Roamin’ the Range: July Festivals in Colorado

PHOTO BY BLAINE HOWERTON. Thousands of people enjoy a summer performance at a recent outdoor music festival.

By Libby James

These Colorado festivals provide an opportunity to get away for a few days and enjoy outdoor festivals in the long days and welcome warmth of the Colorado summer.

The Thirty-seventh Annual Steamboat Springs Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park takes place July 14 and 15. Arrive early to see the balloons launch. Watch the balloonists compete as they dip into Bald Eagle Lake and dot the Yampa Valley with their colorful balloons. Balloon Glow lights up Mt. Werner in the evening. Walk among the tethered balloons. Arrive at 8 p.m., 2305 Mt. Werner Road. Be prepared for amazing photo opportunities as the balloons are illuminated at 8:15 p.m.

Between July 6 and 15, Crested Butte will celebrate their Thirty-second Annual Wildflower Festival. Committed to the preservation and appreciation of wildflowers in the wildflower capital of Colorado, this event features walks and hikes for all abilities, photography and art workshops, birding and butterfly outings, geology and geobotany, garden tours, cooking classes and backcountry Jeep tours. Printed guides available. Festival headquarters are at the historic train depot, 716 Elk Avenue. Those interested in custom group tours are advised to book before or after the festival dates.

Seventeen-year-old Denver Underground Music Showcase will have a new look and feel in 2018 as event producers Two Parts takes over from the event formerly sponsored by the Denver Post. Between July 26 and 29, it will feature craft beer, food, spirits and hundreds of musical acts, many with national reputations, highlighting the musical scene in the Mile High City. This freewheeling festival has been compared to Austin’s South by Southwest and is planned to take place in the South Broadway area of Denver.

Vail Dance Festival celebrates the artistry of the dance for two weeks between July 28 and August 11 in several Vail locations centered around Tivoli Lodge. Performances by American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, and BalletX. There will be performances of international dance, a young patrons party and premieres of new works. See Vail Dance Festival website for detailed information and opportunities to purchase tickets.

During August and September, the festivals go on—and on! Check out the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, A Taste of Colorado in Denver’s Civic Park, Colorado Pork and Hops Challenge in Grand Junction, Colorado Mountain Wine Festival in Snowmass, the Chiles and Frijoles Festival in Pueblo, a Sweet Corn Festival in Olathe, the Salida Wine Festival, Sugar Beet Days in Sterling, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, Telluride Blues and Brews, the Vail Jazz Party, and a Snowmass-Aspen Jazz Festival in Snowmass town park.

Close to home, don’t miss Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest the second weekend in August and the enormous biking event, Tour de Fat, that will take place September 2.

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