10 Reasons to Celebrate Leadville Boom DaysJuly 26, 2023
Leadville Boom Days is a three-day festival that 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 at 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. (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). Buy a ticket at the hospitality tent all weekend long and guess the winning burro!
Leadville may be a genuine small mountain town, but its Boom Days parade is anything but small. Starting Saturday at 10 a.m., cheer bands, floats, antique cars, people dressed in Victorian costumes, dancing dinosaurs, burros, and more as they wind 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. See the 2023 schedule!
4. Victorian Costumes
See people in 1880s finery in a costume contest on Harrison Ave. on Sunday morning starting at 11 a.m.
5. Motorcycle Games
Applaud acts of great skill at the motorcycle games. The opening ceremony takes place on Friday at 5 p.m., and the motorcycle games start at 5:30 p.m.
The Annual Rod & Gun Club Show offers gun paraphernalia, ammunition, collectibles, firearms dealers, and arts and crafts Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 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 and play fun games!
Panning for gold takes place on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at the Leadville-Lake County Visitor Center at 809 Harrison St.
Kids can hand muck (shovel gravel) and enjoy other mining activities to win prizes, starting on Sunday at 10 a.m. Sign up begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The littles can also enjoy good, clean fun with old-fashioned games–a pie-eating contest, egg toss, balloon toss, and more–starting on Sunday at 11 a.m. (register from 10-11 a.m.).
8. Music & Dance
Boogie down at the Boom Days Dance at the Elks Lodge, 123 W. 5th St., on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.! Jam to live music all weekend long at Zaitz Park, 612 Harrison Ave.
📷: Diana Lange
9. Music, Dance, Craft Fair and Great Food
Boogie down at the Boom Days Dance at the Elks Lodge, 123 W. 5th St., on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
A large food and craft fair all 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 breakfast on the courthouse lawn and a Lion’s Club Beer Garden at E. 6th & Harrison streets. See the 2023 schedule.
And of course, please 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!
Tabor Opera House Talent Show & Tours:
Be sure to visit this elegant building, which is being revitalized as a community hub for arts and culture! It’s part of the brand-new Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit!
Take a guided tour on Friday at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. or on Saturday at 11:30 or 3:30.
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: The Heritage Museum, the House with the Eye, the Tabor Home, and Temple Israel. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum will offer free admission for Boom Days, with donations welcomed.
Join the Leadville by Lamplight Tours from the Delaware Hotel to meet the spirits of Leadville (Friday and Saturday: Ghost tour at 3 p.m.; Evergreen Cemetery tour at 6 p.m.).
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.
Here’s where to find a great place to stay the weekend for three full days of fun.
No dogs and no drones allowed at Leadville Boom Days, for everyone’s safety.
Happy Boom Days!