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The sun sets on another summer

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But Summerset Festival, a 29-year tradition, will extend the season’s fun

By Ramsey Scott

As fall approaches, it’s time to say goodbye to summer.

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And what better way to do that than by taking part in a South Jeffco tradition that’s entering its 29th year? 

The Summerset Festival, which takes place at Clement Park this Friday through Sunday, has become a yearly ritual for many area residents. The three days of activities offer something for everyone, said Laura Knowlton, executive director of the Foothills Foundation.

“Everything at the festival is a highlight,” Knowlton said. “There are a lot of different attractions we’ve had year after year that bring people in.”

More than 30,000 people are expected to enjoy the free concerts and peruse the more than 200 exhibitors that will have their products and businesses on display. 

The festivities get started Friday with a picnic at Clement Park from 5 to 7 p.m., followed by a performance by Chase N The Dream, who will be entertaining with their blend of blues, jazz, reggae and R&B from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

The evening will be capped by the hot-air balloon glow at 9 p.m., followed by a fireworks show. The glow features numerous hot-air balloons hanging in the night sky while tethered to the ground. The glow is dedicated to the victims of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School and to everyone affected by that tragedy. 

On Saturday, festival-goers can check out more than 500 classic automobiles at the Wild West Auto Fest Car Show from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. just east of the Columbine Library. Knowlton said the car show is one of the biggest draws at the festival each year.

But if classic modes of transportation aren’t your speed, there will be a softball tournament, arts and crafts, kids activities and a full day of music. 

“And then, of course, there’s the food,” Knowlton said. 

The festival will feature 16 different food vendors, including two new additions: crepes and authentic Filipino food, Knowlton said. 

Sunday will see the return of the fishing derby. The tournament was canceled last year due to an outbreak of algae blooms in the reservoir. The derby is from 7 to 10 a.m., and registration is at shelter six the morning of the event. 

Aquatic life won’t be the only thing on display Sunday. The Woof Walk is back, and Knowlton expects to match last year’s total of about 100 dogs and their human companions. 

The Woof Walk was started by Girl Scout Troop 2198 to raise money for local animal shelters in the metro area. In its first year, in 2012, the walk raised more than $2,500. 

And no need to take Fido home after the walk: Sunday is Fun Day for Dogs, which features canine-related events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To find out more about Summerset, or to sign up for the Woof Walk or other events, visit www.summersetfest.com.