canyon and Arapahoe) from 9th Street to 14th, the Creek Fest is the best way to get your Boulder on while experiencing the best arts, wellness, and businesses that Boulder has to offer.
The Creek Fest (as locals dub it) is part huge outdoor concert a-la Arise, part art fair, part carnival, part giant extension of the Farmer’s Market (the Fest actually tends to not stay just in the creek area, but spills North onto the Pearl Street Mall as well), and everything is there to celebrate all things that make Boulder great, as well as to usher in the summertime.
What you can expect from the 32nd annual Boulder Creek Fest? Oh man, all kinds of things, with some really exciting new stuff appearing there for the first time this year. Here’s the basic rundown:
Food & Drink
As you may know, Boulder is well known for its craft beer. With a micro- or nanobrewery every block or so, Boulder has the widest array of tasty brews around. As such, there’ll be a beer garden at Creek Fest as always, but there’s oh so much more to choose from than that when your festival experience gets you a wee bit peckish.
Of course, being an outdoor festival, the Creek Fest boasts an array of classic carnival goodies, from burgers and street tacos, to funnel cakes and other festively sweet treats. Food trucks are going to be in abundance at this year’s festival, with international street foods from all across the globe, to satisfy any foodie’s tastes. And don’t forget–Saturday is still the Boulder Farmer’s Market, right smack in the middle of Creek Fest, so you can sample the fruits of many of Boulder’s local farmers’ labors, and bring their wares from their farm to your table.
Boulder has more than once been awarded the title of healthiest city in the country, so you can bet your kale smoothie there’ll also be gluten free, vegan, organic, and other healthy snacking options aplenty at the Creek Fest. And don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle: we’re quite high up here in Boulder, and it’s easy to get dehydrated. There’ll be water stations across the festival grounds to make sure you’re well hydrated enough to enjoy yourself thoroughly.
Just one perfunctory peep at the schedule of events occurring on the three (3!) stages at the Creek Fest this year is enough to get the most stay-at-home curmudgeon excited to come out and play. The Community Stage, Festival Stage, and Boulder landmark the Band Shell will all three be populated with various performances, all throughout the hours of the three days of the festival.
Music of any kind you can imagine: from Taiko drums to tribute bands to a teen rock band competition, will make your festival experience that much more enjoyable, but music ain’t all. Bring your foldable stool or comfy picnic blanket and make yourself comfortable for dance performances by groups all across Boulder, of all genres of dance you can think of–they’ll entertain you, let alone martial arts demonstrations, and more!
Oh, and did I mention that all of these performances (like the festival as a whole) are FREE?
Fine Arts & Crafts
The arts displays in the multitude of booths spread along the creek are one of the biggest highlights of the Creek Fest each year. Booths showing and selling the amazing works of hundreds of artists, both local and those who travel here to celebrate Creek Fest, are the best way to spend a festival afternoon. There’s a Fine Arts Expo, a Maker’s Market, multiple areas for kids to create and play, and many more artistic and crafty displays in the bazaar-like atmosphere. This is where the festival tends to spill out past the creek area and onto the bricks of the Pearl Street Mall, where performance, visual, and practical arts continue to abound all along the mall’s walkways (and into its collectives and gift shops).
Not just the creative presence of artists abound at the Creek Fest, but Boulder’s creative businesses make their mark on the festival too. The Business Bazaar showcases an array of businesses in and around Boulder, and the innovation and creativity from Boulder Futures will show you the highest quality ideas for the world of Boulder’s future in business opportunities of all kinds. Boulder Cares nonprofits will be there in spades too, spreading the world of Boulder ideas into the local community of the future.
Boulder is nothing if not a healthy place to live, and the Creek Fest’s Wellness World will be showing and sharing this fact all throughout the length and breadth of the festival. Health services, cannabis causes, and workshops like yoga and other fitness classes will be offered all over the festival, and of course all festivalgoers are encouraged to attend using transportation other than driving to get there.
Speaking of Wellness: Bolder Boulder
Of course, Monday’s special fitness-connected event is a topic for a whole ‘nother separate post, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the big event that happens every Monday Memorial Day of each Boulder Creek Festival, since its inception and far beyond. It’s one of the biggest 10K races in the world (that’s right, the whole GLOBE), the internationally famous Bolder Boulder.
There are two main sections of the Bolder Boulder: the public side, where anyone can register to run, walk, wiggle, or anything else to go the distance. Then there’s the pro race, where elites from all over the world compete for one of the biggest prizes of any 10K around. The Bolder Boulder isn’t technically a part of the Boulder Creek Festival, but it does take over the city that Monday morning, and is an integral part of the festivities and celebrations of the last day of Creek Fest every year.
Boulder Creek Festival 2019 runs May 25th through the 27th. Hours of the festival’s operations are normally 10am to around 9pm each of the three days, with some flexibility there (vendor booths tend to close earlier, for example, and concerts can be a little later). Make sure you don’t try and park anywhere near the Creek Fest, though–be a real Boulderite and bike or walk there. Trust me, you don’t want to even try to park. But Boulder being the ecological city that it is, it’s super easy to take alternative transportation to get to the scene of the fun.
I’ll see you there, Boulder!