LARKSPUR, Colo. — The Renaissance Festival has defined the small town of Larkspur, south of Castle Rock. The festival is back this year after it was canceled in 2020, but with a different start date.
It was a big blow to organizers and to the town when the festival was canceled at the height of the pandemic.
"Being closed for a year was certainly not good," said Renaissance Festival Vice President Jim Paradise. "We're a family-owned business through and through."
Opening weekend is usually in June of each year. This time, organizers decided to open on the Fourth of July weekend.
"With the way things are going with the pandemic, we felt like the holiday weekend was a perfect time to open things up," Paradise said.
That means 200 vendors and more than 250 entertainers have jobs again.
"It's the interaction with the crowds and the passion of what they do," Paradise explained."It's exciting they're coming back and able to do that."
Two entertainers, called the Acrobatrix, are back for the sixth time. The duo has been waiting anxiously to get back on the stage.
"The pandemic was mostly really bad for us," said Acrobatrix performer Leah Orleans. "I was able to train for a move I never thought I would have enough time to train for though."
The impacts go beyond the gates of the Renaissance Festival grounds. The summer-long event makes up a large portion of the town of Larkspur's tax base.
"This area is beautiful," Paradise said. "For us to bring people back to this area is very important on a lot of levels."
With the festival coming back, traffic will return as well. It's always been a headache for drivers but could be even worse with continued Gap Project construction.
Organizers said drivers can take Highway 105 to the west of the festival grounds to get around expected traffic delays.
For the first time, the festival is only selling tickets online. To get a ticket, click here.