The Fruita Fall Festival, celebrated annually the last weekend of September, has been around for over 100 years. The first festival held in 1914 was called the Cowpunchers' Reunion, and featured two days of horse races, bull riding, and roping contests for cowboys. It took place in September after cattle had been rounded up and produce had been harvested. Women showcased their crafts, fruits, vegetables, jellies, jams and baked goods. Late night dances, with whiskey in trunks of cars, capped off the festivities in the evenings.
After World War II, two other festivals, the Hunters Roundup and the Harvest Carnival began in Fruita. The Hunters Roundup gathered people together for a parade, barbeque, carnival, and vendor booths a week before hunting season began, while the Harvest Carnival was a benefit for Fruita Chamber of Commerce's memorial building fund and a means of raising money for lower valley projects.
In the 1970s, with the end of the cowpunching and moonshining eras, the Cowpunchers' Reunion, Hunters Roundup, and Harvest Carnival combined to become the present-day Fruita Fall Festival. Often referred to as the "Granddaddy of Festivals on the Western Slope", the festival offers three days of events, including a parade, outhouse race, carnival, disc golf tournament, over 125 assorted vendors, and live music on two different stages. This year, the event will take place September 23-25, 2016. The Circle Park Stage will feature number one hit recording artists, The Georgia Satellites, and Country music legend, Darryl Worley, as well as regional and national bluegrass bands. The Civic Center Pavilion Stage will feature comedian, Sam Adams, and a mix of high profile local musical acts.
For a complete schedule of 2016 events or to learn more about the Fruita Fall Festival, click here.