Thorntonfest: All about the new park


The 18th Annual Thorntonfest on Saturday, May 18, features a long list of new activities, including paddle boats, sand volleyball, indoor carousel rides, a skate park and even a splash play area.

“The real highlight of Thorntonfest this year is the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the new addition to the Carpenter Park,” said Jan Kiehl, recreation manager for the city of Thornton.

The new park space is adjacent to the Margaret W. Carpenter Rec Center and multipurpose fields at 112th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.

The new 48-acre development features an outdoor amphitheater, a boathouse for pedal boats, splash pad and a sports plaza


Diane Van Fossen, capital projects and planning manager with the city, described the park as multigenerational, especially the sports plaza area, which has tennis and basketball courts, sand volleyball, bocce ball, shuffleboard and horseshoes.

Adjacent to the courts is the multipurpose area where people can fly kites and throw Frisbees and a 14,529-square-foot skate park featuring a street course and bowl. This is located near the corner of 112th and Colorado area of the park.

“At Thorntonfest alone, attendance ranges between 45,000-50,000 people, so the new amenities will provide new recreation amenities and programming opportunities that the entire community can enjoy,” she said.

Grand opening activities will kick off at 8:45 a.m. with music by the Thornton Community Band at the amphitheater, followed by the ribbon cutting.

The new amphitheater will stay busy with the Battle of the Bands competition running from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., followed by a performance by the Thornton Community Chorus at 5:30 p.m.

Free 15-minute paddle boat rides will be available from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and there will also be free carousel rides at that time. These features will have a fee after opening day.

There will be a kite building clinic at 10 a.m. along with kite flying instructions. Kites will be available free of charge.

There will be learn-to-play demos for bocce ball, shuffleboard and horseshoes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“There’s a lot of people who hear about shuffleboard but don’t know how to play and who hear about bocce ball but don’t know what it is,” Kiehl


There will also be skate park demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

At this year’s Thorntonfest, personnel from North Suburban Medical Center will launch their summer helmet safety campaign by giving out 125 helmets to children. Medical professionals will be available to ensure a proper fit of the helmets.


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