As the daylight gets longer and spring turns into a warm summer, Colorado is bustling with events and festivals all season long. The state celebrates its rich heritage, adventurous activities, tasty culinary offerings and artistic side with great fanfare. From sampling juicy peaches and honoring historic mining camps, to a weekend of rock and roll and a grueling statewide cycling race, summer fun is abundant in every corner of the state. Below are the top 12 summer events of 2012. For more information visit www.COLORADO.com.
Eats and Drinks
For the 30th year, chefs and foodies will descend on Aspen for the renowned Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic (June 15-17). This highly anticipated event kicks off Colorado’s summer food festivals with all-star tastings, cooking demos and many chances to meet celebrity chefs. The following weekend, the 23rd Annual Colorado Brewers’ Festival (June 23-24) will showcase more than 60 Colorado craft beers and nearly 40 Colorado breweries. Sample Colorado’s best brews and enjoy two stages of live music in historic Downtown Fort Collins. The summer gets a little sweeter with the Palisade Peach Festival (August 16-19), one of the state’s original agricultural festivals. For the 44th year, this Western Slope festival starts with an ice cream social and street dance, celebrating everything peach from pies to salsas and opportunities to explore Palisade via self or guided tours.[member]
Rich in History
For the fifth year, Breckenridge turns upside down to pay tribute to everything from its gold fields and mining to exploration and adventure activities for Kingdom Days (June 15-17). Visitors can cheer on competitors at events like the wildly popular Outhouse Races, tour museums, take a historic hike to an old mine and pan for gold, and even enjoy a weekend of live music and street performances, including a staged Wild West gun fight. Mid-summer is enjoyed on the eastern plains at the Kit Carson County PRCA Rodeo (July 26-28), which began in 1917. The rodeo features steer wrestling, bareback bronco riding, tie-down roping, bull riding, and new attractions that include a full carnival and midway and live music. The next week, the historic mining town of Leadville honors its rich past during Leadville Boom Days (August 3-5), when residents and visitors remember the history of the 1880s mining camp through a series of events, including a street fair, Boom Days Parade, the world-famous 21-mile International Pack Burro Race and more.
Mountain Music & The Arts
The summer’s most colorful weekend is the 32nd Annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo & 38th Annual Art in the Park (July 7-8) in Steamboat Springs. Discover artistry and vibrant colors both on canvases and in the air, when 40 hot air balloons float above the valley and Steamboat’s largest arts festival captures artistic wonder. Summer’s air fills with classical music during Music in the Mountains (July 8-29), Southwest Colorado’s premier three-week classical music festival, featuring orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances in multiple spectacular venues in Durango. Telluride welcomes a brand new rock and roll event this year, The Ride Festival (August 25-26) that will bring a dozen acts to Town Park, including Ben Harper and the Relentless 7, Los Lobos and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.
Into The Wild
The Arkansas River flows, rages and tumbles out of the world-famous Royal Gorge this summer for the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival (June 22-23). The festival features eight exhilarating events, including a Stand-Up Paddle Cross, Duckie Dash, and Raft Rodeo, plus live music, food and drinks. Wildflower lovers will rejoice this July in the wildflower capital of Colorado during the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival (July 9-15). Guests can enjoy more then 80 hikes ranging from easy to technical, photography classes, 4X4 tours into alpine backcountry, garden tours of Historic Crested Butte and more. At the end of August, the 2nd annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge (August 20-26) will weave through 13 host cities across the state from Durango to Denver. Professional cyclists will traverse 683 miles of breathtaking Rocky Mountain terrain in seven days. Along the route, spectators will have countless viewing opportunities, and can even run alongside the riders.[/member]