Fruita Fall Festival celebrates 100 years
WHAT: Centennial Fruita Fall Festival
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Sept. 26-28
WHERE: Downtown Fruita
Fruita Fall Festival started as a cowboy reunion in 1914. They competed for two days in horse races, bull riding, roping and bucking contests. Women showcased crafts, fruits, vegetables, jellies, jams and baked goods. Music was played by the Colorado Saxophone Band of Grand Junction. And, at night, a dance would conclude the festivities with visitors from Grand Junction, who took the train into Fruita to attend.
“For any community to boast an event that has lasted for an entire century is a wonderful statement of the community’s longevity,” Museum of the West’s director Peter Booth said. “To be able to enjoy a single event for an entire time period is a strong reflection of cohesiveness — to survive through wars, droughts and depressions speaks volumes.”
Thousands of visitors continue to flood the streets of Fruita each year for Fruita Fall Festival, eating deep-fried pickles, turkey legs, playing games and visiting dozens of vendors. This year, event organizers are celebrating 100 years of harvest Friday through Sunday, Sept. 26-28. Up to 50,000 attendees are expected to attend from across the valley, the state and further afield.
“It’s good music and fun for the whole family,” Fruita Chamber of Commerce’s special projects coordinator Robbie Urquhart said.
The Centennial Fruita Fall Festival continues its traditions with many returning events, like the Cowpuncher’s Dirt Dance, live music, homemade treats, rodeo and more.
According to event organizers, the festival will line Fruita’s Aspen Avenue between Circle Park and Elm Avenue all weekend. Vendor booths and the carnival will open at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26. Then, the Lioness Club will host the annual spaghetti dinner at Fruita Community Center (324 N. Coulson St.) from 5-8 p.m. As a nod to Fruita’s agricultural roots, the Cowpuncher’s Dirt Dance will kick off at 7 p.m. at Circle Park with music performed by LeverAction. Not into dancing? Head to the Pavilion Stage (corner of Elm Avenue and Aspen Street) to watch the 2014 Centennial Queen and Princess be crowned during the festival’s first-ever pageant.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, events kick off at 7 a.m. with the Lion’s Club pancake breakfast in Circle Park. Then, outhouse races start at 9 a.m. — where groups create an outhouse structure made of wood, metal or composite materials and then race down Aspen Avenue. Winners are chosen for comic value, creativity, originality and time and receive $250. Following the races, Fruita Fall Festival’s annual parade starts at 10 a.m. and will flow through the downtown.
“The community takes over the parade, and it’s a phenomenal one,” Urquhart said.
Also at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Riverfront Disc Golf Course will host a tournament off Highway 340 on Kings View Road. It costs $50 for amateurs and $60 for open division to participate. Live music by Way Down Yonder, Stray Grass, Copper River, Bluegrass Patriots, Sonoran Dogs, Peggy Malone, Debbie Bukala and Cowtown is planned as well. Other activities include vendors, a beer garden and carnival. Rimrock Rodeo Finals will start at 7 p.m.
Then on Sunday, Sept. 28, a Fruita Fall Festival 5K race begins at 9 a.m. at Kokopelli Plaza (412 Kokopelli Blvd.) The disc golf tournament continues at Riverfront Disc Golf Course. A youth talent show will start at 1 p.m. at the Pavilion Stage. And to finish off the weekend, Rimrock Rodeo grounds will host a Ranch Rodeo at 1 p.m.
For more information and a full list of events, visit http://www.fruitafallfestival.com.
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