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Attendees of the 2018 Boulder Fall Festival take in some art work.  (Camera file photo)
Attendees of the 2018 Boulder Fall Festival take in some art work. (Camera file photo)
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Boulder’s Fall Fest is back for its 34th annual celebration this weekend with more vendors, as this year’s event gears back up to pre-pandemic levels, in response to waning infection concerns.

“Due to the pandemic and in part due to the significant space outdoor dining takes up, we didn’t have quite as many artists out in the show (last year),” said Anna Salim, Vice President of Operations and Programming for Downtown Boulder.

“We’re getting closer to those numbers of artisans in Firefly Handmade Market, which we’re really excited about.”

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday at the 1300 block of Pearl Street, with new and returning music lineups, nearly 100 art vendors, kids’ activities and new alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

Downtown Boulder is continuing its partnership with Avery Brewing, as well as partnering with Lifted Libations this year, offering a new variety of canned cocktails as well as non-alcoholic options like frescos and Rocky Mountain Soda.

Firefly Handmade Market, which is made up of “a community of makers, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and shoppers,” according to Downtown Boulder’s website, will feature home goods, visual art and design, as well as ceramics and artisanal food and beverages. Featured artisans include Canned Goods and Goddess Gear, and new artisans like Alchemy Goods, Ballmer Peak Distillery, Daisy Metalworks, and so many more.

For people with children looking to enjoy the festivities, free kids activities will be open from 10 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, including a giant inflatable slide, a bouncy house and an obstacle course.

“As a parent, I get what parents are looking for, so this is the sort of thing I’m most proud of in our event,” Salim said.

“A lot of times at these festivals, you have to leave the beer garden, stand in a line in a parking lot with your kids, but tickets — at our event, it’s all in one place. That’s a nice element of our event I’m really excited about.”

Beyond the beer garden and kids activities, Fall Fest attendees can enjoy live, local music playing throughout the festival, with returning favorites like Jeff and Paige Saturday at 11:30, as well as some new acts, including Roka Hueka, a Denver-based Latin ska band that creates a unique sound rooted in Latino culture, and Rolling Harvest, a Bob Dylan and Neil Young cover band consisting of members from Colorado bands The Yawpers, Banshee Tree and Gasoline Lollipops.

“I just love these guys,” Salim said. “I’m really excited to bring them in.”

The festival opens at 5 p.m. Friday and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday on the 1300 block of Pearl Street. For more information, visit boulderdowntown.com/fall-fest.

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