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One of the best ways to experience Colorado in the summer is to attend one of these amazing festivals, in fact, it might just be the highlight of your vacation.
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The Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival takes place annually in late July in the spectacular mountain town of Crested Butte. Not only can you enjoy some of the planet’s most impressive scenery, but the chance to sip fine wines, meet winemakers and sommeliers, attend a variety of wine-focused seminars and even a James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner. The Grand Tasting is the main event and includes more than 500 select wines from 25 wineries and distributors, food demonstrations, and more. Of course, while you’re here you can also enjoy the myriad of outdoor adventures in the area from hiking and mountain biking to float trips, fishing and thrilling kayaking excursions on the Taylor, Gunnison or East River.
If you can manage getting out of bed early on vacation, you can experience one of the most breathtaking sights in Steamboat Springs at one of the state’s largest hot air balloon festivals. It hosts a massive colorful ascension that’s scheduled every morning during the event, filling the nearly always brilliant blue skies with an impressive array of the elaborate balloons. After the balloons have launched into the air, you can enjoy coffee and breakfast onsite with one of the local vendors and attend the annual Art in the Park event at West Lincoln Park which features arts and crafts, performances and an interactive children’s area.
One of the most popular and largest summer festivals in Colorado, the Greeley Stampede dates back to the 1800s and includes rodeos, carnival, western art show, demolition derby, food, shopping and more to celebrate the state’s western culture. It’s billed as the largest Fourth of July event in the country, and spans two weekends, held over June 23rd through July 4th in 2017. In addition to a pro-rodeo there are kids’ rodeos and bull riding as well as a full lineup of free stage entertainment, country and classic rock concerts. In 2014, the Greeley Stampede was even inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
This summer celebration of dance takes place every year for two weeks from late July through mid-August, July 29 through August 12 in 2017. It features a wide range of dance forms, and has a world renowned reputation that attracts numerous prestigious artists like the New York City Ballet MOVES, BalletX, Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dane Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet and stars from the Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, America Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hamburg Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. This is your chance to see those incredible “Dancing with the Stars” moves in person in scenic outdoor venues.
This entertaining Breckenridge Wine Festival hosts a variety of experience around town, on the mountain, in eateries and classrooms. The picturesque Main Street is bursting with fun that includes live music, an arts-and-crafts fair, rubber duck races, food vendors and the chance to increase your knowledge, and enjoyment of food and wine. Meet up with master sommeliers, chefs and winemakers, and wine and dine during the peak of the area’s famously brilliant fall colors.
A Taste of Colorado is held over Labor Day Weekend at Denver’s Civic Center Park. Here, thousands of revels gather together to celebrate the end of summer and taste some of the most mouthwatering Colorado dishes. This is a great way to discover some of the state’s best cuisine, touring the menus and tasting samples from more than 50 restaurants. Watch cooking demonstrations, dance to music with live entertainment offered on six stages, and check out or buy some of the impressive works of art in nearly 300 booths at the Arts & Crafts Marketplace. In 2017, it will be held between Friday, September 1st and Monday, September 4th.
The annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival takes place between August 18 and August 20 in 2017 in the small mountain town of Lyons near Boulder. It celebrates song and story with music from morning through 10 p.m. every night, and includes a variety of nightly and songwriting workshops throughout the day. In addition to listening to popular talent like Josh Ritter, Brandi Carlile and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, you can cool off in the St. Vrain River, camp out and even join the impromptu late-night campsite sessions put on by festival attendees.
The 2017 Colorado State Fair will take place August 25 to September 4 and provides the opportunity to indulge in your favorite fried foods like deep-fried Snickers and other unique, decadent treats, as well as watch the raging bulls, bucking broncos, and barrel-racing cowgirls at the Budweiser Rodeo Arena. It also hosts live concerts, taste testing at Foam Fest where participants can sample some of the state’s newest and best craft beers as well as watch thrilling competitions, livestock and horse shows, enjoy carnival rides and games, and much more.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend Labor Day in the Rockies, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival is hosted over three days just east of Aspen at the Snowmass Town Park in Snowmass. The grand finale of the summer season features a popular, R&B, rock, funk, blues and soul music and has included big names like Steely Dan, Lenny Kravitz and the Zac Brown Band that is sure to get you up on your feet and dancing under Colorado’s high elevation sun.
One of the last big summer events of the year is the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, held over September 15 through September 17 in 2017. The gathering includes brews from more than 50 of the nation’s best microbreweries along with an impressive music lineup. Some of the artists featured in the past has included The Fray, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, and Chicago. Make the most of it by camping out among the gorgeous autumn colors nearby.