Leadville celebrates mining history with Boom Days
Leadville was one of America’s longest-lived and bawdiest boomtowns during the gold and silver heydays of the 1880s, and it’s pulling out all of the stops for a three-day celebration of its heritage at the 65th annual Boom Days Festival, held Friday, Aug. 7, through Sunday, Aug. 9.
This Colorado festival offers entertainment and activities that range from mining competitions, a rod and gun show and live music to a street fair with historical reenactments, shootouts and appearances by Old West characters. The 21-mile Leadville Boom Days International Pack Burro Race, the second leg of Pack Burro Racing’s Triple Crown, tops off the weekend’s festivities on Sunday.
The food and craft fair kicks off the festival at 2 p.m. on Harrison Avenue, followed by the opening ceremony at 5 p.m. and the Cloud City Riders’ motorcycle games at 5:30 p.m. Leadville Cherokee, a locally based alternative rock band that’s gaining regional recognition, will perform at the Historic Tabor Opera House at 7 p.m., and a Boom Days Dance wraps up the evening at 8 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on West Fifth Street.
Saturday’s events begin with a pancake breakfast on the Lake County Courthouse lawn from 7 to 10:30 a.m. The annual Eagles Softball Tournament begins at 8 a.m. on the fields at Fifth and Leiter Street. At 9 a.m., a “Lift, Lift, Boom” Olympic weightlifting competition at the high school, the rod and gun show at the Sixth Street Gym and the street fair all begin, followed by the mining competitions behind the Elks Lodge — including jackleg drilling, spike driving, hand mucking and hand steel drilling — starting at 9:30 a.m.
The lively Boom Days parade begins at 10 a.m. and travels down Harrison Avenue for nearly two hours, followed by the Boom Days Belt Buckle Auction at the Lake County Courthouse. The Highest Elevation Boomin’ Auto Show also starts right after the parade and continues until 4 p.m. on Harrison Avenue. Live music begins at the Lions Club Beer Garden and at the Lake County Courthouse at 11:30 a.m. and continues throughout the weekend. The Elks Lodge will host another Boom Days Dance at 9 p.m.
There’s plenty of fun for the kids all weekend, as well, with train rides and a moon walk at the Lake County Courthouse Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, kids can enjoy a series of events just for them at 1 p.m. at the Lake County High School football field on West Fourth Street. Teen events at Ice Palace Park begin with a festival from 3 to 5 p.m. and continue with a DJ and dance music from 8 to 11 p.m.
Sunday’s festivities begin at 8 a.m., with another pancake breakfast on the courthouse lawn, Cowboy Church at the Tabor Opera House and the second day of the softball tournament. The street fair, team mining competitions and the rod and gun show all resume at 9 a.m., followed by a pie-eating contest at 10 a.m. and kids’ mining competitions at 11 a.m. The 21-mile Open Burro Race also begins at 11 a.m., with the 15-mile Women’s Burro Race beginning at 11:15 a.m. The Main Street events are next, including an 1880s costume mosey, costume contests, a water balloon toss and an egg toss at the courthouse. The burro racers start to return around 1:15 p.m.
Boom Days is a dog-free event. The most up-to-date schedule of events is available at http://www.leadvilleboomdays.com or by calling (855) 488-1222. During the event, visitors can check in at the information booth located in front of the courthouse and scan a QR code for details about scheduled activities.
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