Chris Martinez, long-time resident of Montbello and chair of the Montbello 50th Celebration, is downright exuberant as he talks about the “big event” planned for Sept. 23 and 24. “Planning for Montbello’s 50th started over a year ago,” said Chris as he sips iced tea at the local Starbucks in his favorite community. “An amazing group of people started meeting once a month, then twice month, and now every week to finalize the plans and work out all the logistics,” he proudly states. “We are all passionate about this celebration and Montbello.”

The two-day celebration will kick off Friday, Sept. 23 at a community awards night to recognize past, present and future leaders in the Montbello neighborhood. The awards event is sponsored by Steps to Success, a youth violence prevention program based in Montbello, and the Montbello Organizing Committee. Nominations of an adult or youth that lives, works or positively influences life in Montbello were received from the community in August. 

Festival events on Saturday, Sept. 24 will begin with a parade that starts at 9 a.m. at the Montbello Campus at Crown Boulevard and 51st Ave. and proceeds through the neighborhood to the Montbello Recreation Center at Chambers and 53rd Ave. The Montbello Warrior Cheerleaders and the Montbello Drumline will be featured in the parade along with participants from other neighborhood schools, local service organizations, and clubs.

Once the parade reaches the recreation center, the real fun begins. Starting at 10:30 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m., fairgoers can enjoy food, fun, education, and physical activity. The Montbello Boys and Girls Club will offer carnival games for kids of all ages. Local chefs will be barbequing hot dogs and hamburgers that will be free until they run out and healthy living demonstrations will include preparing fresh vegetables and cooking with kids. The whole family can participate in Zumba and other physical activities.

There will be a Kids Zone, vendors selling their wares, and probably a few political candidates hoping to roundup a few votes before the November election. Nonprofits will have tables with educational materials designed to emphasize their mission. Colorado Black Arts Movement will be signing up photographers, young and old, to participate in a community-wide initiative to capture “My Montbello/SHOTS” through the eyes of Monbelloans. Children’s Farms of America and other local food growers will be there with fresh produce to sell. 

And if that is not enough, there will be two stages of entertainment – a youth stage and the main stage. The young festival attendees will enjoy a magic show with Ronald McDonald; a puppet show with Joe Gandelman; Island, praise, African and hip hop dancers, and a Christian rapper.

The main stage featuring some of Denver’s best local entertainment will include Denver’s First Lady, Mary Louise Lee and her very talented band, kicks off with the JLT Praise dancers and Semblanzas de Mexico. Smooth jazz guitarist Gregory Goodloe who assisted the entertainment committee, will perform with his Light Years Ahead Band. Other performers include rock and roll band Of Sound Mynd, reggae singer Jah Goatfish and Friends with a tribute to Bob Marley, jazz vocalist Linda Theus-Lee and Heartstrings who will do a tribute to Billy Holliday and Nina Simone. And the renowned Freddie Rodriguez Band will be performing popular jazz and Latino tunes. Shane Franklin of SFI and the Crew will be performing, in between acts several times on the main stage, his newest hip-hop hit and tap dancing. Veteran journalist and documentary filmmaker Tamara Banks will emcee the day’s events.

Also, a 50th Year Anniversary souvenir booklet, highlighting Montbello’s history, as well as, honoring some of the people who have played and who continue to play a role in shaping the Montbello Community, will be available for purchase.

There is still more time if you want to know more or to get involved in the planning and execution of the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Contact Chris Martinez, his excitement is contagious.

Editor’s note: For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Chris Martinez at 720-251-6525 or email


Entertainment Schedule

(Times Subject to change) Main Stage – Youth Stage

10:30 AM Main Stage – Welcome Remarks JLThompson Praise Dancers

11:00 – 11:30- Semblanzas de Mexico Flamenco Dancers

11:30 – 11:45 Ronald McDonald – Magic Show

11:45 – 12:00 Dare to Believe – Praise Dancers

12:00 – 12:45 Of Sound Mynd – Rock and Roll

12:45 – 1:00 H.E.A.T

1:00 – 1:15 EVQ Bomb Squad

1:15 – 2:00 Freddie Rodriguez Jr. and Sr. Jazz, Salsa, Mamba, Merengue

2:00 – 2:30 Mile High Dolls & B Boys African & Hip Hop Dance

2:30 – 3:15 Linda and Heartstrings – Jazz/Standards (Nina Simone/Billy Holiday Tribute)

3:15 – 3:30 No Mo’ Violence Latin Dance & Hip Hop Dance

3:30 – 3:45 J Baby – Christian Rapper

3:45 – 4:30 Goatfish & Friends – Reggae (Tribute to Bob Marley)

4:30 – 5:00 Pacific Islands Hula Dance

5:30 – 6:00 Dare to Believe – Praise Dancers

4:45 – 6:15 Mary Louise Lee Band – R&B and Blues

6:30 – 7:30 Gregory Goodloe and the Light Years Ahead Band