Recommended: Big Pumpkins and Cool Books

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock closed out the 2021 live music schedule at Gardens on Spring Creek (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt


It was a perfect evening at The Gardens on Spring Creek. At least perfect for a music fan. The event was a rare area appearance by legendary jazzman Herbie Hancock, closing out the 2021 live music season at The Gardens with style.

Hancock showed plenty of creative strength at the piano and a willingness to take things out to the edge with his electronics. His four piece band followed suit mixing in flute and otherworldly guitar work for a music that both soothed and challenged the ear.

I’ll admit it. This was my first time hearing live music at The Gardens and I was impressed.

This was a full capacity event — presented in partnership with the Lincoln Center — and there seemed to be room for everybody. The line was long for a drink but I got into an interesting conversation along the way. The sound was very good and that’s important when listening to someone with the musical panache of Hancock.

The weather also cooperated for what was, in general, a top-shelf night of live music. I’ll be watching closely for next year’s music schedule.

Outdoor live music may be done for the year but other events continue at The Gardens on Spring Creek. The big one coming up soon is Pumpkins on Parade, scheduled for the evenings of October 21-24.

Autumn lights (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)
Pumpkins on Parade at Gardens on Spring Creek (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

This is a family event featuring a Community Carved Pumpkin Contest, colorful displays of lights, pumpkins, and gourds, pumpkin bowling and entertainment by the Reading Retrievers, the CSU Bug Zoo, and TimFoolery the Magician. Food trucks and a full bar will be available too.

Pumpkin carving (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

If you’re a pumpkin grower and want to add to the festivities, The Gardens wants to hear from you.

Pumpkins on Parade is set from Thursday, October 21 to Sunday, October 24, from 6 – 9 p.m. each evening. Advanced tickets are recommended. Check out their site at for details.

Fort Collins Book Fest 2021: Spend time with a diverse roster of authors, take workshops and celebrate an unofficial “Local Literary Month” all through October thanks to the annual Fort Collins Book Fest.

The Fort Collins Book Fest itself kicks off on October 20 with workshops including “Writing Historical Fiction”, a “Book Club for Mortals”, and “Birds and Other Beings: How Poetry Takes Flight” with Loveland poet Veronica Patterson.

October 21 features a workshop on screenplay writing geared to “get you started on your screenwriting journey”.  Kathleen Sonnely leads a workshop on October 22 titled “Alibis and Twists: Unlock the Secrets of Mystery Writing.”

The schedule for Saturday, October 23 is very full with presentations, a concert and a look at horror fiction with Stephen Graham titled “My Heart is a Chainsaw: A Love Letter to Slasher Films”, all at the Lincoln Center.

The main event is in the afternoon, 2 p.m., on October 23, when author Kali Fajardo-Anstine will speak at the Lincoln Center. Her book is “Sabrina & Corina” and her appearance is in partnership with Fort Collins Reads, Poudre River Public Library and Connect to Curiosity.

The Book Fest winds up with workshops on October 24.

Part of the effort here is to also shine a light on other book-related events happening throughout October in a self-proclaimed “Local Literary Arts Month”. Check out the Fort Collins Book Fest site at for full details — apparently, there is a lot more info to come.

MoA Correction: Reviewing a recent article, I found that I’ve been calling the Museum of Art Fort Collins by the wrong name. I’ve been calling it the “Fort Collins Museum of Art” and that’s just not accurate. My bad.

There is still a little time left to view the excellent “Beauty & The Beast” exhibit at the Museum of Art Fort Collins, featuring individual works and collaborations by creative artists Lorri Acott and Adam Schultz. That one closes on October 17.

Next up at MoA is “Blow Up II: Inflatable Contemporary Art”, scheduled to run from October 29-January 9, 2022. The exhibit “explores the imaginative ways that artists use air as a tool for creating large-scale sculpture and includes imagery that is figurative and abstract”. See the museum’s site at for full info.

NOCO Live Music: Up in the Poudre Canyon, Mishawaka celebrates its 20th Anniversary with The Disco Biscuits, October 15-17.

Shlump is in downtown Fort Collins at the Aggie Theatre on October 16, along with Onhell and Enenra. Also coming to the Aggie: Aqueous on October 22, Del McCoury Band on October 27, and The Great Salmon Famine Halloween Party, with Shtonk Brass Band, on October 30.

On the schedule at Avogadro’s Number: Just Jazz Quintet on October 15, Mad Dog Blues on October 22, and Cowboys Dead on October 23.

Toby Keith is in Loveland at the Events Center at The Ranch on October 16. Glove Trucker is at Swing Station in Laporte on October 17. The Matt Skinner Band plays Swing Station on October 29 and Guerilla Fanfare plays the Magic Rat on October 30.

At Washington’s: Delta Rae on October 15, Todd Snider on October 27, The Motet on October 29, and Lotus on October 30. Dar Williams is at The Armory on October 23.

Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins. Explore his YouTube channel at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt”.

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