Wheat Ridge RidgeFest carries on despite pandemic

Wheat Ridge event taking place over three-day span

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/1/20

In a regular year, Wheat Ridge’s RidgeFest takes place over the course of one night where residents gather for live music, a classic car show, chalk art, children activities and more. The event, …

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Wheat Ridge RidgeFest carries on despite pandemic

Wheat Ridge event taking place over three-day span

Posted

In a regular year, Wheat Ridge’s RidgeFest takes place over the course of one night where residents gather for live music, a classic car show, chalk art, children activities and more.

The event, designed to celebrate Wheat Ridge’s culture and character, saw around 6,500 residents attend the celebration last year.

And while COVID-19 has forced other cities to cancel community gatherings, RidgeFest will proceed, but just like everything else this year, things will be different.

RidgeFest, organized by Localworks, a nonprofit organization working to advance Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community, will return this year for the seventh year in a row in the area of 6595 W. 38th Ave. Rather than hosting a one-day celebration, RidgeFest will take place Sept. 11 through Sept. 13 in what the nonprofit is calling a deconstructed version of the event in order to control crowds and keep attendees six feet apart.

The event is free and will feature local bluegrass bands, a chalk art festival, children’s activities, a classic car show and more. Local restaurants like Apple Ridge Café, Colorado Plus, Firefly Saloon and other entities will offer special deals during RidgeFest while Localworks plans to also host the event on its Facebook page for those who feel uncomfortable to attend an in-person gathering.

“We thought with this deconstructed version we could do something that brings the community together — but do it safely. We thought we could share and celebrate Wheat Ridge in this new and interesting way,” said Ashley Holland, marketing and communications manager for Localworks.

The chalk art festival is funded through Wheat Ridge’s Cultural Commission — a group of residents that works to promote cultural arts in the city. Gay Porter DeNileon, who has been on the commission for nine years, said that even though half of the group’s budget was slashed this year because of COVID-19, the commission will be able to pay artists for the first time in RidgeFest’s history. In the past, artists participated in the event for free, Porter DeNileon said.

“I’m really proud of Wheat Ridge and Localworks and all the people that work there and the commission for keeping some hope and beauty in the community by holding these events,” said Porter DeNileon.

Local businesses like Al’s Pine Garden, at 6815 W. 44th Ave. will also participate in the event by allowing residents to create a succulent plant at its greenhouse. Jennifer Dent, owner of Al’s Pine Garden, said residents will be able to social distance in her greenhouse. She assisted residents with their succulent plants at last year’s event and said residents walked away understanding why their plants kept dying.

Dent hopes RidgeFest will bring awareness to Al’s Pine Garden and other local businesses and said some people don’t know her store sells plants.

“(RidgeFest is) a great community program, and I’m glad they like to get the local businesses, restaurants and bands together. I appreciate them keeping it local, it’s awesome,” said Dent.

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