Flower Power

This year’s Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival, the 43rd annual celebration of Colorado’s carnation industry, will be the biggest and best yet, organizers promise. Two nights of fireworks, a chili cook-off, carnival rides and a parade are some of the favorites returning to the festival, which has attracted thousands of fans each year since Wheat Ridge founded it in 1969. New this round is the Rocky Mountain Quarter Midget Association, which will offer midget race-car rides and a demonstration on a miniature track, as well as Rosie the tarantula, a guest who can be found with her insect friends at the Butterfly Pavilion. Another innovation is the pie-baking contest during to-night’s spaghetti dinner. The featured food tomorrow is chili, when the traditional cook-off will run from 5 to 7 p.m., accompanied by Latin jazz band Eohippus.

And tomorrow will see the addition of another major feature: the Zoppé Italian Circus, a family business around since the 1800s that includes acrobats, clowns, dog acts and an authentic Italian village, complete with wine tasting and high-end Italian cars. The circus runs through August 26; if you’re an early riser, you can catch the 63-foot-tall tent being erected at 7 a.m. today, according to festival spokeswoman Michelle Patrick.

The Carnation Festival runs today and tomorrow at Anderson Park, 4355 Field Street in Wheat Ridge. For circus tickets and more information, go to www.thecarnationfestival.com.
Aug. 17-18, 2012

 
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