Wonderful coming in big this year at Stanley Marketplace


Sorry, dad rockers of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Despite claims that the likes of The Allman Brothers, Tom Petty and Pink Floyd would be headlining an event in Aurora this weekend, those rock legends are staying a safe arms-length away from Colorado’s third-largest city.

But tributes to those iconic groups and others, as well as an increased docket of food, drink and retail offerings, will be storming into Stanley Marketplace on Dallas Street July 7-July 9.

The second annual The Big Wonderful at Stanley is invading four different areas of Aurora’s newest urban marketplace this weekend, doubling the already massive bazaar’s offerings, according to Josh Sampson, founder of the posh summertime gathering that has bounced around the metro area for the past four years.

“We’ll be occupying the jetway, hangar, patio and parking lot,” Sampson wrote in an email. “The Stanley Marketplace will double in size and experience when we are there.”

More than 60 food and retail vendors, and another 60 craft beverage makers, will be hawking their wares at various points throughout the weekend. A craft beerfest, with beer, cider and wine from more than five dozen regional purveyors is scheduled to take place Friday evening, while a pair of bazaars are slated to set up during the evening Saturday and during the day Sunday, according to a press release. Discounts will be offered to shoppers who show a Big Wonderful wristband.

Tribute bands specializing in songs by Sublime, Ween, Tom Petty, Blind Melon, The Allman Brothers and others will be performing throughout the weekend.

The Big Wonderful gathering at Stanley is three times longer this year than it was in 2016, when the event was a one-day-long pop-up festival in the field beside the former aviation manufacturing plant.

Bryant Palmer, a spokesman for Stanley, said Stanley and The Big Wonderful make for a natural marriage.

“We are always striving to be a showcase for food and art and culture, a gathering place for our various communities, and a celebration of local businesses,” Palmer wrote in an email. “TheBigWonderful helps us with all three of those missions.”

Palmer added that the Stanley founders first met a pair of business owners who now have brick-and-mortar shops in Stanley at a Big Wonderful event in Denver two years ago. He said the event could continue to serve as a conduit for magnetizing new businesses to the massive facility at 2501 Dallas St.

“We love getting to know all the local makers featured at TheBigWonderful and helping them find success,” he said in an email. “And we wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the craft vendors of this TheBigWonderful end up as brick-and-mortar Aurora businesses, too.”

Residents in the surrounding Aurora and Stapleton neighborhoods initially pushed back against the festival before its original incarnation at Stanley last year, claiming the event would bring too much noise and commotion to the generally quiet, suburban enclave. The event was held last year without incident, and Sampson said there have been no complaints this time around.

Palmer said the Stanley team has received one email asking about potential noise at the gathering this year.

The Big Wonderful held its first event of the season at a former Denver Post printing plant in north Denver about two months ago. The gathering is slated to return to that venue for an Oktoberfest-style event the last weekend of September, according to a press release.

The Big Wonderful
at Stanley Marketplace

July 7, 8 and 9. Times vary. Tickets range from $5 (access to the daytime marketplace July 9) to $59 for all weekend access. Visit thebigwonderful.com or The Big Wonderful Facebook page for more information.