10 Reasons to Celebrate Leadville Boom DaysSeptember 1, 2022
Leadville Boom Days is a three-day festival celebrates mining heritage in Leadville, Colorado. Join us from Friday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023.
In addition to the best-known events—the burro races, a big parade, and the mining competitions—are plenty of other ways to celebrate Leadville’s history. Games, dances, live music and entertainment, kid-friendly activities, and other fun celebrations abound at this festive festival in North America’s highest-elevation city. Check out these 12 reasons you can’t miss it!
📷: Diana Lange
1. Burro Races
What are burro races, anyway? Each team is made up of one runner leading a burro on a rope. Each burro carries a regulation pack with mining equipment. Leadville’s races leave from downtown Harrison Avenue on Sunday mid-morning (15-mile course and 21-mile course). After a jaunt through the mountains east of town, teams begin returning around 1:15 p.m. (short course) and 3:30 p.m. (long course).
Leadville may be a genuine small mountain town, but its Boom Days parade is anything but small. It starts Saturday (usually at 10 a.m.) with a flyover from the San Juan Squadron. Then bands, floats, antique cars, people dressed in Victorian costumes, dancing dinosaurs, burros, and more begin their way down historic Harrison Avenue!
3. Mining Events
How would you like to hold a small sliver on steel vertically on a rock while your partner pounds it with a sledgehammer? Such is the breathless suspense of the doublejack mining competition, where teams do just that. Other competitions involve shoveling crushed rock into an ore cart and pushing it along a track and drilling into a giant rock. These events happen on Saturday and Sunday behind the Elks Lodge at 123 W. 5th St. throughout the day.
4. Victorian Costumes
See people in 1880s finery in the Victorian mosey, a costume contest on Harrison Ave. usually on Sunday morning.
5. Motorcycle Games
Applaud acts of great skill at the motorcycle games on Friday evening.
The Annual Rod & Gun Club Show offers gun paraphernalia, ammunition, collectibles, firearms dealers, and arts and crafts Saturday and Sunday at the Sixth Street Gym. T.H.E. Boomin’ Auto Show boasts shiny cars on Harrison Avenue after the parade on Saturday.
7. Kids’ Activities
Kids can pretend to be miners, pan for gold, and enjoy other kids’ activities. Enjoy good, clean fun with old-fashioned games–a pie-eating contest, egg toss, balloon toss, and more!
8. Music and Entertainment
Celebrate Leadville Boom Days with live music and dances! Check back for the 2023 schedule.
📷: Diana Lange
9. Food and Craft Fair and More Good Eatin’
A large food and craft fair throughout the weekend offers everything from cowboy hats and handmade jewelry to hot, tasty turkey legs, old-fashioned sodas, and much, much more. Check out the many offerings!
Fun food options include Leadville Boom Days meals like a continental breakfast and a BBQ lunch at the Elks Lodge.
And sample the delicious offerings from Leadville’s many restaurants!
10. Mining & History Tours
While you’re celebrating Leadville’s mining heritage, take a history tour!
Book a Wildflower Special Train Ride (Saturday at 10 a.m.) or a regular daily ride on the Leadville Railroad. Or take a history walking or driving tour of the East Side Mining District and other historic sites.
Museums & Tours:
Tour Leadville’s museums: Healy House and Dexter Cabin, the Heritage Museum, the House with the Eye, the Matchless Mine, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, the Tabor Home, and Temple Israel. You can also tour the Tabor Opera House, part of the brand-new Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit!
Pick up a Leadville Museum Passport from the Leadville/Lake County Visitor Center, visit at least four of the eight museums, and get a free Leadville-themed gift!
Historic Twin Lakes:
For a fun side trip, drive to Twin Lakes, just half an hour from downtown Leadville. Take the Twin Lakes Interlaken Boat Tour (reservations required) to an 1880s ghost resort. From the Red Rooster Visitor Center, take a walking tour of historic Twin Lakes village, and take time to relax at these sparkling glacial lakes.
Pick up a Leadville Boom Days Guide for a full schedule and event locations.
Here’s where to find a great place to stay the weekend for three full days of fun.
Exploring our majestic mountains while you’re here? Check out these 7 ways to keep Leadville and Twin Lakes beautiful, and take our Adventure by Nature Pledge.
No dogs and no drones allowed at Leadville Boom Days, for everyone’s safety.
Happy Boom Days!