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Festival of the West, Inc. Records, 1975-2004

Identifier: Series-186

Scope and Contents

The Festival of the West records are arranged chronologically as originally received, into three series. Original folder titles were maintained where possible.

Series I: Administrative Files contains budget and accounting records such as annual budget requests, cash flow reports, and revenue and expenditures; contracts and agreements between the county and the Festival of the West, agreements for law enforcement services and contracts for fireworks; liability insurance documents; fireworks display permits, bonds and special event permits; festival committee meeting minutes; vendor applications, correspondence and surveys; publicity; and traffic control plans.

Series II: Photographs contains black and white and color photos and negatives of performers, festival attendees, festival committee and Jefferson County Historical Commission members, VIPs, venues and Westernaires performances.

Series III: Ephemera contains buttons and a tie tack; ribbons with the JHC/76 logo; broadsides; posters; and special advertising supplements to the newspapers with official event programs.


  • 1975-2004


Conditions Governing Access

Archives Collection material is non-circulating, requires staff retrieval and is available for use by appointment in the reading room.

Biographical / Historical

The Festival of the West began as a Centennial-Bicentennial project of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. A “dress rehearsal” was held in July, 1975, followed by the big Centennial-Bicentennial celebration July 3-4, 1976. The event was so popular that the County Commissioners asked the Historical Commission to continue it.

In 1980, a separate non-profit corporation was formed to perpetuate the Festival, which continued to be one of the largest 4th of July celebrations in the Denver Metro area. Members of the Festival Committee volunteered their time and talent, and were dedicated to producing an event worthy of Jefferson County and of commemorating our national birthday. Attendance each year averaged about 21,000 people over the two days.

The Westernaires, Jefferson County’s own precision mounted youth drill team, were involved since the inception of the Festival, volunteering countless hours to practice and presenting their precision riding maneuvers and taking parking fees at the gate. Other volunteers such as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department Reserves, Youth Division, K-9 Corps and Mounted Posse helped with crowd control, parking and arena show activities. The Jeffco High School Rodeo Team helped the Fairgrounds staff with trash and grounds clean up. The West Metro Fire District provided fire protection during the fireworks shows. Traffic control was directed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Golden and Lakewood Police Departments, and Colorado State Patrol. In addition, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds manager and staff and county electricians were an indispensable part of the Festival team making the Festival truly a county-wide effort to provide a fun-filled family event for the entire metropolitan area.

The Festival ended with the 2001 event.


5.02 Cubic Feet (12 Boxes (9 Ltr Docs, 2 Slim Docs, 1 F39, 1 Loose Object))

Language of Materials



Records documenting the annual Festival of the West celebration. The Festival of the West began as a project of the Jefferson County Historical Commission for the Centennial-Bicentennial celebration of July 3-4, 1976. It was ranked among the top 20 national bicentennial events. The event was so popular that the Board of County Commissioners asked the Historical Commission to continue it and it grew into one of the biggest 4th of July festivals in the Denver metropolitan area. Held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, the Festival of the West featured all local entertainers and included amusements, band concerts, gunfighters, museum tours, equestrian demonstrations by the Westernaires Riding Group, and professional fireworks displays.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jefferson County Fairgrounds transferred the Festival of the West Records to the Archives in 2004 and followed with a second group in 2018.

Separated Materials

Multiple copies/items were weeded and copies of personal checks were removed and shredded.

Processing Information

Processed by Ronda Frazier in August, 2015. Revised April, 2018.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Jefferson County Archives Repository

3500 Illinois Street
Suite 2350
Golden CO 80401 United States