Mostly everyone loves summertime festivals, because they embody everything that we love about summer. That means all these things:
- Being outdoors in the shimmering heat and extended daylight.
- Wearing lighter clothing, and going barer than you never thought
- Eating foods you would NEVER choose otherwise (like fried butter and things that sound terrible but great in the heat of summer).
- Drinking something icy cold and sighing because it completely refreshes you
- Live music, whether it’s good or bad
But now, as fall becomes more summer-like (no, I won’t mention anything about climate change here – promise), those festivals seem just as prevalent as the leaves turn and the temperatures fall.
Olathe Sweet Corn Festival
Colorado sweet corn isn’t something most people know about. The Olathe season is incredibly short, just a few weeks at the end of July and two into August. But it’s the most tender cob you’ll ever taste, made all the more tantalizing by this short life span. The small town Western Slope festival celebrates this fleeting gift of summer with live music concerts and naturally, a corn eating contest.
Palisade Peach Festival
Here’s another best-kept secret about Colorado produce – Palisade peaches. We even have them around here as popular school and organization fundraisers. At the festival, you can enjoy lots of peach-related fun and food, as well a disc golf tournament, a 5K and 10K race and watching one of the Rockies farm teams play ball.
Golden Fine Arts Festival
Of course, I needed to give a shout-out to my own hometown and one its most popular events. During this two-day fest, you can shop around for paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry, housewares and other artisan creations right next to the historical park and Clear Creek. Don’t forget to try out some of the tasty food and micro-brewebouldd beers…and I’m not talking about Coors either.
Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
The outdoor sports mecca and home of the University of Colorado’s main campus is often a destination in itself, and there are plenty of events going on throughout the year around town. But this September festival brings a lot of what people love about Boulder together in one place – creative ethnic cuisine, original artworks and energetic live music.
It would be wrong for me to write about fall festivals and not include something related to everyone’s favorite German celebration. The largest one in the state takes place over two weekends in late September in Larimer Square, and its schedule is chock-full of music, hearty food (think wursts of all types) and cascades of bier hoisted in steins.
Mountain Harvest Festival (Paonia)
This one also takes a bit of schlep to get to. But you’ll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful destinations in a state full of them. What also makes this festival a little different is the emphasis on the local. There are all kinds of entertainment, arts and crafts, and culinary events . You can also sign up for tours of nearby farms and wineries.
Chile & Frijoles Festival (Pueblo)
I wrote last time about New Mexican food and its start attraction, chiles. Now if you’re craving a little Southwestern, this just might be one of the best places to get your fix. Pueblo also happens to host the state fair in August. In contrast, this event concentrates on regional food showcases, with plenty of live music and contests thrown in for fun.
Have you been to any of these festivals in the Centennial State? Do you know of any others I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to know what you know in the comments.