“Summer of Fun” Invades Teller High Country in Grandiose Fashion

Hefty Lineup of Events/Festivals Underway for Local Communities

Trevor Phipps

When the weather warms up in the summer in our Teller County/Ute Pass area, the region sizzles with a virtual bombardment of special events and festivals, encompassing a huge variety of styles and unique happenings that often reflect the local communities.

This trend hit a rough patch during the COVID-epidemic, but it has now returned, and has regained even a stronger push than the pre-pandemic time. And yes, let’s not lie about this reality, the pro-event and festival movement is partially due to our climate and terrain.

Outdoor events are limited in the high country to the point in which major festivals are packed into a two or three-month summer and early fall season when the cold weather gives us a temporary break (well, most of the time).

Cripple Creek’s signature summer festival, Donkey Derby Days, takes place this weekend to serve as an unofficial start to summertime gatherings. And then with Fourth of July falling on Thursday of next week, there are a slew of happenings for the Independence Day holiday in the Teller high country.

July also signals the start to the Green Box Arts Festival that hosts dozens of events over a 14-day period, in what has become one of the more unique high country celebration of arts, theater, dance, music, literature and culture.  Basically, starting from now until September there is an event taking place somewhere in the Ute Pass region every single weekend.

The Cripple Creek and Victor region alone sports close to 40 events from now through the remainder of the year, with the lion’s share occurring the next few months.


Cripple Creek Events


Cripple Creek is known across the world for being a prime spot to visit once temperatures increase in the summer months. Cripple Creek and Victor both host a wide array of events every summer that draw large crowds.

This weekend is a good one to be in town as the 93rd Annual Donkey Derby Days takes place from Friday to Sunday. The event starts with live music by Larry’s Garage Band from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and then Wild Blue Country and a street dance starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Cripple Creek District Museum’s parking lot

The events on Saturday start with a pancake breakfast at the fire station at 7 a.m. The vendors and kids zone opens at 10 a.m. with the beer garden opening when the parade starts at 11 a.m.

The donkey derby races take place from 12:30 to 3:45 p.m. The event continues with a full live music lineup on Sunday.

Events in the city recommence on the Fourth of July with the Gold Camp 4th taking place all day and Music at the Depot from 3 to 7 p.m. To finish off the day, fireworks take place downtown starting at around 9:30 p.m.

On July 13, the city’s parks and recreation department’s 5K at 10K Poker run and walk takes place starting at 9 a.m. A History Talk called “Forgotten Female Felons” with Sherry Skye Stuart from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Pearl DeVere Day Celebration and Bed Race takes place on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Mountain View Adventure Park Disc Golf Tournament happens on August 3 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. (For more additional information on CC events, see related column by Tracie Bennit in this week’s TMJ).


Victor Highlights

As noted once by Teller County Commissioner Eric Stone, the town of Victor is making a run at Manitou Springs’ renown reputation in featuring some of the more unique and offbeat, yet historic festivals.  This trend continues this year.  Here are a few highlights.

Victor started its season of events earlier this month with the Gem and Mineral Show and Oddities Alley on June 15 and 16. The old mining town’s next big event, Gold Rush Days takes place July 19 to 21.

The city then celebrates Rita the Rock Planter’s birthday August 2 to 4 with the 2nd Annual Gold Camp Fastelavn. On August 17 and 18 the city celebrates the 123rd Anniversary of the town’s fire with Great Fire Days.

Victor Celebrates the Arts happens August 31 to September 2 and the Victor Pack Burro Race takes place on September 7. Victor Steampunk then closes of the summer season from September 20 to 22.

Woodland Park Happenings

Independence Day will look a little different in the City Above the Clouds this year with the two most popular events now taking place on the same day. As normal, the city’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Festival takes place at Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with vendors and several activities

But this year instead of taking place on July 5, the Woodland Park Symphony Above the Clouds will take place on the night of the Fourth. A classic rock band called The Riders start the event at 5:30 p.m. at Woodland Park’s Memorial Park with the Woodland Park Wind Symphony performing afterwards.

The Ute Pass Cultural Center will host a community concert with Tava Blue from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Midland Pavilion. Kiwanis Monthly Bingo takes place July 18 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Smarty Pants Trivia then takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 25.

The Mountain Arts Festival happens on August 10 and 11 at Memorial Park. Learn about the hefty lineup of Woodland Park Parks and Recreation events at city-woodlandpark.org

And to top matters off, the Ute Pass Cultural Center is featuring free concerts once a month, at its outdoor pavilion, usually on the second Wednesday of the month.


Green Mountain Falls’ Lineup


The big annual event for the small town takes place next Monday with several events every day ranging from educational classes, fitness training at the Keith Haring Fitness Court, guided hikes, yoga, live music, silent discos, short film viewings and more.

Unfortunately, the Green Box Arts Festival hosts too many events to list them all here, but a full schedule of events can be found at https://greenboxarts.org/arts-festival/schedule-of-events/.

The Fourth of July is a big day for Green Mountain Falls with hikes, yoga and art walks taking place in the morning. The 4th of July Pie Contest takes place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and the Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie Dance Masterclass occurs from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Sallie Bush Community Building.

The Fourth of July Block Party starts at 5 p.m. with live music from the Stillhouse Junkies. The town then celebrates Independence Day with their water lantern launch starting at 9 p.m.

The next big event for Green Mountain Falls is the Bronc Day Festival that starts with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. on July 27 at the Church in the Wildwood. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m., then there will be several other activities and things to do offered all day.

In addition, the town will feature a live music series on Mondays throughout the summer, sponsored by the Ute Pass Chamber of Commerce, featuring a wide variety of live performances, encompassing many different genres.