Colorado’s mountain towns aren’t just beautiful to look at; there’s activity going on in them there hills!
Some you might want to check out just once. Others, you might want to come back to year after year. Either way, here are ten Colorado festivals that you just can’t miss.
Aspen, CO's FOOD & WINE Classic – June
More than just a local, state or regional event, the FOOD & WINE Classic is an international event that draws chefs and foodies from around the globe. Exceptional wines, cutting-edge food and celebrity chefs are all blended together at the base of Aspen Mountain for one of the culinary world’s marquee events.
Telluride, CO's Telluride Balloon Festival – June
Photo: Telluride Balloon Festival
Probably one of the most photographed festivals in the country, hot air balloons rise up over Telluride every June. Visitors to the free festival are invited to help launch the balloons early in the morning, observe hot-air balloon photography from expert Paul D deBerjeois in the afternoon, and witness the fire-lit balloons bounce above Telluride’s Main Street in the early evening.
Salida, CO's Colorado Brewers Rendezvous – July
In the midst of the soaring mountain tops and next to the Arkansas River, the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous features beer from more than 70 Colorado breweries. The $40 admission price includes unlimited beer samples and live music. There are also food vendors for those looking to pair their craft samples with sweet or savory bites.
Crested Butte, CO's Crested Butte Wildflower Festival – July
Photo: Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
If you're living in Colorado, thinking about it or just visiting, it's important to stop and smell the flowers and attendees to the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival are invited to literally do just that.
Located in the Wildflower Capitol of Colorado, the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival takes advantage of the magnificent display of wildflowers brought on by a combination of unique geology and abundant winter snowfall.
“Our festival offers over 300 events, aimed at bringing our guests into the wildflowers through hikes, walks, photography, art, jeep tours, and botany/geobotany,” festival program director Michelle Bivens recently told Livability. “We run the gamut from easy ‘tame’ garden tours than any fitness level can enjoy to our signature event, the 12 mile strenuous hike from Crested Butte to Aspen.
“We have something for everyone - and I do not believe there is another festival anywhere like it,” Bivens added.
Victor, CO's Gold Rush Days – July
Photo: Victor, Colorado
The Gold Rush Days festival honors those who sought their fortune in the Rocky Mountains by panning for gold. The free festival includes kayaking, folk music, storytelling, outdoor games and a beer garden. This festival is a can't-miss event for those who love the tug of nostalgia from days gone by.
Denver, CO's Denver Underground Music Showcase – July
If you find mainstream music too boring or predictable, Denver’s Underground Music Showcase should be on your Colorado festival radar. Hosted by The Denver Post, this festival turns every practical space in the city's Broadway neighborhood into a music venue. This event is a must-see for music lovers looking to discover the next big thing or enjoy hidden gems before they make it big.
Evergreen, CO's Evergreen Fine Arts Festival – August
Photo: Evergreen Artists Association
Artists from throughout the country gather in Evergreen, Colo. to show off their finest projects at the yearly Evergreen Fine Arts Festival. Guests to the free festival should expect to wander past well booths filled with paintings, photography and glasswork while live music fills the air.
Pueblo, CO's Colorado State Fair – Aug./Sept.
If you want to get a sense of all things Colorado, you can’t get a much better one-stop-shop than the Colorado State Fair. The entertainment, competitions, vendors and family-friendly entertainment all have a Wild West flair. Visitors should expect to see buckin’ broncos, raging bulls and barrel-racing cowgirls. Like most state fairs, the food is a particular highlight, and it includes fare such as Pueblo green chiles, homebrew beers and exotic cupcakes.
Fort Collins, CO's Tour de Fat – Sept.
While you could catch New Belgium brewery's Tour de Fat in 33 different cities this year, the penultimate tour stop is at the brewery itself in Fort Collins. The spectacle includes circus performers, live music vaudeville acts, costumes and beer, obviously. The Fort Collins show is just one of three that includes a bike parade. This year's event also features two massive music headliners: All American Rejects and X Ambassadors.
Telluride, CO's Telluride Brews and Blues Festival – Sept.
Photo: Courtesy of Barry Brecheisen under a CC 4.0 license.
The Telluride Brews and Blues Event is yet another big event hosted by the small Colorado town. The three-day fest features musical acts ranging from Bonnie Raitt to Drive-By Truckers.
The beer roster is just as eclectic, with a combination of breweries of the Four Corners states: New Mexico’s Marble and La Cumbre breweries, Arizona’s Flagstaff Brewing, Utah’s Moab Brewing and a lot of Colorado brews that are tough to find outside the region.