‘Beards, Bonnets And Brews’ Fest In Colorado Springs Celebrates The City’s Founding 150 Years Ago

Bryan Oller for KRCC
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers judged a beard contest at the Beards, Bonnets and Brews festival in Colorado Springs. He also grew a beard and wore period clothing for the sesquicentennial celebration. June 12, 2021

From bands to blacksmithing, bonnet and beard contests, to old-timey baseball, a celebration at the historic Rock Ledge Ranch in Colorado Springs Saturday honored the city's history as part of its sesquicentennial year.

Mayor John Suthers grew a beard for the celebration and was one of the judges for the beard contest. He was decked out in period finest, minus a frock coat that he ditched because of the heat.

Suthers said there's a lot to celebrate, especially after this past year.

"It feels really good. Cities need to mark major milestones in their history, and 150 years is a milestone," he said.

Bryan Oller for KRCC
Dave Harmon as General Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs, at the Beards, Bonnets and Brews festival at Rock Ledge Ranch, June 12, 2021.

"I hope our citizens are doing two things. No. 1, they're celebrating our history, the people that have brought us here… that have brought the city to where it is today. But I also hope we're also taking the opportunity to start envisioning the future, thinking about where the city's going to be 10, 15, 20, maybe even 150 years from now."

The celebration included reenactors walking along in period clothing, including Dave Harmon who was dressed as General William Jackson Palmer, the city's founder. Accurate, he said, with the exception of his beard.

"General Palmer never had a beard," he said, adding the city encouraged him to keep the beard on for the Beards, Bonnets and Brews celebration.

"I'm 184 years old," Harmon said as Palmer. "But I have a much younger spirit, and I am thoroughly enjoying the celebration."

Colorado Springs was officially founded on July 31, 1871. Other activities and celebrations, including a gala, are scheduled through next month.

Bryan Oller for KRCC
Vintage baseball at Rock Ledge Ranch. June 12, 2021
Bryan Oller for KRCC
Two of the participants in the "Best Fake Beard" contest at the Beards, Bonnets and Brews festival in Colorado Springs. June 12, 2021