Gold Rush Days, Buena Vista’s signature annual event, held each August for the past 39 years!

It is the celebration of our town’s heritage and history combined with: great free live Music, 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.  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



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.

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.