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No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll want to check out the wide array of events and festivals in Colorado. Mingle with locals, taste regional foods and wines, celebrate the fall harvest, or enjoy concerts, rodeos and fun activities in scenic outdoor settings.
Buena Vista’s Gold Rush Days in August honors the region’s mining history with gold panning, burro races, and an art show. Leadville Boom Days, also in August, celebrates the Old West with mining competitions, gunslingers, food and exhibits.
The Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival commemorates the fall harvest of the area’s prized green chiles and the city’s Hispanic heritage. The annual peach harvest is the main focus at the Palisade Peach Festival in the fall. Colorado Mountain Winefest, the state’s largest wine festival, is held the third weekend of September in Grand Junction.
Colorado Artfest at Castle Rock is a popular festival on the weekend after Labor Day. See works from more than 180 artists, enjoy live entertainment, cultural exhibits and a kid’s play area. Loveland’s Sculpture in the Park showcases local sculptors and their works at the Benson Sculpture Garden in August.
The Alamosa Christmas Light Parade in December is a spectacle of lighted floats and marching bands winding through the streets of downtown. Don’t miss the Alamosa Ice Fest in January for live music, snowman building contests, a fire and ice bonfire and a 5K run.
Colorado’s premier ski resorts offer more than just snow-covered slopes. Beaver Creek hosts the Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup in December. Winter Park offers the Winter Park Jazz Festival, Winter Park Music Festival and the Winter Park Beer Festival. The resort also welcomes mountain bikers from all over the world to the Colorado Freeride Festival in late July. Vail sponsors a variety of fun events including Hot Summer Nights, Snow Daze, Carnivail and Taste of Vail. Steamboat Springs delights locals and visitors with the Strings Music Festival, an outdoor concert series, and the popular Hot Air Balloon Rodeo during the summer. The Telluride Blues and Brews Festival takes place at Town Park in September. Also in September, the Telluride Film Festival attracts throngs of movie fans, celebrities, studio executives and critics to preview groundbreaking films.
Frisco hosts Concerts in the Park in summer, Wassail Days in December and the Colorado BBQ Challenge in June. La Veta’s Spanish Peaks Music Festival is held in July, and La Veta Oktoberfest features a German beer garden, music and dancing in the streets. Trinidad is a great place to visit in June for Santa Fe Trail Days. In September the town hosts Artocade, a parade of 75 cars decorated by creative artists. Fans of the bard won’t want to miss the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, a summer favorite in Boulder.
If you’re a fan of one-of-a-kind festivals, Colorado has several. The Conference On World Affairs, held at the University of Colorado Boulder in early April, is a five-day forum exploring a variety of topics from science and media to politics. Visit Nederland, just outside Denver, for Frozen Dead Guy Days in March. The offbeat festival features weird competitions like coffin racing, ice turkey bowling and snow volleyball along with a kickoff parade of decorated hearses.