Boulder celebrates hot weather, unofficial start of summer with annual creek festival

A blast of hot weather this weekend drew big crowds ready to kick off summer at the sprawling party that is the Boulder Creek Festival.

“It‘s an iconic thing to do here in Boulder,” said Louisville‘s Karen Brown. “The people watching is always epic. You can grab a beer, sit in the shade and listen to bluegrass. It‘s awesome.”

The annual , which wraps up Monday in downtown Boulder, offers . Monday‘s line-up includes Boulder‘s vocal band, Face, performing at 1 p.m. and the Hazel Miller Band closing out the festival with a 5 p.m. performance.

Madison Meadows demonstrates the proper way to work with a hula hoop Sunday at the Boulder Creek Festival in Boulder. For more photos, go to dailycamera. ()

On Sunday, the teen battle of the bands and singer songwriter competitions took over the community stage. The competitions are organized by a group of local teens who largely plan and run the festival‘s teen area.

The battle of the bands winner performs at 11 a.m. Monday at the main Bandshell Stage, while the wining singer performs at 12:30 Monday on the Festival Stage.

Five bands competed, including the Season Breakers. This was the first Creek Fest performance for the five-member rock band, which performs both covers and original songs.

“Music is my favorite form of art,” said Kyle Jager, who plays guitar with the band and is an incoming sophomore at Peak to Peak Charter School. “It‘s super cool to make my own music and have people enjoy it.”

Along with live music, the festival includes some 500 vendors plus an art show, carnival rides, food and two beer gardens. The event and music is free, while attractions vary in price.

Those looking for typical festival fare could dine on a doughnut bacon cheeseburger, corn dogs, turkey legs, curly fries and funnel cakes. Other offerings included dumplings, gyros and shrimp po‘boys.

Noah Hulbert, 9, finishes off his dad, Jensen, on Sunday in the Renaissance Adventures area at the Boulder Creek Festival in Boulder. For more photos, go to dailycamera. ()

What festival goers won‘t see Monday is the annual rubber duck race. After canceling or rescheduling the race three out of the last four years, to Labor Day weekend‘s Hometown Festival.

While the estimated 7,000 ducks will be hanging out in storage for a few more months, people are still encouraged to put their money on a duck or two by visiting the two duck race booths at this weekend‘s festival.

The money raised will go to , which “supports excellence in parks and recreation by mobilizing community support through education, philanthropy and advocacy.”

Duck booth volunteer Kelly Morgenstein, who works in Boulder and lives in Lafayette, said she wants to help maintain Boulder‘s parks and recreation opportunities “in any way I can.”

Plus, she said, she likes spending time at the festival.

“It‘s the music and food and arts,” she said. “I love that there are a lot of locally made things.”

Over in the children‘s area, the Lego tent was a big draw for kids and adults alike. Lego brought worktables and buckets of bricks for free building, plus racetracks, a Lego “graffiti” wall and a life size Lego Iron Man.

“It‘s important for adults to play,” said Boulder‘s Sam Killgore as she worked on her creation. “I‘ve always thought of Boulder as Neverland, where people come if they don‘t want to grow up.”

Longmont‘s Kevin Thompson said his boys, 2-year-old Luke and 4-year-old Landon, were thrilled to build with the tiny bricks.

“They can‘t get enough,” he said. “I can‘t pry them away.”

The festival, he added, “is a great place to let the kids burn some energy while hanging out in the community.”

Over in the “Spirit of Boulder” area, people could check out a golden eagle, pet a Great Dane or even adopt a puppy at the various animal rescue booths.

brought some of their available dogs, both puppies and adults, to the event for adoption — background checks and proof of residence required. Or people could buy some time in the puppy kissing booth to raise money for the rescue.

Co-founder Emma Shin said many of the rescue‘s dogs come from high-kill shelters in other states. They also run spay and neuter clinics in pueblos in New Mexico, greatly reducing the packs of stray dogs.

“It‘s very much about education,” she said.

Education also is the goal for the breed specific , where Kara Renck said she volunteers because she wants to educate potential owners about the giant breed and find the dogs the best homes.

“Great Danes love their people,” she said, adding that she‘s owned three and continues to work with the rescue even though her third dog died last year. “It‘s like having a best friend, not just a pet.”

Over at the booth, the focus was on abused and neglected farm animals. The non-profit rescue cares for about 50 farm animals, from neglected horses to rooster used in illegal cockfighting, at its Erie farm.

They offer weekend tours in a bid to educate about the plight of farm animals.

“We‘re trained to think dogs are cute and to protect them, but why love one animal and not the others,” said volunteer Lexi Hameister. “Farm animals experience fear, love, happiness and sadness. They all have personalities and are not so different from dogs and cats.”

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