There is no shortage of standard summer offerings in Colorado. The bright Rocky Mountain weather means food festivals, art shows, outdoor concerts and parties are on the docket every weekend across the summer. And most of those are a perfectly enjoyable and reasonable way to spend a hot summer afternoon.
But wouldn’t you rather get a little weird, if only for a weekend?
You would, admit it.
So head to that always-under-appreciated spot on the windy mountain plains: Fairplay. And get your butt there on the last weekend in July, when Burro Days descends on the tiny town in Park County.
Since just after World War II ended, the festival has celebrated that noble beast that unfortunately shares a nickname with the derrière: the Burro.
This year, the 68th Annual Burro Days is slated for Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.
More than 10,000 people are expected — a crowd that dwarfs Fairplay’s regular population just shy of 700 people.
There, they’ll catch burro races — a truly bizarre form of endurance competition. Racers team with a burro, load it up with at least 30 pounds of gear and trek about 30 miles as fast as they can. While that might sound simple, anyone with any experiences with a stubborn ass donkey knows they don’t always cooperate. So while racers might be intent on trudging those 30 miles, the burro may be content just standing in town, not clip-clopping it’s way around the high plains. Or it could be the opposite. The racer might be content hustling along the course at a reasonable clip, and the burro could sprint along like they guzzled red Bull all morning.
Either way, it’s a sight worth seeing.
There’s also llama races and tons of booths slinging food and art.
And if burros or llamas aren’t your preferred mode of racing, they also race outhouses. Yes, they adorn those iconic outdoor commodes with wheels and sprint through town. It’s true, look it up.
There’s live music and dancing as well, and if you feel the need to repent come Sunday morning after wagering heavily with a pal on that favorite burro or sprinting john, don’t worry, they’ve got a cowboy church service lined up, too.
If you still aren’t convinced, consider this: Not only is this quintessentially-Colorado festival a sea of weirdness that other states can only dream of, it also benefits a more-than-worthy cause. Proceeds from the festival go to Park County schools. So watch an ass and help a kid in class. Win, win.
And if you’re wondering just how different this festival is, or whether organizers take themselves too seriously, consider this: the festival’s motto is “Get Your Ass Up the Pass.” That tells you all you need to know right there.
So go for it, make the close to two-hour trek from Aurora up to Fairplay.
Plus, you’ll leave with ass puns coming out for your, well, you can guess.
Other SUMMER FUN installments here: