Bigger and better: Windsor Harvest Festival celebrates town’s 125th anniversary |

Bigger and better: Windsor Harvest Festival celebrates town’s 125th anniversary

Allison Dyer Bluemel

For the coordinators of Windsor 2015 Harvest Festival next weekend two goals came to mind: bigger and better.

"This year is going to be different," festival Chairman Casey Johnson said.

While in years past the celebration has brought between 20,000 and 30,000 people out, organizers hope that a bigger band, more vendors and new events will drawn in more attendees over the three-day, Labor Day festival.

"I think the biggest draw is that it's all outdoors," he said.

Earlier this year, organizers approached the town board with a $12,000 funding request in order to bring in a larger entertainer. The money went to good use, as they were able to book country music singer JT Hodges for Saturday at Boardwalk Park.

"That's the first thing that's bigger," Johnson said. "We went down the country route because it fits most of the genre in Windsor in that it was easy going and wasn't too hard rock. We wanted a family-friendly crowd for that event."

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The festival stayed on its budget of $35,000 and used the entire band funding for Hodges's act, Johnson said.

Aside from Saturday's entertainment in Boardwalk Park, the festival will be based out of Windsor's Main Park.

Additionally, Sunday will feature a stage display of a Black Hawk helicopter from the Colorado National Guard, he said.

Between events, attendees will have 187 booths of vendors to visit from across the western U.S. This year's numbers breaks the previous record of 150 booths.

"It's mostly just because of the 125th anniversary," Johnson said. "We really didn't market too much more."

The vendors will provide everything from hand-made goods to food to information on their products, he said.

"It's a very good mix and it varies," Johnson said.

Despite the new facets, he still thinks that the most exciting part of the festival will be the parade, which also has a record number of entries at 93 floats, compared to slightly more than 80 in the past.

To tie in with the festival, alumni of Windsor schools will also enter a float as part of their All School Reunion taking place the same weekend, he said.

The Water Valley Bulls on the Beach event — a sponsor of the festival — has also worked to schedule their events around the festival lineup so residents can get the most out of the weekend.

"There's a good partnership as well with them," Johnson said. "(A big draw) is getting people to be with the rest of the community members and family and friends and see the entertainment, the booths and just being able to get out and be in the park."

This year will also mark the return of the Windsor Harvest Festival Home and Garden Show's return to Main Park. The move should help increase participation in the event and bring it more exposure, he said.

The theme of the festival matches identically with the town of Windsor's overall anniversary campaign: "honoring our past and celebrating our future."

The first part is easy when it involves reflecting on the festival's past successes as a small, community centered event that hasn't lost its identity while drawing in attendees from the metro Denver area.

"We're really community orientated and we don't have a lot of pull from outside," he said. "We try to keep things centrally located."

However, this year's organization of the event wasn't without its hurdles and growing pains.

When gathering the higher number of vendors, organizers had to make numerous phone calls following up with businesses to find out what exactly it was they sold and would be bringing to the festival.

The Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off has also impacted the festival's hot air balloon show on Sunday, brining the number of entries down from the average of a dozen to eight.

Regardless, Johnson looks forward to a successful year at the festival and — while the festival will go back to booking local bands for the 2016 event — believes organizers will learn from this year's celebration.

"I think next year we're going to try and examine what we did well this year and what we didn't do well this year and make things better based on that."

Harvest Festival Schedule:

Saturday’s Events

4:30 – 6:30 p.m.: All Town BBQ at Boardwalk Park, Fifth and Main streets. All proceeds go to the Windsor After Prom, $5 meal deal with concessions afterwards provided by the Windsor SALT Group.

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.: The Sean Curtis Band plays at Boardwalk Park.

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.: JT Hodges plays at Boardwalk Park.

6:00 – 9:00 p.m.: Windsor Harvest Festival Street Dance and Free Concert at Boardwalk Park.

*Firework parking is not allowed on Colo. 257. The town also asks motorists to respect private property boundaries unless they have landowner permission.

Sunday’s Events

7 a.m.: Hot Air Balloon Launch (weather permitting) at Eastman Park. The event is open to the public.

7 – 11 a.m.: Lions Club Pancake Breakfast at the Windsor Middle School Cafeteria.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Arts and crafts, commercial and food booths, kid’s amusement rides and games at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Horse drawn carriage rides at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

10 – 11 a.m.: Church service in the park presented by Cornerstone Baptist Church at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Windsor car “cruise-in” at Eastman Park. $10 per car to enter with free admission.

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Home and Garden Show at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Colorado Swing Big Band plays at Boardwalk Park.

Noon – 5 p.m.: Beer garden hosted by the Windsor Rotary Club at Main Park.

Noon – 6 p.m.: Lions Club Bingo at the southeast corner of Main Park under the white tent.

1:30 to 2:30 p.m.: The Groove Dudes play at Boardwalk Park.

2 – 4 p.m.: Kids and adults games, including a pie eating contest, at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

3 – 5 p.m.: The Steve Manshel Band plays at Boardwalk Park.

4 – 6 p.m.: Bulls on the beach at Water Valley South.

7 -10 p.m.: Bulls on the beach concert and dance at Water Valley South.

8:30 p.m.: Free movie in the park at Boardwalk Park, movie to be announced.

Monday’s Events

7:00 a.m.: Parade Lineup for Parade Entries beginning at Walnut Street and Chimney Park Drive. Participants should follow instructions emailed to them.

7:30 a.m.: Labor Day 5k Run/Walk at Boardwalk Park, 100 N. Fifth St. Call (970) 674-3500 for more information.

8 – 8:45 a.m.: Kiddie Parade and Judging at Third and Walnut streets.

9 a.m.: Windsor Harvest Festival parade runs west of Walnut Street to Seventh Street then south on Seventh Street to Eastman Park Drive.

10 a.m.- 5 p.m.: Arts and crafts, commercial and food booths, kids amusement rides and games at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Horse drawn carriage rides on the north side of Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

11 a.m.: The Emma Marie Band plays at Boardwalk Park.

Noon – 5 p.m.: Beer garden hosted by the Windsor Rotary Club at Main Park.

Noon – 5 p.m.: Lions Club bingo on the southeast corner of Main Park under the white tent.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Equally Challenged plays at Boardwalk Park.

2 – 3 p.m.: Daddy Rab plays at Boardwalk Park.

2 – 4 p.m.: Home and Garden Show exhibits released and awards presented at Windsor Main Park, 300 Locust St.

3:30 – 5 p.m.: George Gray and the Elvis Experience play at Boardwalk Park.

For more information on the Harvest Festival visit

Home and Garden Show Information

The Home and Garden show will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the show’s new location in the southeast corner of Main Park, 301 Locust St.

Entries to the show will be accepted from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Exhibits can be picked up from 4 – 5 p.m. on Monday.

Participants can only enter one item per lot in a class and some categories may be combined for final judging.

This year, the Harvest Festival Committee will sponsor the fair.

Questions can be directed to Deb Harper or Alison Ikenouye at (970) 686-5037 or (970) 310-0878.

General rules and exhibit regulations are as follows:

» All entries must have been made during the past year and must be entered by the person who made them.

» All exhibits are classed open.

» All entries must be entered by 1 p.m. Saturday for judging.

» Any entries not picked up by 4:45 p.m. on Monday will be discarded.

» Exhibitors must have grown their entries in the vegetables and flowers section in their own gardens or farms. Everyone exhibiting flowers must provide a container for display.

» Exhibits in the canning classes must be in standard brand names jars with matching lids and canned since the 2008 fair by the person who entered them. Each jar must have product, date canned, method of processing including length and altitude labeled.

» All vegetables, except tomatoes, must be pressure canned and the exhibitors name should not be on the label. All entries canned must be under USDA recommendations.

» All paintings and drawings entered in the arts classes must be mounted and the exhibitor must provide their own easel for display.

» Entries deemed unworthy will not be awarded a ribbon. First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded at the judges’ discretion.

» Additional lots may be established at the discretion of the committee or judges.