City sizzles with summer festival |

City sizzles with summer festival

Kimberly Nicoletti

DENVER – Want a hot taste of the city this weekend? The People’s Fair offers a big bite of Denver on one plate.

People’s Fair features 90 bands on six stages, more than 350 arts and crafts exhibitors, 40 food vendors, a full carnival, interactive games and a go-cart track. Plus, there’s free swing dance lessons, face-painting, henna body art, tarot card readings, clowns, magicians and, of course, chair massages to recuperate from it all.

“It’s a rite of summer,” president of People’s Fair, Tom Knorr, said. “It’s the first outside party. It’s such a tradition that the diverse Denver community can come together in one place and enjoy all that Denver has to offer.”

People’s Fair maintains its reputation as Colorado’s premier arts and crafts festival by hand-picking exhibitors, who offer unique items such as jewelry, metal crafts, candles, drawings, children’s items, leather, sculpture and photography.

Ninety of Denver’s highest-energy bands beat out more than 350 applicants at a competition last March to invigorate the fair. The main stage features acts such as Cabaret Diosa, Judge Roughneck, Brethren Fast, North 40 and Opie Gone Bad.

Cabaret Diosa heats up the main stage at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with mambo and cha-cha rhythms. The nine-piece band creates layers of Cuban sounds with a trumpet, saxophone, flute, viola, guitar, piano, drums, congas, acoustic stand-up bass and vocals. The band has morphed 1930s Cuban love songs into a psychedelic gypsy mambo.

“Our mission is to form a scene where strangers could meet on a crowded dance floor by the light of a thousand tiki torches,” bandmember Juan DelQueso said. “We encourage people to dress in costume, with lots of glitter, lots of sequins.”

Brethren Fast wears its share of sequins as the members mix rockabilly and funk to create an electrified, hillbilly, hot-rod, funk sound from 3:40-4:40 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s like Johnny Cash and Elvis mixed with James Brown,” bandmember Mik Messina said. “We just have fun and then make a groove out of it. We’re into hot rods and motorcycles, so we draw that crowd.”

“They’re fun-loving guys that just want to spread joy,” manager Krista Koehler said. “Their whole goal is to make people happy with their music.”

Judge Roughneck mixes ska and reggae from 7-8 p.m. Saturday with a seven-piece band, including a full horn section.

“The horn section is crazy,” guitarist Chris Reidy said. “They’re not the standard horn section in the background. They run around. They’re totally entertainers, especially the sax player. He’s like no other. Bring your dance shoes.”

For a schedule of events, visit the Web site,, or call (303) 830-1651.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

CHUN Capitol Hill People’s Fair

– When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2

– Where: Civic Center Park, Denver

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