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Flower Power

It takes a lot of flowers to earn the official title of Wildflower Capital of Colorado, but that’s no problem in Crested Butte, where despite the long winter, the lupines are spiking and the paintbrush is coloring the region’s alpine meadows red and gold. They’re peaking just in time for the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, a 25-year tradition that’s grown to encompass more than 200 workshops, hikes and activities during its annual week-long run, which begins today and continues through July 17.

So what exactly is blooming right now? “It’s more like what isn’t blooming,” says fest director Sue Wallace, who spends the entire year coordinating the week’s packed schedule. “The festival really takes place during the peak blooming season. We have columbine, different types of sunflowers, mule’s ear, Indian paintbrush, lupine, larkspur. Those are some of the more familiar types, but we even have some of the things that are a little harder to find, like king’s crown or fairy slippers. The glacier lilies may even still be hanging around because of the late snowmelt.” And, she adds, even if you can’t come for the festival proper, guided Weekly Wildflower Hikes will continue every Saturday this summer from 9 a.m. to noon, through Labor Day.

Visit for a complete schedule of festival offerings and to register; for more information about Crested Butte, go to
July 11-17, 2011


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