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Festival season sprouts in Garfield County with dandelions and cowpokes

Rifle Rendezvous, Dandelion Day highlight weekend entertainment happenings

Carbondale’s Dandelion Day Parade of the Species returns to Main Street for the traditional spring festival on Saturday.
Post Independent file photo

Community festival season begins this weekend on opposite ends of Garfield County, with Carbondale’s Dandelion Day on tap for Saturday and Rifle Rendezvous taking place Friday through Sunday.

Dandelion Day is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, featuring a Parade of the Species on Main Street followed by live music and other performances, a beer garden and a variety of informational and vendor booths in Sopris Park.

The festival was begun in the 1990s by the Carbondale Environmental Board as a springtime celebration honoring the town’s commitment not to use pesticides on its parks.



This year’s official Dandelion Day logo and t-shirt design by Anjanette Garcia.

It’s evolved over the years to become as much an opportunity to educate the community about sustainability practices and the environment as just a chance to get out and socialize now that the weather has turned.

“Carbondale’s Dandelion Day celebration sprouted from an act of social change,” reads a description on the event’s Facebook page. “It was realized by our locals that Sopris Park’s fields were blooming with dandelions, and being sprayed with pesticides, the same parks and grass our children love to play on. They rallied to protect our parks and children, and incorporate the nutritious treasures into foods, medicine and town government.”



The movement led to the dandelion being officially named Carbondale’s town flower, and out of respect for the insect pollinators that rely on the nutrient-rich flower to keep them going all season long.

In that spirit, this year’s Dandelion Day is joining the national “No Mow May” movement for its theme.

The idea is to let lawns grow out as much as possible during May, including dandelions, before things go completely to seed, so that bees and other pollinators can do their jobs to help grow summer flowers, vegetable gardens and agricultural crops.

Animal or plant species (real or imagined) costumes are encouraged for the Parade of Species, gathering a little before 10 a.m. at the corner of Second and Main streets in front of the KDNK Radio studios. Local drummers and dancers will lead the procession to Sopris Park, where more than 50 vendors will showcase local arts and crafts, farmers, ranchers, growers, nonprofits and local businesses.

There’s also a used tool swap at the Near New store downtown.

Dandelion Day Schedule of Events

Saturday

10 a.m. — Parade of Species, Main Street

10:45 a.m. — Bonedale Ballet, Gazebo stage, Sopris Park

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Music by Valle Musico

1 p.m. — Three-legged race

1:30-3 p.m. — Music by Red Hill Rollers

3 p.m. — Live musical chairs

3:30-5 p.m. — Music by Hell Roaring String Band

Rifle Rendezvous

Thrill-seekers get acquainted with the sky during the Rifle Rendezvous in 2021.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent file

Meanwhile, Rifle Rendezvous celebrates its 25th anniversary with its own brand of live music, western-themed contests, a carnival, a barn dance and more, Thursday through Sunday at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.

What originally began as a homage to the area’s mountain men has evolved each year, said event organizer Annie MacGregor. This year’s event pays tribute to Garfield County’s agricultural history.

“We’re promoting our heritage and our Western roots,” she said. “In order to do that, we’ve got to make sure our upcoming generations get to experience that.”

The weekend includes a visit by former Denver Bronco Karl Mecklenburg for a keynote address on Friday evening. There’s also youth rodeo, carnival rides, a car show, bull-riding events and a draft horse show.

Carnival tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at Rifle City Market and Alpine Bank locations.

For more information on ticket information, event schedules and registrations, visit riflerendezous.org.

Rifle Rendezvous Schedule of Events

Thursday

5 p.m. — Carnival rides begin

Friday

4-11 p.m. — Carnival open

5-6 p.m. — Garfield County Sheriff’s K9 Exhibition

5 p.m. — 4-H silent auction fundraiser begins

6 p.m. — Keynote speaker Karl Mecklenburg (adults $15, children 7-17 $6, children younger than 7 free)

7 p.m. — 4-H live auction

8 p.m. — Barn dance and live music by Tyler Rust Band

Saturday

9 a.m. to noon — Rollin’ Rendezvous Skate, Scooter and BMX contest, Rifle Action Park, 200 E. 16th St.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Car show in downtown Rifle on Third Street; event includes live performance by Whiskey Stomp, beer garden; annual Rifle Police Department Bike Rodeo

8 a.m. to 11 p.m. — Food and craft vendors

10–11 a.m. — Full Throttle Dance Company performance

11 a.m. to noon — Cutest cowboy and cowgirl contest

Noon to 1 p.m. — Best beard, whiskers contest noon

2-3 p.m. — ArtillumA Dance performance

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Charley Two Dogs and Loco Lobo Russell rope tricks

7-9 p.m. — Bucking Bulls

Sunday

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Food and craft vendors

10 a.m.to noon — Church services with Flat Tops Cowboy Church and Justin Todd Herod

1-2 p.m. — Sopris Alpaca Farm event

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Draft horse show

*Sunday Sundown night vigil on suicide awareness presented by Western Slope Hope

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.


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