By Peggy Lyle
September brings us all back down to earth. Harvest brings root vegetables to the table, school is back in session, and we all think about our community. It is also the best time to celebrate the things we love about Fort Collins. There are far too many to fit them all into one single event, but three seem to symbolize our current definition of Fort Collins. The three are often mentioned and you can hardly help but notice them everywhere: local music, craft beer, and bicycling of every fashion. This September one festival attempts to embody all three passions.
Audiences are absolutely groupies of local music and the music scene just keeps delivering. Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, FoCoMX, SpokesBuzz, and local music venues have continued to cement our city as a hub for creative musicians, avid fans, recording studios, and budding bands.
FORToberfest will celebrate local music by offering three stages of continuous free music with a diverse lineup featuring Colorado and Fort Collins bands. Fans can start off the weekend with a Friday kick off concert with favorite 12 Cents for Marvin.
The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association, the non profit producing the festivities plan to open the festival on Friday Sept. 20, with bands staged at Old Town Square from 5pm to 10:30pm. On Saturday Sept. 21 live music will be located on two stages on Walnut and Linden Street between 11am to 10:30pm. The bicycle booths and larger beer showcase will open on Saturday as well.
The event celebrates our rich beer culture by offering tasty Colorado beer from local breweries including specialty beers as a representation of the vibrant Fort Collins brewing economy. Ten breweries are currently crafting new beers daily in Fort Collins and a few more are likely to come on line in the next few years.
Local breweries will be in attendance and selling beer, including Odell Brewery, Black Bottle Brewery, Pateros Creek, Coopersmith’s Pub and Brewing, New Belgium Brewery and Fort Collins Brewery. Participants can pair their beer with a variety of food from local vendors. In addition, the onsite Rio Patio will be serving their famous margaritas at the festival all day Saturday.
The art of beer brewing is something that Colorado as a whole has embraced and shares with every visitor to our city. It is simply a necessity in any Fort Collins festival that great craft beer is served.
Third and most on our minds…bicycles. We are simply bike crazy as a community. With the Tour de Fat or our recent stage of the USA Pro Challenge, people identify us as a bike community. We have been home to such cycling fixtures as Tour de France competitor Teejay Van Garderen who rode for Team Rio Grande back in the day and currently Olympic gold medalist Georgia Gould.
We can brag that we have more than 30 miles of bike trails, 280 miles of wide bike lanes and we were designated as a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community in 2013 by the League of American Bicyclists. FORToberfest is hoping to showcase our passionate bike culture by bringing bike community groups, our ten local bicycle manufacturers and cycling retailers.
Downtown Fort Collins is the hub for so much of Fort Collins culture, and it all starts in Old Town Square. You can bikeride to the Poudre River Trail head and most of the brew tours can be taken by foot or by quick bicycle ride. Old Town Square, Oak Street Plaza, and the many festivals offer live music during the summer months and year round music enthusiasts can check out the Aggie Theater, Lucky Joe’s, Avogadro’s Number, and Hodi’s Halfnote, which are all located in the greater downtown area. You never need to go far from downtown to experience Fort Collins culture.
This September, Fort Collins will look around to ground themselves in fall weather, eating great food and sampling seasonal beers. FORToberfest will offer people a final summer chance to celebrate these three fantastic aspects of Fort Collins culture, in our own style!
By Peggy Lyle