This will be Durango Fiesta Days‘ 79th year, but the event is as spry as ever and doesn’t look a day over 48. The rodeo-packed weekend runs July 24-27 with team roping events kicking things off Thursday, a rodeo on Friday night, and a parade and rodeo on Saturday. The whole shebang wraps up with — you guessed it — a rodeo on Sunday.
The four-day festival celebrates Durango’s Spanish heritage and Old West history with plenty of rodeo events, including barrel races and roping, a pancake breakfast and a chuckwagon cook-off, as well as a downtown parade, street dance, petting zoo and cowboy church.
Actually, you could say Fiesta Days kicks off next week with the Snow Top Exceptional Rodeo on Tuesday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. The rodeo is a sort of pre-show to Fiesta Days and is intended for local youths, although everyone is welcome to attend. Live music gets things started at 9 a.m., followed by a an exhibition rodeo from 10-11 a.m., and the Snow Top rodeo — with about 40 adults and youths who have special needs participating — starts at 11 a.m. The day includes hot dogs, a petting zoo and hay rides.
Fiesta Days got its start in 1935 as the “Spanish Trails Fiesta.” Community leaders put on the event to bring together Southwest Colorado’s diverse cultures. The first festival attracted native tribes from the Four Corners area that camped along the Animas River, and the first festival queen rode down Main Street wearing a Spanish Mantilla. Although the festival has undergone a couple of name changes over the past 79 years, organizers say the intent remains the same: Bring the town together to celebrate the region’s heritage and diverse cultures. Oh, and enjoy some good ol’ fashioned rodeo. And barbecue. And pancakes.