School is out, summer looms and Parker Days is just around the corner.
The 43rd annual carnival/music fest/beer fest/outdoor exposition will fill downtown Parker for four days starting June 6.
Parker Days is the town’s shining moment. It’s the jewel that some hear of before even learning of the Town of Parker itself. The event bends vacation schedules and quadruples the population of the town.
It’s like hosting a Denver Broncos football game in Parker, said Dennis Houston, the CEO of the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Parker Days is the best brochure we have for the Town of Parker and the people,” said Houston. “It gives the residents of Parker, it gives the people who maybe live in the city but grew up in a small town, a chance to hang out in a smaller community.”
And what makes them stay is nothing new: “Parker is either the hometown you grew up in or the one you wish you did,” Houston said.
Last year, Parker Days drew about 272,000 people over the course of the four-day festival, according to Houston. In 2013 that number was 125,000.
With all-free concerts, a streamlined ticket system and tweaks and touch-ups to improve the colossal event, Houston hopes for the biggest crowd yet in 2019.
“We’ve doubled the footprint of Parker Days,” Houston said. “As the festival was growing in success and popularity from attendees, it has grown exponentially.”
One type of ticket will be universally used for the entire festival — including for rides, drinks and food. The music lineup is made up of tribute bands hailed across the country. A “Nerf Turf” area will be off to the side to help burn some leftover energy pelting strangers or family members with Nerf darts.
The massive exposition of more than 250 local businesses will include a mix of boutique and arts and crafts tents. A Girl Scout activity tent will be set up, where small kids and toddlers can create crafts. Of course, there’s the kettle corn, cotton candy, kids’ carnival and Carnival Hill, standard with any Parker Days.
“Just looking at the sheer size of it, any one component of the festival could be the festival,” Houston said. “Regardless why you’re here — to ride the carnival rides or take in the sights or people watching — there’s something there for everybody.”
People will come from far and wide, Houston said, to visit Parker Days. It’s a chance to show off everything Parker has to offer. It has become the crux of everything Parker advertises itself to be, Houston said.
“It’s kind of like going back in time.”
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