A festival born and bred in Denver is moving south to Colorado Springs.
After being a Denver staple for the last 39 years, the popular Colorado Indian Market and Southwest Art Fest will be held at the Colorado Springs Event Center this weekend.
The move comes after the closure of Denver Mart, the festival’s longtime home. Organizer Liz King went searching for a new location and ended up landing on a venue closer to her home. She moved from Denver to Colorado Springs about six years ago. Prior to moving, King said she doubted her new city’s cool factor.
“I thought when I moved here that I was going to miss Denver so much,” she said. “I love it here. There’s so much to do.”
You can now add the three-day Colorado Indian Market to that list of things to do.
For its 40th anniversary, the event returns with a juried selection of 150 artists and craftsmen, from painters to potters to jewelers, showing a variety of traditional Native American work as well as art inspired by Southwestern and Western themes.
The lineup also includes live performances by Bill Miller, a Grammy award-winning Native American musician, as well as Native American roots groups, Seven Falls Dancers and others performing pow-wow style dances in “spectacular regalia from local and regional tribes,” according to a news release.
Other attractions include an authentic replica of a Plains Indian teepee and the chance to see, or take photos with, live hawks and eagles.
This will mark the third year the festival was organized by King and her sister, Emily Murty, of the company Dash Events. They also put on the popular Cheesman Park Art Fest in Denver and Rio Grande Festivals in Albuquerque.
As a former resident of Denver, King visited the Colorado Indian Market each year. She was “honored” to take it over as an organizer.
“The show was so exciting to attend as a patron,” she said. “Being behind it and helping to orchestrate it, it’s very dear to me.”
The event typically draws up to 10,000 attendees over three days and draws people from across the state and beyond. King hopes to see that continue at its new location.
“We’ve always had a loyal following in Denver,” she said. “So it’s a big leap of faith to move a long-standing festival like this.”
If all goes well, she plans to hold the festival in Colorado Springs in future years.
“I hope Colorado Springs embraces the tradition of this show and makes it their own,” she said. “We’re excited about this new chapter.”