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Boulder Creek Hometown Festival returns with zucchini races, live music, classic car show

The free three-day festival runs Friday-Sunday

Tillie Cox, left, Allie Davis, Thomas Vortage and Fern Garstka, let go of their racers during the Great Zucchini Race at the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival on Sept. 4, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Tillie Cox, left, Allie Davis, Thomas Vortage and Fern Garstka, let go of their racers during the Great Zucchini Race at the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival on Sept. 4, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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Boulder Creek Hometown Festival is celebrating its 23rd year from Friday to Sunday and promises live entertainment, plenty of fundraising and wholesome fun for the entire family.

BOULDER, CO - Sept. 4, 2021: ...
Thomas Vortage, left, Peter Vortage and Katherine Aidala find a number for their zucchini racer before the Great Zucchini Race at the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival on Sept. 4, 2021. The Boulder Creek Hometown Festival returns Friday to Sunday to Central Park. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

“I love that it’s the community’s own event, their homecoming,” said Meg Denbow, associate director of Boulder Creek Events. “There’s something for everyone, the young as well as the young at heart. It’s a hometown celebration for the entire community.”

From zucchini races where kids deck out summer squash with googly eyes, wheels and pipe cleaners to an extensive beer garden and food court, the offerings at Central Park are myriad.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve heard from many people in the community telling us how much they’ve missed summer festivals, and how happy they are to be able to get back out and dance, shop and just be with their friends and neighbors again,” Denbow said. “We’ve been proudly serving the community for over 20 years, and one of the things we pride ourselves the most on is really listening to their feedback.”

Wrenn Van and Ian Arras, of Wrenn & Ian Duo, perform at Mishawaka Amphitheatre in June 2022. Wrenn & Ian Duo, along with full band Libelula, will perform at Boulder Creek Hometown Festival on Sunday at 1 p.m.(Callie Ann Photography/Courtesy photo)
Wrenn Van and Ian Arras, of Wrenn & Ian Duo, perform at Mishawaka Amphitheatre in June 2022. Wrenn & Ian Duo, along with full band Libelula, will perform at Boulder Creek Hometown Festival on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Callie Ann Photography/Courtesy photo)

Music is always a significant part of the mix, and this year the lineup offers a variety of bands.

“It’s a joint effort between myself and Luis Romero,” Denbow said. “I book the smaller, more local performers, and he books the larger regional acts.”

Wrenn Van, a 16-year-old musician and soon-to-be junior at Lafayette’s Centaurus High School, will take the Bandshell stage Sunday at 1 p.m. with Ian Arras.

“We are excited to be playing the Hometown Festival with our full six-piece band, Libelula,” Van said. “In our 90-minute set, we will cover some well-known songs and also play some originals — some for the first time in public. With the full band, we describe our sound as funk, soul and groove.”

The Wrenn and Ian Duo continues to wow audiences with well-built originals and stirring reinterpretations of classic covers. The two’s version of “Dear Prudence,” by the Beatles, is just one of the auditory gems that they have delivered at live gigs.

“I’ve always been drawn to all types of music,” Van said. “KT Tunstall, Taylor Swift and Rihanna were some of my early influences. I started with piano lessons, but became interested in guitar as I got a little older. Plus, guitars are easy to travel with.”

Wrenn Van, of Wrenn & Ian Duo, performs at Mishawaka Amphitheatre in June 2022. (Callie Ann Photography/Courtesy photo)
Wrenn Van, of Wrenn & Ian Duo, performs at Mishawaka Amphitheatre in June 2022. (Callie Ann Photography/Courtesy photo)

Van stays busy crafting new songs and is excited about the possibility of releasing them on a potential EP this year.

“I love playing with Ian and the band, but am also interested in exploring my capabilities as a solo artist,” Van said.

From singer-songwriters to art vendors and purveyors of locally made goods, the amount of unique finds remains a definite draw at Boulder Creek Hometown Festival.

Among the booths this year, attendees will find the sweet offerings of Bjorn’s Colorado Honey — a family-run business based in Boulder.

“We love participating in the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival because it’s a great community event,” said Lara Boudreaux, who runs the Bjorn’s Colorado Honey with her beekeeper husband Pontus Jakobsson. “Hometown Fest offers an opportunity to connect with new students starting at CU and Boulder County residents alike. It’s also a great way to introduce our brand to tourists and parents who are dropping their kids off at college in Colorado. It’s a wonderful event, and we’re grateful to be a part of it.”

Bjorn's Colorado Honey's booth at Denver's Union Station in 2021. (Bjorn's Colorado Honey/Courtesy photo)
Bjorn’s Colorado Honey’s booth at Denver’s Union Station in 2021. (Bjorn’s Colorado Honey/Courtesy photo)

With naturally flavored varieties like lavender and vanilla bean, Bjorn’s Colorado Honey is changing the way people view the golden goodness.

In addition to stirring it into cups of tea or adding it to charcuterie boards as a condiment, honey can be a great immune booster and anti-inflammatory, among other healthful properties.

“Our Propolis Honey was created by our beekeeper Pontus’s father Torbjörn in Sweden, and it quickly became a hit,” Boudreaux said. “When Pontus (Jakobsson) moved to Colorado, he couldn’t resist whipping up his own batch.”

The small-batch creations are certainly different from typical jars one would find on supermarket shelves.

“Propolis is made by bees from tree and plant resins and is known for its remarkable ability to assist in the fight against viruses, bacteria, microbes and fungus,” Boudreaux said. “It’s also a powerful antihistamine, ideal for anyone suffering from seasonal allergies.”

Pontus Jakobsson, owner and beekeeper at Bjorn's Colorado Honey, tends to the hives. (Bjorn's Colorado Honey/Courtesy photo)
Pontus Jakobsson, owner and beekeeper at Bjorn’s Colorado Honey, tends to the hives. (Bjorn’s Colorado Honey/Courtesy photo)

Boudreaux remains inspired by the buzzing insects and in addition to honey, continues to help concoct lotion, lip balm and even toothpaste from the nectar.

“Beekeeping is a wonderful way to interact with the environment on a regular basis,” Boudreaux said. “It’s rewarding to get to visit the hives and see these amazing creatures in action. Humans can learn so much from their cooperation and teamwork.”

Since its inception, Boulder Creek Hometown Festival has always been focused on creating a platform for organizations dedicated to enriching the community and helping others.

“My favorite thing about producing festivals is that it gives us a platform to help others, including dozens of local nonprofit organizations,” Denbow said.

Over 20% of the booths at Boulder Creek Hometown Festival feature nonprofits.

Bjorn's Colorado Honeycomb. (Bjorn's Colorado Honey/Courtesy photo)
Bjorn’s Colorado Honeycomb. (Bjorn’s Colorado Honey/Courtesy photo)

“Nonprofits are never turned away from having a booth at the festival, as BCE waives the booth space fees for several groups that would otherwise not be able to afford a space at the event,” Denbow said.

This year marks a milestone for the Law Enforcement Torch Run StarLight Classic Car Show, another cherished element of Boulder Creek Hometown Festival, starting at 10 a.m. Sunday.

“As the 10th anniversary, our goal is to raise the highest amount of donations for Special Olympics,” said Dave Seper, a recently retired Boulder Police sergeant. “We will also honor the 10 King Soopers shooting victims, which includes BPD Officer Eric Talley and Boulder Special Olympics athlete Teri Leiker.”

Seper anticipates over 100 vehicles and motorcycles to be a part of the show this year. From old-school Ford Thunderbirds and Pontiacs to retro Harleys and pristinely restored vintage police cars, the amount of wheeled beauties on display is sure to exceed expectations.

With the efforts of Law Enforcement Torch Run, Boulder Creek Events has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Colorado over the past 10 years. Seper is hoping to raise over $8,000 this weekend.

Pascal Pezzillo, left, 15, and Theo Chasnow, 15, look at an information book displayed with a 1957 Chevrolet at the ninth annual LETR StarLite Classic Car & Motorcycle Show. The show was held Sunday at the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival in downtown Boulder.(Amy Bounds/Staff Writer)
Pascal Pezzillo, left, 15, and Theo Chasnow, 15, look at an information book displayed with a 1957 Chevrolet at the ninth annual LETR StarLite Classic Car & Motorcycle Show in 2021. (Amy Bounds/Staff Writer)

“It’s always my honor to be a part of the Inclusion Revolution for people with intellectual disabilities and Special Olympics Colorado,” Seper said.

Special Olympics Colorado currently provides over 100 programs, in 22 different sports, to over 14,000 athletes throughout the state.

Judging for the car show starts at 11 a.m. and awards in 10 categories will be presented at 3 p.m.

While Boulder Creek Hometown Festival will not be happening over Labor Day weekend, like it has in previous years, attendees can still expect a full-scale event packed with plenty of opportunities to come together and give back.

“If you’re looking for some cost-effective fun in Boulder, we’ve got you covered,” Denbow said. “There will be free concerts at the bandshell, lots of freebies and giveaways, dozens of free samples at the vendor booths and some of the very best people-watching all year.”

*To learn more, visit bceproductions.com/boulder-creek-hometown-festival.

 

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