Best Community Event
Boulder Creek Festival
Spring in Boulder isn’t complete without the Boulder Creek Festival. For 32 years, the annual festival that takes over the civic area between the Boulder Library and Central Park has served as an unofficial gateway to the summer, a chance for the community to come together, revel in live music, games and fun and give local vendors a chance to hock their wares. While plenty has changed about the Fest over three decades (this past year saw the entry of Team Player Productions as the fest’s organizer), the spirit of community cohesion has remained a constant. “We look forward to building upon what we did in our first year,” said Ryan Slater, spokesman from Team Player Productions. “The Boulder Creek Festival is Boulder’s festival, we want to showcase what makes Boulder great with every festival that we produce.” Downtown Boulder, bouldercreekfest.com.
Runner Up: Bolder Boulder, bolderboulder.com.
Best Farmers Market
Boulder County Farmers Market
Boulderites take their food seriously. It’s a passion that goes deeper than picking a conscientiously sourced restaurant or an organic grocery store. The Boulder County Farmers Market takes that communal passion seriously, and provides plenty of options for dedicated foodies of all backgrounds and interests. From produce plucked straight from the ground to milk drawn straight from the cow, the BCFM is the go-to source for those who want to know their food is ethically and reliably sourced. “The community has the opportunity to vote with their dollar – keep it local, support the future of farming in our county and help farmers continue stewarding our lands,” said BCFM spokeswoman Abby Hagstrom. “The market also serves as a safe and welcome place to gather with friends, neighbors and family.” Central Park, Boulder, 303.910.2236, bcfm.org.
Runner Up: Longmont Famers Market, bcfm.org/longmont-saturday.
Museum of Boulder
The Museum of Boulder isn’t simply about the city’s past. “The Museum collects, preserves and presents Boulder history in order to connect to the past, provide a context for the present and inspire a vision for the future,” the Museum’s mission statement reads, pointing to the importance of the facility’s work in mapping next steps for Boulder and its citizens. Whether it’s in-depth exhibits focused on city institutions or thought-provoking collections designed to track coming trends, the Museum’s work under the guidance of new Executive Director Lori Preston is constantly inspiring. “I look forward to strengthening our ties to the broad diversity of our community’s culture and securing the Museum’s place as a center of education and creativity,” Preston notes. 2205 Broadway, Boulder, 303.449.3464, museumofboulder.org.
Runner Up: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th St., Boulder, 303.443.2122, bmoca.org.
Best Old Town
The brain trust behind Louisville’s historic downtown stretch that includes restaurants, farmers markets, book stores and events likes to remind anyone who’ll listen that the charm of their old town isn’t anything new. “We’ve been keeping it real since 1877,” notes Rick Kron, president of the Louisville Downtown Business Association. While the downtown stretch in the 19th century certainly didn’t feature the sheer breadth of delicious eateries, hip hangouts and family events that it does now, Louisville has done a masterful job of investing a sense of its history in its more contemporary attractions. Whether you’re grabbing Italian fare at Zucca or picking up used books at Little Horse, a sense of place is never far away. “We have a managed growth philosophy that respects the past while recognizing the need for continual freshness and renewal,” Kron said. downtownlouisvilleco.com.
Runner Up: Downtown Boulder, bouldercolorado.gov.
Best Place to Entertain Kids
Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato
Geez, Glacier. Way to take home all the wins with your perfectly churned homemade ice cream, diabolical desserts and totally original kids-only zone. With BoCo Gold wins each of its 17 years in business, Glacier is still thriving due to one thing: innovation. Founder Mark Mallen is committed to constant improvement, whether it’s in the form of new dairy-free vegan and Paleo-friendly almond/coconut “creams,” homemade gluten-free brownies and cookies, loads of toppings that tots love, or even by-the-pint CBD-infused ice cream. “We carry 60 to 70 flavors in each store at a time,” Mallen says. “We also fresh-squeeze all of our citrus flavors like lemon gelato and key lime pie.” In fact, more than 1,000 flavors have been created to date, with new ones rolling out every week. 4760 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.499.4760; 3133 28th St., Boulder, 303.440.6542, glaciericecream.com.
Runner Up for Best Place to Entertain Kids: Pearl Street Mall, Pearl Street between 11th and 15th Streets, Boulder.
Best Place to Hear Live Music
Spirit Hound Distillers
It may be impossible to be all things to all people, but Spirit Hound Distillers sure make an admirable effort. According to representatives from the distillery based in Lyons, the organization has a simple mission: “To produce the highest-quality hand-crafted spirits possible.” To that end, Spirit Hound has released more than eighty barrels’ worth of whisky, fine spirits that incorporate Colorado ingredients and that seem to breathe with the spirit of the West. Their craft and attention in distilling spirits is impressive enough, but Spirit Hound does a lot more. The friendly, inviting and convivial atmosphere of the facility off the Ute Highway in Lyons makes the Spirit Hound headquarters one of our favorite places to drink, and its commitment to consistently booking the best local live bands makes it one of our favorite places to take in live music. It’s pretty impressive for a place that opened with a simple commitment to fine spirits. 4196 Ute Highway, Lyons, 303.823.5696, spirithounds.com.
Runner Up: Chautauqua Dining Hall, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.440.3776, chautauqua.com/dining-hall.