West Colfax celebrates a changing community with help from Denver Days

“We want to bring those who have just been here for a little while together with people who have been here for 45, 55 years.”

CHLOE
Fiesta Denver dances at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Fiesta Denver dances at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

West Colfax Neighborhood Festival returned for the 12th year Saturday for an afternoon of city-sponsored family fun.

Confluence Ministries, in partnership with Mayor Michael Hancock’s Denver Days program, brought more than 40 local businesses and nonprofits to close to 2,000 local residents to encourage community togetherness in a time of neighborhood change.

“We see change in the community because of development in Denver” said Jude DaleHierro, Director and Founder of Confluence Ministries. “We want to bring those who have just been here for a little while together with people who have been here for 45, 55 years.”

The event began 12 years ago as a block party with a couple hundred attendees. Since the event moved to West Colfax’s Paco Sanchez Park three years ago, the festival has attracted upwards of 1,500 every year.

A volunteer directs traffic at Wipe Out at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

A volunteer directs traffic at Wipe Out at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

This year, local nonprofits and businesses offered an array of free services to attendees. More Than Curly Salon offered haircuts and manicures. Recycle Bicycles tuned-up bikes and Planned Pethood Plus even offered distemper and rabies shots for furry friends. In addition, DaleHierro said Confluence Ministries handed out 400 donated backpacks to school children — filled with back-to-school essentials that the ministry and local businesses raised money to buy.

“We want to show people how great this community is, “ said Lupita Perez, 30-year Denver resident and longtime Confluence festival volunteer.

Since partnering up with Hancock’s Denver Days, things have gotten easier for Confluence Ministries. Denver Days launched four years ago as an initiative to encourage community engagement through “organic gatherings,” according to denver.org.

Cindy DaleHierro at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Cindy DaleHierro at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

DaleHierro said the program helps alleviate costs by subsidizing barrier and permit costs.

“Confluence drives the event, but it takes a lot of collaboration,” he said of the local participation. “It just gives you an idea of what we can do together that we can’t do ourselves.”

Denver Days events conclude Sunday, Aug. 7. To find an event near you, visit denvergov.org/maps/map/denverdays.

Bubble Bump Soccer at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Bubble Bump Soccer at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

A child at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

A child at West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Two boys with facepaint West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Two boys with facepaint West Colfax Neighborhood Festival (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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