Fall Festivals in Colorado 2016
Labor Day Weekend Events in Colorado
August 26 – September 5, – Colorado State Fair – Pueblo, CO
(Labor Day Weekend)
- A Taste of Colorado – Denver, CO
- Four Corners Bike Rally & Folk Festival
- Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival
- Telluride Film Festival
- Wild West Air Fest and Labor Day Weekend Celebration – Steamboat Springs, CO
- Beaver Creek Oktoberfest – Beaver Creek, CO
- Colorado Balloon Classic – Colorado Springs CO
- Labor Day Weekend Jazz Party – Vail, CO
September Festivals in Colorado 2016
A TASTE OF COLORADO
WHEN: Sept. 2-5, 2016
WHERE: Civic Center Park
The weekend-long food-lovers’ delight known as A Taste of Colorado returns to downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park over Labor Day weekend. The food fest features more than 50 of Colorado’s favorite dining establishments, offering sample- and full-sized portions of their specialties. You’ll find everything from the finest, fanciest food to down-home specialties. All in all you’ll enjoy the offerings of more than 50 area food establishments, 275 marketplace artisans and vendors, six entertainment stages, family activities, educational programs and more. Admission is free, and food tickets start at $10.
DENVER FOOD + WINE FESTIVAL
WHEN: Sept. 6-11, 2016
WHERE: Downtown Denver
The Denver Food + Wine Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of food, wine and spirits education, promotion and tastings. Through a series of events, the festival aims to highlight industry impact, promote workforce development and celebrate Denver as a culinary destination.
WHEN: Sept. 10-11, 2016
WHERE: Belmar Center, Lakewood
Mamma mia! The annual Festival Italiano Food & Wine Festival at Belmar Center is a fun-filled celebration of all things Italian. The event will feature over 70 of the finest Italian food, wine and artisan vendors from the area who will sell ceramics, gelato, sausage, baked goods, pasta, flowers, herbs, sculpture, antique maps, produce, pizza and much more. What should you expect? Throwers from Florence, regional Italian wine tastings for adults, chef demonstrations, live Italian music and dancing, Italian movies, a children’s grape stomp and a bocce ball tournament.
WHEN: Sept. 23-25 and Sept. 30–Oct. 2, 2016
WHERE: Ballpark Neighborhood (between 20th and 22nd Sts. on Larimer St.)
Oktoberfest lives on in The Mile High City! Modeled after Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, this family-friendly fest commemorates this world-famous and time-honored tradition of German heritage. Enjoy German attractions including music from national touring groups, performances by international dancers, children’s activities and heritage booths selling German goods, decor, an accordion concert and authentic drinks and cuisine.
- Snowmass Oktoberfest – Snowmass Village, CO
- Grand Lake’s Fall Arts & Crafts Fair – Grand Lake, CO
- Pork ‘n’ Hops – Grand Junction, CO
- ColorFest Weekend – Pagosa Springs, CO
- Burning Mountain Festival – New Castle, CO
- September 8 – 11 , 2016 – Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highlands Festival – Estes Park, CO
- Fall Festival of Beers & Chili Cook-Off – Mt Crested Butte, CO
- Fall Fest – Frisco, CO
- Telluride Imogene Pass Run
- Colorado Mountain Winefest – Palisade CO
- Aspen Ruggerfest – Aspen, CO
- Snowmass Balloon Festival – Sept 16-18 Snowmass Village CO
- OktoberWest – Steamboat Springs, CO
- Oktober Festival – Breckenridge, CO
- Oktoberfest 2 Day Celebration – Parker CO
- Ouray County Railroad Days – Silverton, CO
- Blue Angels Air Show – Grand Junction, CO
- OktoberFest Denver
- Loaf ‘n Jug Chili Frijoles Festival – Pueblo, CO
- Harvest Festival on Winery Grounds – Canon City
- Autumn Gold: A Festival of Brats, Bands ‘n’ Beer
- Crested Butte Film Festival – Crested Butte & Gunnison, CO
- Glenwood’s Downtown Market Oktoberfest – Glenwood Springs, CO
Embrace Cowboy Culture at Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering Sept. 29 – Oct. 2
Celebrate Durango’s ranching heritage with performances, motorless parade, train ride & more. Spectacular autumn foliage in the mountains, beautiful fall temperatures and cattle drives all signal it’s time to for the 28th annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The Sept. 29 – Oct. 2 event celebrates the culture and stories of the American cowboy and ranching in southwest Colorado, creatively shared by more than 40 cowboy poets, storytellers and musicians.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to pull on your cowboy boots and hat, observe a really unique art form in action and enjoy all the incredible fall activities in Durango,” says Linda Mannix, coordinator of the second oldest event of its kind in the United States.
The celebration is held in Durango’s bustling downtown district and headquartered at the historic Strater Hotel, where evening performances are staged at the Henry Strater Theater. Known around the world, Wylie and The Wild West kick off the gathering with 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. performances featuring a blend of cowboy, swing, folk and yodeling on Sept. 29, along with the “Mystery of El Dorado” Cowboy Theatre at Durango Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. Evening performances on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Henry Strater Theater showcase several top cowboy poets and musicians from around the country and take place at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m.
Mannix advises enjoying all the great trails, attractions and activities in the Durango area during the day on Thursday and Friday and the many Gathering happenings on Saturday before savoring dinner at the many locally-owned restaurants downtown and attending the late shows. “We have tickets still available for the late shows, with the earlier shows already or nearly sold out. The new Cowboy Comedy Revue on Saturday afternoon also promises to have people tipping their hats to the 15 performers sharing the funniest tidbits of ranch life.”
Another ticketed event on Friday with space still available is the popular Cowboy Poet Train on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The excursion runs from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., winds through the mountains and beautiful fall scenery, and features performers on every coach and a barbecue lunch at Cascade Canyon.
Free Ways to Kick Up Your Heels
There also are plenty of free ways to get into the Western spirit during the Gathering. One of the major highlights of the weekend is the large motorless Cowboy Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday with horses, riders, wagons, walkers and even llamas and Longhorns, but no motorized vehicles.
From 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., free themed sessions of cowboy poetry and music are being held at Strater Hotel. Anyone can jump in and perform his or her own cowboy poetry during open sessions.
Shows of Western art are on display at Mesténo Gallery, Sorrel Sky Gallery and Toh-Atin Gallery throughout the weekend. At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Poster Session at Toh-Atin Gallery highlights cowboy poets and musicians performing their interpretations of this year’s fine art poster “The Cowpuncher” by Glenn Dean. A print signing and artist’s reception follows from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering wraps up at the Strater Hotel with “A Cowboy and His Creator” on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.with inspirational poetry and music by many of the weekend’s performers.
October Festivals in Colorado 2016
GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL® AND DENVER BEER FEST
WHEN: Oct. 6-8, 2016 (GABF®) & Sept. 30-Oct. 8, 2016 (Denver Beer Fest)
WHERE: Colorado Convention Center and various locations throughout the city
For beer aficionados, there’s no bigger event all year. More than 60,000 beer enthusiasts from around the world come to attend the legendary Great American Beer Festival (GABF)®. The GABF® is a gargantuan event, covering 188,000 square feet of the Colorado Convention Center. GABF® is all about sampling. Visitors enjoy one-ounce beer samples from the festival’s 750 breweries, which come from all over the country, giving beer lovers a walking tour of the nation’s beer-blessed landscape. The brewers themselves staff many of the booths. If you love beer, don’t miss this event. Tying in nicely with GABF® is Denver Beer Fest, a citywide celebration of all things beer in The Mile High City. Events include beer bike nights, midnight beer breakfasts, beer-paired dinners, brewery tours, brewer competitions, meet-the-brewer nights, tap takeovers, beer quizzes and even a beer street party with bands, brews and food trucks.
WHEN: Weekends Throughout October
WHERE: Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Things get spooky around this time of year — especially during Fright Fest at Denver’s famed downtown theme park, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park. This enormous fun zone transforms from theme park to “scream” park all month long during Fright Fest. Daytime is a trick-and-treat trail for little ones, and nighttime is all about haunted houses and ghoulish surprises.
WHEN: Oct. 7-9, 2016
WHERE: Denver Botanic Garden at Chatfield
At Pumpkin Fest, search for the perfect jack o’ lantern or pumpkin pie gourd for all your Halloween and fall festivities! Thousands of pumpkins will be ripe for the picking from the Denver Botanic Garden at Chatfield‘s pumpkin patch. The gardens will be filled with exciting children’s activities and vendors selling handcrafted gifts. Explore a menagerie of animals at the working farm, tour the historic ranch and enjoy the carnival rides.
BOO AT THE ZOO
WHEN: Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30, 2016
WHERE: Denver Zoo
Discover “spooktacular” Halloween fun at the Denver Zoo during Boo at the Zoo. Enjoy trick-or-treating stations and family-friendly entertainment while supporting Denver Zoo’s mission to provided exceptional care to our resident animals. Space is limited so buy tickets early!
DENVER GORILLA RUN
WHEN: Oct. 22, 2016
WHERE: Westin Westminster
The annual Denver Gorilla Run features more than 3,000 people in gorilla suits running a 5K to benefit the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 13th Annual Gorilla Run will be taking place at The Westin Westminster. The run begins at 11 a.m. with the Silverback After Party immediately following. The cost of the race is $99.95, which includes a full gorilla suit (available in different sizes). All Gorilla Run participants receive entry into the after-party, and tickets are $10 (includes one beer and access to all food tents) for spectators or anyone who’d like to join the fun.
- Aspen Filmfest
- Telluride Blues & Brews Festival – Telluride, CO
- Celtic Fest & Oktoberfest – Carbondale, CO
- Berthoud Oktoberfest at Fickel Park in Berthoud, Colorado.
- John Denver Week – Aspen, CO
- Culinary Arts, Wine and Brewfest – Hotel Colorado – Glenwood Springs, Co
- Durango Heritage Train – Durango, CO
November Festivals in Colorado
- Denver International Wine Festival – Denver, CO
- Turkey Rock Trot – Castle Rock, CO
Thanksgiving Day at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Start your Thanksgiving Day off on the right or left foot by giving back to those less fortunate in our community at the 12th Annual Turkey ROCK Trot. Whether you are a serious runner, weekend warrior, or a leisurely walker bring the whole family and join the fun. All proceeds benefit the Douglas/Elbert Task Force. Come join our family tradition.
Fall Foliage & Day Trips Near Denver
The shimmering leaves of the aspen, the quintessential Colorado tree, turn to a positively glowing shade of gold, sending locals and visitors rushing to the mountains to find the most beautiful fall foliage.
Denver has one of the longest periods of fall colors of any city in the country. That’s because there are five different climate zones within a two-hour drive of downtown Denver. Pick your elevation and you can find yourself at the height of fall colors from mid-September to mid-November. Starting in mid-September, expect to see aspens turning gold at elevations from 8,000 to 10,000 above sea level. Later in the season in October to mid-November, you can see spectacular color down in the foothills and along the plains in Denver.
Here’s a guide of where and when to go:
MID-SEPTEMBER TO EARLY OCTOBER ABOVE 9,500 FEET
• Guanella Pass, located just one hour from Denver, climbs to 11,670 feet and has many high aspen groves on both sides of the pass. There are aspen groves at all elevations along the trail, offering a good chance of seeing color somewhere on the mountainsides.
LATE SEPTEMBER TO MID-OCTOBER, FROM 7,000 TO 9,000 FEET
• Georgetown and Silver Plume, located approximately one hour from Denver (40 miles) are surrounded by aspen groves. An interesting way to see the fall colors is by riding the Georgetown Loop Railroad, where a vintage steam locomotive pulls passengers up the steep grade between the two towns.
• The area around Lake Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne is filled with aspen groves and is just a 75-minute drive from Denver. An 18-mile paved bike path circles the pretty lake, offering mountain and fall views in every direction.
MOST OF OCTOBER, FROM 6,000 TO 8,000 FEET
• Several old cemeteries near Central City have groves of aspen, and many other trees can be seen on the dirt “Oh My God Road” that runs between Central City and another old mining town, Idaho Springs.
• Golden Gate Canyon State Park, located 20 miles west of Denver in the foothills (45-minute drive), has many aspen groves at lower elevations, as well one of the best panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains.
• Despite it’s name, several spots around Evergreen, Colorado, put on a show in autumn. Try hiking near Maxwell Falls or in Alderfer/Three Sisters Park, or drive the Lariat Loop Scenic Byway from Evergreen on Hwy. 74 to Bergen Park and back down through Golden.
EARLY OCTOBER TO MID-NOVEMBER, 5,280 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL
• Selected by USA Today as one of the top five bike paths in the country, the Cherry Creek Bike Trail is a paved off-road path that follows the tree-lined creek for more than 40 miles from downtown Denver to Cherry Creek State Park.
• Another 40-mile-plus bike path, the South Platte River Bike Trail, follows the South Platte River from downtown Denver to Chatfield State Park and Waterton Canyon, where it meets up with the Colorado Trail and continues 400 miles to Durango. The Colorado Trail is considered a hiking and technical mountain bike trail.
• The Highline Canal meanders through Denver for more than 70 miles, and almost all of it is lined with old Cottonwood trees that turn brilliant yellow in the fall.
There are more than 200 parks in Denver city limits, many of them connected by a necklace of bike trails — and all of them will boast beautiful fall colors:
WASHINGTON PARK: Denver’s grand traditional park has two lakes, two flower gardens and a tree-lined, two-mile gravel running path.
SLOAN’S LAKE: Denver’s largest lake offers city and mountain views and an expansive tree-covered park.
CITY PARK: Denver’s largest park is home to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Zoo, several lakes and the Mile High Trail — a running trail that follows the 5,280-foot contour so that much of the path is exactly one mile high.
• Rocky Mountain National Park, about one hour and thirty minutes from Denver, has many groves of high aspens around Bear Lake. There are also many high aspen groves on the way to the park on the scenic Peak to Peak Byway (Colorado Hwy. 72 and 7) from Black Hawk to Estes Park.
The MOST photographed attraction in Colorado is Maroon Bells in Aspen Colorado. If you have never been it’s a must see Colorado Bucket List trip.