The weekend’s warmer weather after a chilly spring and late snow storms drew crowds ready to kick off summer at the annual Boulder Creek Festival.
The three-day festival, which wraps up Monday in downtown Boulder, had a new operator this year, Team Player Productions. The group brought a new layout and several new features, including the Boulder Beer Bazaar.
The bazaar features art, fashion trucks, beer, cider tastings and live DJs. Participants also can buy “Shop and Sip” tickets to sample beer and cider throughout the market.
Another new feature was the Boulder Future area, showcasing six new Boulder businesses, ventures and startups, from a company that designed an app to connect people in the craft food community to a company creating 3D without glasses.
But the change to the for-profit, Denver-based company wasn’t without controversy.
The previous longtime local operator, the nonprofit Boulder Creek Events, alleged an unfair process because of a change in the bidding process. City officials responded that all interested organizations had the same information and process.
Festival goers said music, food, friends and shopping are the big draws every year.
“You get to try stuff from new and local vendors,” said Boulder’s Jude Herr, a festival regular. “I just walk the whole things and buy stuff. I spend all the money I bring.”
Lynn and Dave Hindman and their family brought several of their Bernese Mountain Dogs, including a fluffy 9-week-old puppy named Avery, creating an unofficial petting booth. The Niwot couple breeds the dogs, bringing them to the festival every year.
“Without the dogs, we can’t make friends,” Lynn Hindman joked. “It’s a lot more fun with them here.”
While Team Player Productions made some changes, the company kept many of the festival’s traditions, including a children’s area, a carnival and three stages of live music and entertainment.
Another tradition is Sunday’s annual veteran’s service concert, with patriotic music performed by the Boulder Concert Band. Guest conductor Thomas Palmatier, a retired U.S. Army colonel, led this year’s performance at the main Bandshell Stage.
The concert featured the songs of all the branches of the armed services, during which those who served and their families were invited to stand. Other selections included “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “America the Beautiful” and “Taps.”
Lafayette’s Nancy Skeie teared up as she listened to “Taps,” saying Sunday was her uncle’s birthday. An Army veteran, he died in January. Several other members of her family also served in the military.
“It’s really emotional,” she said. “It’s really important to show respect for everybody who has given their lives and everybody who has served.”
Boulder’s Nancy Compton said listening to the Boulder Concert Band with her friends and then shopping for local crafts at the festival is her personal summer kick-off.
“I like buying directly from people who make the crafts,” she said. “I can hear the stories behind what they made. I have a more emotional connection to the pieces.”
Also on Sunday, the teen battle of the bands and singer songwriter competitions took over the community stage, located at the newly-developed Green in the Civic Area. The competitions, plus a teen art exhibit, are organized by a group of local teens.
“We have a lot of singers and artists here who don’t always get to showcase their abilities and potential,” said incoming Fairview High senior Anant Gupta. “It’s a cool opportunity.”
He added that he liked the new location, which he said was more visible with more foot traffic than past spots. This year, five bands and seven singer songwriters competed.
“I love supporting the local music scene and meeting other young musicians and sharing the spirit of music,” said 15-year-old Sophie Gray, a student at the Denver School of the Arts and a three-time teen singer competitor at the festival. “It’s really fun to play with other teenagers.”
The battle of the bands winner performs at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bandshell, while David Alexander, the winning singer, performs at 11 a.m. Monday at the Festival Stage.
Alexander, a 16-year-old at Cherry Creek High School, said this was his first time performing at the event.
“It was a blast,” he said. “Music is a great way of expressing yourself.”
If you go
What: 32nd annual Boulder Creek FestWhen: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. MondayWhere: Along the Boulder Creek from 9th Street to 14th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe AvenueCost: FreeMore info: bouldercreekfest.com