AS TEM­PER­A­TURES COOL, FES­TIV­I­TIES AR­RIVE

Here are 15 of the best Colorado fall fes­ti­vals

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Erica Boni­face

Whether you’re a beer-fest fa­natic or looking for more fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties, there’s prob­a­bly a fall fes­ti­val for you. We’ve rounded up 15 sea­sonal fes­ti­vals to get you started. »

Good­bye, sum­mer. Hello, sea­son of pump­kin-spice-fla­vored ev­ery­thing, plaid shirts, UGG boots, and no leg-shav­ing un­til spring.

It’s fall, the sea­son when ski re­sorts open and the trees are chang­ing col­ors in the moun­tains. And there are all those fes­ti­vals to keep you en­ter­tained.

We’ve rounded up 15 sea­sonal fes­ti­vals hap­pen­ing through­out Colorado. Whether you’re a beer-fest fa­natic or looking for more fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties, there’s enough here for ev­ery­one to get a fill of fall.

Farm to Bot­tle Fall Fes­ti­val

Old South Gay­lord, 1059 S. Gay­lord St., Den­ver; Sept. 30, 2-7 p.m.; $45 for gen­eral ad­mis­sion; $75 for VIP; old­south­gay­lord.com/farm-to-bot­tle

If you’re fix­ing for a good time, the Farm to Bot­tle Fall Fes­ti­val has all the in­gre­di­ents. The event fea­tures a large live mu­sic lineup as well as a tast­ing of lo­cal brew­eries, winer-

ies and dis­til­leries. A por­tion of the pro­ceeds from the fes­ti­val will be do­nated to the Park People, which raises money to pre­serve and ad­vo­cate for Den­ver parks, recre­ation re­sources, open spa­ces and ur­ban for­est ar­eas.

Den­ver 48th An­nual Ok­to­ber­fest

Ball­park Neigh­bor­hood be­tween 20th and 22nd streets on Larimer; Aept. 22-23, 29-30; the­den­verok­to­ber­fest.com

Whip on those leder­ho­sen and grab your rac­ing wiener dogs: It’s time to cel­e­brate Ok­to­ber­fest in Den­ver. Nearly 350,000 people make the trek to en­joy the six-day fes­ti­val on most years. What’s more, it’s one of the largest beer fes­ti­vals in the United States based on con­sump­tion be­cause, well, Den­ver loves beer. Spe­cial events in­clude the Long Dog Derby (the wiener-dog race), stein-hoist­ing com­pe­ti­tions, brat-eat­ing show­downs and more.

Fall Wine & Food Clas­sic

Ger­ald Ford Am­phithe­ater, 530 S. Frontage Road, Vail; Sept. 23, 4-7:30 p.m.; $60; Tas­te­of­vail.com

You’ll want your ul­tra-stretch pants after The Fall Wine & Food Clas­sic Grand Tast­ing, where you’ll ex­plore amaz­ing South­ern Hemi­sphere wine and food. This event fea­tures all of the Taste of Vail winer­ies and restau­rants, so you know your stom­ach will be treated as a VIP. Guests will also love south-ofthe-equa­tor mu­sic while din­ing.

2nd An­nual Craft Beer & Wine Fes­ti­val

Or­chard Town Cen­ter, 14697 Delaware St., West­min­ster; Sept. 23, 4-9 p.m.; $40/pre-sale, $50/ door, $75/VIP; The­o­r­chard­town­cen­ter.com

Look, you can’t go wrong with any beer and wine fes­ti­val in our books. But we’ve gotta ad­mit, the Beer & Wine Fes­ti­val at Or­chard Town Cen­ter has all the mak­ings for a qual­ity time. En­joy tasters from lo­cal brew­eries and winer­ies, plate sam­ples from Or­chard restau­rants, live mu­sic and more.

The Bloody Mary Fes­ti­val

EXDO Event Cen­ter, 1399 35th St., Den­ver; Oct. 22, 1-4 p.m.; $45-$65; Eventbrite.com

It’s as if event plan­ners read our di­aries as to where we see our­selves in 10 years. This event is rea­son enough to get fan­cied up on a Satur­day af­ter­noon for an out­ing with friends. Tick­ets in­clude three hours of un­lim­ited tastes of Den­ver’s most cre­ative and in­no­va­tive Bloody Marys. There’s also food, drinks from other spots and live mu­sic. Lunch from lo­cal food trucks will also be avail­able.

Au­tumn Gold Fes­ti­val

Estes Park; Sept. 23-24; Visitestes­park.com

You’ll love be­ing among all those golden-hued Aspens dur­ing the Au­tumn Gold Fes­ti­val in Estes Park. There will be plenty of live mu­sic, beer, food and fun kids’ ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a bounce house, face paint­ing and a corn bag toss. There’s also a clas­sic car show. As if that’s not enough to get you to at­tend, a huge draw is the pop­u­lar raf­fle, where the win­ner will take home cash!

17th An­nual Moun­tain Har­vest Fes­ti­val

Down­town Pao­nia; Sept. 21-24; Moun­tain­har­vest­fes­ti­val.org

Head to beau­ti­ful Pao­nia to cel­e­brate this ev­ery­thing-lo­cal har­vest. From agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers to artists, writ­ers and crafters, this is a true lo­cal event that you’ll fall in love with each year. Live mu­sic will be hap­pen­ing through­out the four-day event. There’s even a pub crawl on Fri­day night. Plus, en­joy all the fall col­ors along the way to the West­ern Slope. This is what the sea­son is all about in Colorado.

2017 Fruita Fall Fes­ti­val

Down­town Fruita, 432 E. Aspen Ave.; Sept. 22-24; Fruitafallfes­ti­val.com

Load up the car and head west on In­ter­state 70 for the 2017 Fruita Fall Fes­ti­val! The event will fea­ture over 125 ven­dors sell­ing arts, crafts, food, bev­er­ages and more. Or­ga­niz­ers are ex­pect­ing 50,000 people to at­tend the event. The fes­ti­val touts a tal­ent show, pa­rade, out­house race, golf tour­ney and cook­ing con­test. Say no more ... we’re in.

Glen­wood Springs Har­vest Fes­ti­val

Down­town Glen­wood Springs; Sept. 30, noon-8 p.m.; glen­wood- cham­ber.com

Do we re­ally need to per­suade you to spend a week­end up in Glen­wood Springs? The Har­vest Fes­ti­val is a great time to head to the Roar­ing Fork Val­ley. There will be lo­cal mu­sic, art, farms, food and loads of ac­tiv­i­ties. Oh, and pack your bathing suit for a dip in the Hot Springs Pool while you’re there. Or, for the adren­a­line junkies, check out the thrill rides at Ad­ven­ture Cav­erns.

Breck­en­ridge Fall Fest

River­walk Cen­ter, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breck­en­ridge; Oct. 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Breck­en­ridge­grand­va­ca­tions.com

Al­right, get your cos­tumes ready for trick-or-treat­ing at Breck­en­ridge’s Fall Fest! Other ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the four-hour event in­clude bounce houses, tram­po­lines, ob­sta­cles cour­ses, face paint­ing, bal­loon art, pump­kin dec­o­rat­ing, a live DJ and loads more.

9th An­nual Den­ver Beer Fest

100 beer-re­lated events through­out Den­ver; Sept. 29-Oct. 7; event lineup: Den­ver.org

Doubt we need to tell you to get down with Den­ver Beer Fest. Den­ver is, after all, Amer­ica’s No. 1 beer city. For nine days, there will be more than 100 beer­re­lated events through­out Den­ver. We’re talk­ing rare beer tap­pings, brewer events, beer and food pair­ings, tap takeovers, and keg-loads more. The fi­nale cul­mi­nates with the Great Amer­i­can Beer Fes­ti­val, the largest beer com­pe­ti­tion in the coun­try.

Ap­ple­fest

Cedaredge; Oct. 7-8; Cedaredgecham­ber.com

Look, Cedaredge is only 274 miles from Den­ver. You can do it, road war­riors. Each year since 1977, the Sur­face Creek Val­ley has been hon­or­ing the ap­ple har­vest with a fun fes­ti­val in down­town Cedaredge. There will be over 150 booths, a clas­sic car and trac­tor show, mo­tor­cy­cle show, chili cook-off, gala dance, a 5K run and days of live mu­sic. The week­end is packed with fruitli$5,000 cious fam­ily fun .

23rd An­nual Chile & Fri­joles Fes­ti­val

Down­town Pue­blo; Sept. 22-24; Fes­ti­val.pueblocham­ber.org

Send sum­mer off the Colorado way: with the aroma of roast­ing chiles waft­ing in the air. The an­nual Chile & Fri­joles Fes­ti­val (pre­sented by Loaf ‘N Jug) is Pue­blo’s har­vest cel­e­bra­tion. Each year, thou­sands come out to honor Pue­blo’s best loved crops: green chi­ies, fri­joles and pinto beans. Your gas­troen­terol­o­gist will more than likely not be in at­ten­dance.

Botanic Gar­dens Pump­kin Fes­ti­val

8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road, Lit­tle­ton; Oct. 13-15; Corn Maze ad­mis­sion: $14/adults; $13/ stu­dents, mil­i­tary and se­niors (65+); $11/chil­dren (ages 3-12); Botan­ic­gar­dens.org

It doesn’t get more sea­sonal than the Pump­kin Fes­ti­val at Botanic Gar­dens in Lit­tle­ton. Bring out your lit­tle ghost and gob­lins for hayrides, bar­rel train rides, un­lim­ited jump­ing on a gi­ant pil­low, pony rides and even ham­ster balls. But, let’s get real here: The 7-acre corn maze is where it’s all at. The maze can be viewed from two 15-foot-tall il­lu­mi­nated bridges. For lit­tle ex­plor­ers un­der the age of 10, there’s even a mini-maze.

18th An­nual Punkin Chunkin Colorado

Ara­pa­hoe Park Race­track; Oct. 6-8; Auror­agov.org

This gourd-a-be an­other good time! Punkin Chunkin Colorado is the sig­na­ture fall event in Aurora — which is just one of only five pump­kin chunk­ing com­pe­ti­tion events sanc­tioned by the World Cham­pi­onship Punkin Chunkin Or­ga­ni­za­tion. It’s se­ri­ous pump­kin fling­ing. The fes­ti­val also in­cludes ac­tiv­i­ties like live mu­sic, face paint­ing, pony rides, crafts, a pump­kin patch and blow-up corn maze.

Want more fall events? Visit The Know’s full events cal­en­dar for more fun finds.

Ben Lehman, Pao­nia Moun­tain Har­vest Fes­ti­val

Live mu­sic dur­ing the day is a huge draw to Pao­nia’s Moun­tain Har­vest Fes­ti­val.

Kathryn Scott, Den­ver Post file

Par­ty­go­ers have their photo taken at the Ok­to­ber­fest cel­e­bra­tion on Larimer Street in down­town Den­ver.

Matt In­den/miles

Elk get their feet wet at Rocky Moun­tain Na­tional Park in Estes Park.

Andy Cross, Den­ver Post file

Have fun with gourds at Den­ver Botanic Gar­dens Chat­field Farms’ an­nual pump­kin fes­ti­val.

RJ San­gosti, Den­ver Post file

Re­lax and have fun at the Glen­wood Springs Hot Springs Pool.

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