5280: Denver’s Oldest Festival Returns with New Features
“In August 2016, Jason Ornstein, owner of the Denver event management company Team Player Productions (TPP), called his small staff together in the company’s second-floor office in LoHi. He asked them a simple question: “When was the last time you’ve been to the People’s Fair?”
The answer was unanimous: It had been years—if ever—since his employees had checked out the arts and music festival. Now, his team is now tasked with hosting (and updating) the People’s Fair, starting with the 46th annual event on June 3–4 in Civic Center Park.
The Denver Police Department (DPD) started the People’s Fair in 1972 as a way to build greater trust with the Capitol Hill community, says event director Andrea Furness. Two years later, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN) took over as producer—a role it would hold through 2016. Citing financial constraints and low revenue, CHUN announced in January that it would no longer produce the event and handed the reins to TPP.
Although Ornstein’s team is bringing change to the festival—and hopefully attracting more millennials and Denver transplants—regular attendees can still find turkey legs, long-time art vendors, and involvement from the DPD (officers are teaming up with at-risk youths to create murals live during the event). Here’s what else you can expect from the two-day, free fest:
A Diverse Festival that Reflects the City
A focus for the team was to celebrate all of Denver’s citizens through both vendors and entertainment. More than 300 vendors, including local fine artists and artisans, will fill Civic Center Park alongside 27 food trucks and booths. Head to the main stage to experience one of many performances, including a drag show, Irish step dancing, salsa, belly dancers, and more (find a full schedule here).
Bigger Musical Acts
Ornstein wanted to attract national bands to headline the festival. Attendees can catch alternative rock bands Guster and Night Riots, as well as local acts, such as the folk-band Gipsy Moon and Denver’s multi-talented SF1—all for free.
Beer, Spirits, and Yoga
Denver’s own Great Divide Brewing Company is the fest’s main beer sponsor. Six bars throughout the park will sell beer, wine, and booze. Don’t miss Brooke Larson, founder of Beer Yoga, as she leads a beginner-friendly yoga class at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.”
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