Fall Festivals in Colorado
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Labor Day Weekend Events in Colorado
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
- Wild West Air Fest and Labor Day Weekend Celebration – Steamboat Springs, CO
- Beaver Creek Oktoberfest – Beaver Creek, CO
- Colorado Balloon Classic – Colorado Springs CO
September Festivals in Colorado
A TASTE OF COLORADO
WHEN: Labor Day Weekend
WHERE: Civic Center Park
The weekend-long food lover’s delight known as A Taste of Colorado returns to downtown Denver with some changes due to Covid on Labor Day weekend.
The Downtown Denver Partnership is proud to announce the return of Taste of Colorado for its 38th year, this year in a new format that will be a downtown-wide celebration of local food, music, and art. Set to take place over Labor Day Weekend (September 4 – 6, 2021), this year’s Taste of Colorado will take place all over Downtown Denver, with attractions throughout the center city.
“Taste of Colorado is a well-loved tradition that spans generations,” said Sharon Alton, Vice President of Downtown Experience at the Downtown Denver Partnership, “We’re proud to bring Taste back as we emerge from the pandemic, this year in a new format that will be a true celebration of our city’s culture and everything that our city’s artists, musicians, and restauranteurs have to offer. Never has it been more important to highlight all things local, and we can’t wait to do just alongside our community over Labor Day Weekend.”
DENVER FOOD + WINE FESTIVAL
WHERE: Downtown Denver
The Denver Food + Wine Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of food, wine, and spirits education, promotion, and tastings. The festival aims to highlight industry impact through a series of events, promote workforce development, and celebrate Denver as a culinary destination.
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,
- 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
- 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 -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
Celebrate Durango’s ranching heritage with performances, a motorless parade, train rides & more. Spectacular autumn foliage in the mountains, beautiful fall temperatures, and cattle drives all signal it’s time for the annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering. the event celebrates the American cowboy and ranching culture and stories 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, staged evening performances 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 along with the “Mystery of El Dorado” Cowboy Theatre at Durango Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. Evening performances 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 Heel
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.
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.
For a complete schedule, tickets, performer bios, and more information call 970.749.2995 and visit www.DurangoCowboyPoetryGathering.org. Also, follow the event on Facebook.
October Festivals in Colorado
GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL® AND 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. Dozens of beer fests happen throughout the year. Events include things like 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,
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 a theme park to a “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.
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: Weekends in October
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
DENVER GORILLA RUN
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
- Durango Heritage Train – Durango, CO
November Festivals in Colorado
- Denver International Wine Festival – Denver, CO Cancelled for 2021
- 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 17th 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 from 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 as one of the best panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains.
Despite its 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.