Home Page

Hoping for drier weather than 2013, Folk Art Festival back for 36th year at Rock Ledge Ranch

       Long-time shoppers at the annual Folk Art Festival will notice a few layout changes this year, but otherwise the event Sept. 12-14 will have the same features as usual, according to organizer Kathy Read.
       The location will again be the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, with parking off Gateway Road at 30th Street. Now in its 36th year, the event is a major fundraiser for the ranch.
The rains were so steady in the week leading up to last September's 35th annual Folk Art Festival that a one-time reservoir above Rock Ledge Ranch - which no longer has a water source leading to it - filled up and stayed that way for a few weeks. The photo above was shot on the second day of the 2013 festival (Sept. 14). It had to be cancelled on the first day and half of the third day because of the unusually wet weather.
Westside Pioneer file photo
       On hand once more will be about 165 juried-in artisans and crafters from Colorado and surrounding states, who will rent space for the three days inside tents erected on the Rock Ledge hayfield between the blacksmith shop and the historic Rock Ledge House. Among them will be “a ton of new people,” who will replace several former space-renters who have retired, Read said.
       The admission costs and daily times are also unchanged. The entry fee is $6, which is good for all three days. The festival will be open Sept. 12 from noon to 6 p.m., Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
       Read said the main differences this year will be:
       - The event footprint. Everything is being moved about 50 feet south to avoid a spring that started mysteriously bubbling up in the hayfield this summer and leaving a muddy mess.
       - The entrance. Instead of an aging ticket booth that had to be rented each year from a local rental business, a 16-by-16-foot tent will help with admission lines this year.
       - The type of tents for the artisans/crafters. There will be five smaller tents instead of three larger ones (as before), which will allow more layout flexibility and better foot-traffic flow.
       As part of the latter change, “we tried to get everyone where they were before,” Read said, in terms of where returning space-renters are being located. “We think they'll all be happy.”
       The one thing she can't control is the weather. Half of the 2013 event had to be canceled because of heavy rains that also washed out two Rock Ledge footbridges over Camp Creek.
       In the 28 years that Read has set up the festival at the city-owned Rock Ledge site, she has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds to the ranch. The money, combined with grants, other donations and city support, have allowed full historic restoration of both the Rock Ledge and Orchard houses. A plan for more recent festival funds, Read said, is to buy and install a working windmill - the type that would have been used by early pioneers..

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/4/14; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)