Gold Rush Days, Buena Vista’s signature annual event, held each August for the past 38 years!

It is the celebration of our town’s heritage and history combined with: great free live Music (including headliner Chris Daniels & the Kings), Art & Craft Fair with 100 plus vendors, Kids games, water events and bungee jumps, Beer Garden & Food, Historical Reenactments, Duck Races (click to buy a ticket), Toilet Seat Races and the Burro Race Triple Crown.  See FULL Schedule below.  Plus, many local businesses in Buena Vista offer great shopping, incredible food selections and live music each evening.  Come and share in this family-friendly fun event for one and all.  Held at McPhelemy Park – Hwy 24 and Main Street.  

Scroll down for the full two day event schedule!

Art & Craft Fair:  
Buena Vista’s largest annual art and craft fair takes place during Gold Rush Days.  There are over 100 booths featuring unique items including metal work, photography, pottery, custom jewelry, clothing, musical instruments, and much more.  Stroll through the vendors booths, enjoy the music nearby and visit the historical reenactments.  Held at McPhelemy Park.        

Local and McPhelemy Park Cuisine:  
Enjoy a variety a cuisine such BBQ, sandwiches, tacos, snacks, hot dogs and brats, ice cream, smoothies, shaved ice, Kettle Corn, pop corn and the Beer /Wine Garden at McPhelemy Park.  Or, wander through Main St. and South Main St. for a large variety of local food and beverages.  Then savor it while listening to the Free live music.             

Kids Events:  
Kids can participate in the toilet seat race sponsored by A Variations Catering.  Held Sunday, August 12 at 12:00pm.  Toilet Seat Races will be held at/on Lake Street by the Lake side Hotel on the West side of McPhelemy Park!  Adults can comptete too! 

The large variety of Gold Rush Days vendors offer games in the park, along with trying out paddling a kayak or paddleboarding on the Town Lake, or playing on the lake in bubbles, and reaching for the sky on the bungee jump.  Next kiddos can stop and get their face painted.  Then dance and tumble with the live bands and share in our small town charm.  All held at McPhelemy Park – hwy 24 and Main St.. 

Live Music: 
Enjoy music at FREE concerts throughout both days at the entertainment tent and adjoining Beer Garden in the park. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy!  Held at McPhelemy Park. For more information on the bands see below on page. 
The schedule is as follows:
Saturday, August 11th
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Mountain Mantra
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Blue Recluse
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Chris Daniels and the Kings
Sunday, August 12th
10:30 AM -12:00 PM – Erin Jane Cooper
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM – Felony and Sin
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM – Pint and a Half



GOLD RUSH Days Schedule Saturday, Aug 11
8am – 10:30am – Optimist Club Pancake Breakfast – Held at Columbine Park (next to K’s Dairy Delight) on Hwy 24S

9am – 5 pm Gold Rush Arts & Craft Fair in McPhelemy (Town Lake) Park.
BV’s largest annual art and craft fair plus, kids games & water events, live music and beer garden and historical reenactments.

9am – 5pm Duck Race Tickets for Sale at McPhelemy Park booth by Beer Garden.

9am – 5pm First Colorado Company D will host throughout the day demonstrations, tea and much more – go to the encampment for schedule. Held in the Civil War Camp in McPhelemy Park.

10 am Civil War Recruiting Station. Held at the Buena Vista Heritage Depot
(SW corner of McPhelemy Park).

10am – 3pm Oddities Display. In the courtroom of the Heritage Museum 506 E.
Main. Family friendly. $1 per a person, 5 and under free.

10:00am – 5pm Beer Garden sponsored by Elevation Beer & Rally Liquor.

10:30am – 12:30pm – Free Concert by Mountain Mantra Held at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

11am – 4pm Kayaking & Paddleboarding on McPhelemy Park Town Lake. Only $5
kayaking on both Saturday & Sunday. East side of lake.

11am A Comic Gunfight and Show taken from a historical moments in
Buena Vista’s history. Sponsored and directed by Jim Vowell of Fairway Independent Mortgage.

12pm Victoria’s Secrets. At the Buena Vista Heritage Depot
(SW corner of McPhelemy Park)

1pm 1800’s Costume Contest for one and all. Best man, women and child
wins a free Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort Pass a $70.00 value. At
the Buena Vista Heritage Depot (SW corner of McPhelemy Park).

1pm -3pm Free Concert Blue Recluse at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

2:00pm 1861 Springfield Musket Demonstration presented by the First
CO Company D at BV Heritage Depot (SW corner of McPhelemy Park).

3:30pm-5:30pm – Free Concert Headliner, Chris Daniels and the Kings with Freddie Gowdy
Held at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

7:00pm Medicine Man Show. At the Courthouse Museum 506 E Main St. Tickets for sale at the door $10.00.

8:30pm Czestekova Sideshow. At the Heritage Museum 506 E. Main st. ADULTS ONLY. $15/ ticket, 21+ only.

Evening Enjoy live music and food at a variety of town venues.

GOLD RUSH Days Schedule Sunday, Aug 12
8:00am Registration Burro Race. East Main St. and Railroad St.

8:30am Free Concert Enchanted Strings Celtic & More at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

9am – 10am Cowboy Church enjoy this old time nondenominational service. Held at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

9:55am Blessing of the Burros near Town Hall, 210 E. Main St.
10am Triple Crown Pack Burro Race Start. The Burro Race begins in front of Town Hall running East to Midland Trail.

10am-4:30pm Beer Garden sponsored by Elevation Beer & Rally Liquor.

10am – 4 pm Gold Rush Arts & Craft Fair in McPhelemy (Town Lake) Park.

10am – 4pm First Colorado Company D will host throughout the day go to the encampment for schedule. At the Civil War Camp, in McPhelemy Park.

10am – 3pm Oddities Display. In the courtroom of the Heritage Museum 506 E.
Main. Family friendly. $1 per a person, 5 and under free.

10am – 2pm Duck Race Tickets for Sale McPhemely Park booth by Beer Garden.

10am – 2pm Buena Vista Farmers Market held at the Beach at South Main St.

10am Civil War Recruiting Station. At the Buena Vista Heritage Depot

10:30am – 12:00 Free Concert Erin Jane Cooper. McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

11am – 2pm Kayaking/Paddleboarding on McPhelemy Town Lake. Only $5

11am “Yield not to temptation or a promise to mother” 1863 tableau vivante in 7 parts, presented by the reenactors of the First Colorado Civil War Company D. At BV Heritage Depot corner of McPhelemy Park.

12pm Toilet Seat Races sponsored by A Variations Catering. Held on Lake Street by Lakeside Hotel west side of McPhelemy Park.

1pm Victoria’s Secrets. This is a Victorian undergarment demonstration. Held at BV Heritage Depot corner of McPhelemy Park.

12:30pm – 2pm Free Concert Felony & Sin held at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

2pm 1861 Springfield Musket Demonstration with the First Colorado Company D. At BV Heritage Depot corner of McPhelemy Park.-

2:30pm Duck Races sponsored by Liars’ Lodge, Rainbow Lake Resort and Rally Liquor. Held at McPhelemy Park Town Lake.

2:30pm – 4:30pm – Free Concert Pint and a Half held at McPhelemy Park entertainment tent.

Evening Enjoy live music and food at a variety of town venues.

Historical Reenactments: 
Learn first-hand about the history of our area with a variety of historical reenactments occurring both days. Meet the McPhelemy’s and Alsina Deerhammer on he Cemetary Tour held Friday, Aug. 10.  First Colorado Company D will host throughout the day demonstartions, tea and much more go to the encampment in McPhelemy Park for a full schedule. Buena Vista Heritage Museum is hosting many events (see schedule above): Civil War Recruiting Station, Oddities Display, Musket Demonstration, Victoria’s Secrets, 1861 Springfield Musket Demonstration, Medicine Man Show, and Czestekova Sideshow (the last two events require tickets).  Also visit the Buena Vista Heritage Museum on East Main Street or the Depot at McPhelemy Park for only $1.00 each day.

Free Show – A Comic Gunfight and Show is offered Saturday, Aug 11 at 11:00am at the Depot.  

JOIN US in Dressing UP!
Please join us by dressing up in your own 1800’s attire.  It’s fun and adds to the festivities.  To enter show up on Saturday, August 11 at 12:50pm at the Depot at McPhelemy Park to be judged for best costume.  Best women’s, men’s and child costume each WIN a Mount Princeton Hot Springs Pass good for two a $70.00 value.  

Duck Race: 
The McPhelemy Park town lake turns into duck soup during the annual duck race, when rubber duckies float in the current to the finish line. The first to cross wins $500, the last wins $250. Tickets cost $5 each and can be purchased at the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, Rally Liquor, HIgh Country Bank, Community Bank or Collegiate Peaks Bank prior to the event or at the Beer Garden and information booth during the event.  Held at McPhelemy Park Sunday, August 12 at 2:30pm.  Buy your ticketSponsored by Liars’ Lodge, Rainbow Lake Resort, and Rally Liqour.



Burro Race Triple Crown: 
The 3rd leg of the famous Triple Crown Burro Race (which has taken place for 68 years) is part of the Gold Rush Days celebration. Don’t miss cheering the burros on as they take off from the start line on Main Street, Sunday, August 12 at 10:00am. Later in the day attend the awards ceremony. Hosted by the Pack Burros Association.
About The Triple Crown Burro Race:
The first burro race was 66 years ago and consisted of a 23 mile burro race that started in Leadville, traversed Mosquito Pass, and finished in Fairplay. Pack Burro racing has evolved from that single race to a series of six races in Central City, Cripple Creek, Frisco, Fairplay, Leadville and Buena Vista. The last three races are considered the “Triple Crown” of pack burro racing. Oscar Chapa conceived the “Triple Crown” concept to celebrate the Centennial year of the town of Buena Vista in 1879 and the tradition has been taking place ever since.

The Buena Vista Pack Burro race is held the second weekend of August during Gold Rush Days. The race is a 13.5 mile running event in which a runner runs with a burro loaded with 33 pounds of mining gear, including a pick and shovel on his pack saddle. The 13.5 mile loop starts in front of Town Hall on East Main Street. The first obstacle is the railroad tracks and then the footbridge across the Arkansas River. Once across the bridge, the course zigzags on the Whipple Trail up to the Midland Railroad grade (County Road 304). The course follows this old railroad bed for approximately 3.5 miles. At the parking area, which is a good spot for spectators, the course bears to the left and continues for approximately 1.5 miles where it intersects the old Midland cutoff road. The course heads south down to the Midland grade bike trail which the runners follow back to County Road 304, continuing on back to town, crossing that bridge again and up Main Street to the finish line at the Railroad tracks.

A Very Special THANK YOU to our GOLD Rush Days Sponsors.

Sign Up for a Gold Rush Days Booth a few openings are still available.  Your product assortment and how it compliments this semi-juried show will be reviewed.  You will be notified as soon as possible within next business day of opening for final acceptance.  Thank you for applying.  Click here to sign up.  


Mountain Mantra
Playing Saturday, August 11th from 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM  

Mountain Mantra
Tami Deal, Michael DiLillo and Bill Kelly make the molten core of Mountain Mantra. Recently, Bill Gray has been accompanying them on bass. Buena Vista’s local folk-rock crew came together in open mic sessions through shared love of rock, blues and Neil Young inspired songcraft. DiLillo’s chromatic harmonica lightning drives the acoustic rhythm section while Kelly and Deal share vocal responsibility on many original songs and reclaimed sing-along hits. All three are seasoned musicians who log the extra hours of a practicing band with an extensive catalog to their careers out of a great passion for music. The moniker Mountain Mantra is a perfect fit.

Blue Recluse
Playing Saturday, August 11th from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM 

Blue Recluse
Blue Recluse Featuring Shawntel Royale worked the Austin music scene for nine years before the sultry lead vocalist returned to Colorado. She reconnected with college friends, including bassist Chris Hudson, now her husband and one half of a solid rhythm section with drummer Ernie Mose. Royale’s powerful, passionate vocals reflect her main musical influences: Koko Taylor, Etta James and Susan Tedeschi. Mike Twarogowski plays classic electric blues guitar and Earnie Hatfield adds soulful keyboard riffs. Blue Recluse is one of the best blues-rock bands in Colorado. They reignite classic blues and soul music making full use of Royale’s strident wail and the band’s virtuoso keyboard and guitar jams. Blue Recluse has been penning new classics of their own and has had a notable entry in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest as well as an album in the works. The band has been in demand throughout Colorado all of this year. See the Tiny Desk Contest entry “Close My Windows” here:

Chris Daniels and the Kings (with Freddie Gowdy)
Playing Saturday, August 11th from 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM 

Chris Daniels and the Kings (with Freddie Gowdy)
Doing more than 120 dates per year touring over two continents, Daniels and his band have been invited to appear in such diverse places as The Down Home Blues Festival in South Carolina, The Bob Hope Chrysler Desert Classic, The Curacao Swing Festival (South America), and all over Europe. Chris was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2013. He has appeared with the Garth Brooks, B.B.King, Vince, Gill, Amy Grant, Joe Walsh, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Oates, The Lumineers, Uncle Cracker, Blues Traveler, The Neville Brothers, and many more. Daniels just released his 15th CD “Blues With Horns,” a collection of new songs and some of the best horn-drenched classics from the likes of Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Bobby Blue Bland. He recovered from illness that took him away from touring through the early 2010’s, but he is back with a vengeance along with renowned backing band “The Kings,” and veteran Colorado funk/soul singer Freddi Gowdy to headline Gold Rush Days.

Erin Jane Cooper
Playing Sunday, August 12th from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM  

Erin Jane Cooper
The perfect way to start a Sunday of local songwrting talent, Erin Jane Cooper brings decades of classical piano, jazz, rock and jam-band experience to bear in her recent outings as a solo artist. Cooper has been writing music with the tenderness and guts of a peaceful warrior. Her reedy vocals can shimmer, prance or ache, just like her piano, doing rhythm melody and harmony duties all inclusive. She is one of Buena Vista’s finest and a regular in the small spaces of House Rock Patio and Vino Salida. Hearing her through the full sound system of Gold Rush Days is likely to leave a lasting impression.

Felony & Sin
Playing Sunday, August 12th from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM 

Felony and Sin
Recently married Matt Hakala and Claudia Juhrs are Buena Vista locals that had to have three weddings just to accommodate
their friends and roots all over the world. Hakala has been writing music through the majority of his travels from Colorado
to Texas, Hawaii, the Far East with many detours along the way. The singer and guitarist is currently teaching tabla drum lessons in Buena Vista. With the addition of Juhrs’ enchanting voice and prowess on a planet of percussion, they can carry any scenario in Hakala’s songwriting notebook, whether it be rusty-familiar neighborhood snapshots or the unashamed bonejumping energy of a make-up. The couple sums up their musical explorations as simply, “following the heart”. The first Felony and Sin album was recorded more as a gift to each other in a friend’s pro studio in Austin. They sat on this wonderful music and released it only online and to friends and family. Now having just printed a new EP drawing on an extensive backlog of songs, Felony and Sin will debut at Gold Rush Days to finally share their music live.

Pint and a Half
Playing Sunday, August 12th from 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM 

Pint and a Half
The alt-country duo of Duke and Tami Sheppard has been a staple of clubs and festivals in Salida and Buena Vista since 2014. They have reached new heights in this past year, touring behind a second album, “Boomtown Ghosts” and adding new songs along the way. They have been signed to Don Richmond’s Howlin’ Dog Records and the label support has brought them around the country. The wit, cheer, humility and nostalgia in Sheppard’s songs reel in a growing fan-base with each new venue. These hometown sweethearts have been entertaining together for years enough to qualify as veterans, but the music comes always with freshness and focus. As they dedicate more fully to their musical calling, they are defining the modern mountain sound to the world.