The Ten Best Summer Arts Festivals in Colorado

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Denver Flea
June 25-26

Exdo Event Denver
1399 35th Street
The Denver Flea has become an institution in Denver, and this summer's installment in RiNo will be bigger and better than ever, with boutiques such as the Denver Fashion Truck selling local designs and vendors offering everything from home goods to accessories, artwork, jewelry, more clothing and edible treats. There will be good things to eat on-site, too. Buy your tickets in advance and you get a free New Belgium beer or Flea margarita. 

High Peaks Art Festival
June 25-26, free

Town Square in Nederland
Live music, fine arts and local crafts aren’t unique to arts festivals, but the setting of this one is, with the mountains as a backdrop to the fun in Nederland’s Town Square. The sixteenth annual event promises 43 jury-selected vendors — representing a variety of mediums, including woodworking, stained glass, metal sculptures and photography — and several area eateries will have food booths. Only local musicians are allowed to play this event; expect everything from “great American hippie music” to bossa nova throughout the weekend.

Cherry Creek Arts Fest
July 1-4, free
Cherry Creek North 

For Cherry Creek Arts fest fans, the Fourth of July is all about the art. Over the holiday weekend, more than 350,000 people will attend the fest, which pretty much takes over Cherry Creek North with its 260 vendors. Twenty-six of those, working in thirteen media categories, are from Colorado. This year, the 25th, the festival will offer more interactive art activities — including the opportunity to paint part of a community mural — and the usual street-party scene, with live music, a beer garden and culinary demonstrations from some of the eighteen food booths. Avoid the traffic and bike there; bike valets are raising money for the nonprofit Wish for Wheels.
Colorado Black Arts Festival
July 8-10, free
City Park, 1700 York Street
For 29 years, the Colorado Black Arts Festival has been a showcase for African-American art and culture, with artists from around the world and Colorado. The free, three-day event also will have live music — including jazz, blues, soul, gospel, hip-hop, reggae, worldbeat and traditional African — and dance performances, and a food court featuring dishes from the American South, the African continent, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. Interactive art activities will be available for the kids, and anyone with a desire to get their art on can add to the community mural. Don’t miss the Boogaloo parade on Saturday morning.
Affordable Arts Festival
August 28, free
Arapahoe Community College, 5900 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton

The aptly named Affordable Arts Festival is all about the bargain: Nothing at this annual event costs more than $100. Hosted by the Arapahoe Community College Foundation — the $5 entry fee goes to the college’s nonprofit foundation — the outdoor fest has a low-key feel, and the offerings, from more than 140 featured artists, have been chosen because the price tag represents a deal on high quality. Note that this festival is only one day, though, so there’s no thinking overnight about what you’d like to purchase. 
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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner