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Map: Fruita

Region: Northwest Regional Information

County: Mesa

Proximity to other towns: Located 265 miles from Boulder, 12.5 miles from Grand Junction, 18.7 miles from Clifton, 21.3 miles from Gateway, 25.7 miles from Palisade

Population: 7,055

Elevation: 4503 feet

Town History: The first permanent homesteaders in the Fruita area were possibly Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lapham - when they settled in late 1882, they took up residency in a pre-existing cabin with a dirt floor and a blanket door. They were followed by other settlers, nearly all of whom were farmers. Attempts to organize a community in the Fruita area were unsuccessful until the present day town was established in 1884, by William E. Pabor, who formed the Fruita Town and Land Company for the purpose of selling town lots. The photo to the right shows Aspen Avenue circa 1890 looking west towards Circle Park.

Pabor recognized the fruit producing potential of the area. Having worked with the Greeley colony, he founded the new town along the same lines, including the provision that no liquor was sold or manufactured in the town. This provision lasted until it was voted out in the late 1970's. The original town site was planned to take in eighty acres with a park in the middle.

Today, thanks to the invention of the mountain bike and an abundance of natural slick-rock trails, Fruita is finally gaining much-deserved recognition as an outdoor paradise. Along with Fruita's extensive trail system, this Western-slope town also has rafting for all types, be it a leisurely float down Ruby and Horsethief Canyons or a heart-pounding surge through Westwater Canyon.

Downtown Fruita features a walking tour of 16 historic buildings. Also near here are free self-guided tours of dinosaur excavations at Riggs Hill and Dinosaur Hill, while Dinosaur Journey combines fossils and skeletons with robots and interactive exhibits.

Don’t forget to stop by and enjoy some of the festivals during the spring and fall.

Fat Tire Festival-

For the bike enthusiast, races, live music and lots of fun. Every year in Spring.

Mike The Headless Chicken Festival-

Fruita is known for Mike the Headless Chicken, a rooster who lived for 18 months after his head was cut off. Lloyd Olsen, the remover of Mike's head, would give him food and water with an eye dropper. He grew to be almost 8 lb (3.6 kg). Mike went on to tour the country as a side show. A festival in his honor is held each May in Fruita.

Fruita Fall Festival-

This festival started in 1910 as a harvest festival and has evolved to a major event. There is live music, carnival rides, a parade, vendors selling everything from homemade jams and candles to clothing and jewelery, a wide variety of foods. The Fruita Fall Festival is typically held the last full weekend of September.

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