Whatever time of year draws you state-side to Colorado, you will never be too far from some kind of exciting annual event. Even if you haven’t travelled seeking one of these out, events are a sure fire way to get to grips with the ethos of a place and immerse yourself in local life. Here are a few of our favourite ones in Colorado that you can find scattered across any given year.
THE X GAMES , ASPEN – JANUARY
One of the ultimate ski and snowboard events in the world; the X Games will dazzle you as some of the world’s best athletes compete for extreme winter sport glory at the legendary Buttermilk Mountain. This event is open to everyone and is totally free. What’s more, you can catch performances by well known bands and DJs during the course of the event, giving it that extra pulling power.
NATIONAL WESTERN STOCK SHOW, DENVER – MID JANUARY
Spread out over 16 days and 100 acres, the National Western Stock Show is more than 100 years old and a real ‘Western’ event. You might almost feel like you have gone back in time. This is the second largest rodeo event in the United States, and home to Wild West shows, bull rider events, and Mexican rodeo extravaganzas. The prep area is open to the public and you can see rows of cattle, horses, sheep, yak, llamas and bison being prepared for judging.
WINTER CARNIVAL, STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – FEBRUARY
For over 93 years the Winter Carnival has championed a tradition of celebrating outdoor events, including an outdoor adventure film festival, ski jumping, dual slalom bicycle race, snowboarding jam session, telemark revival, chariot racing, and a ‘diamond hitch parade’ (which involves kids on skis being pulled along by a horse along Main Street). The festival ends with an incredible fireworks display and the lighting of an effigy, which has the rather literal name of the ‘Lighted Man’.
DENVER MARCH POW POW, DENVER – MARCH
Get into the spirit of Denver at an event which celebrates the ancient heritage of the state it lives in. It is famous for featuring hundreds of dancers from dozens of different tribes – and each year, you can find a whole host of wonderful dances in different styles, with eye catching costumes. The city also comes to life with innovative arts and crafts stands, as well as stalls that serve delicious and unique Native American Food. The Denver March Pow Pow is a firm fixture and attracts visitors from far and wide.
COWBOY’S ROUNDUP DAYS AND 4TH JULY, STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – JUNE/JULY
If you want to experience the pinnacle of summer in Colorado, head to Steamboat Springs. The town celebrates Independence Day in true Western style, with many unique little events, such as the cattle drive-through in the downtown area, the ranch rodeo, a concert and fireworks. By day you can get stuck in to events like the Pro Rodeo Series and Pioneer Days Block Party; then as evening draws in, gaze up as the skies are filled with colour, at one of Colorado’s biggest firework displays.
CRESTED BUTTE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS, CRESTED BUTTE – AUGUST
This is one of the oldest and biggest occasions in the state. It draws artists, photographers and craft enthusiasts from around the country, and visitors can enjoy open air arts and crafts to the sound of live music. The National Historic District in Crested Butte has many unique attractions for people to explore, with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and beautiful shops set against the backdrop of the Elk Mountain Range.
COLORADO SPRINGS BALLOON CLASSIC , COLORADO SPRINGS – AUGUST/SEPTEMBER
Picture over 100 beautifully coloured hot air balloons filling the skies during the day and illuminating the ground at night; this is the Balloon Glo. It is the biggest and longest continuously running hot air balloon festival in the Rocky Mountain region, and will add a vibrant element to your trip. Activities for visitors include balloon rides, live musical entertainment and a photo contest.
COLORADO MOUNTAIN WINEFEST, PALISADE – SEPTEMBER
If you like wine, then this festival is one for you. It is the largest of its kind in Colorado and has over four dozen wineries involved. Tipples aside, you can enjoy amazing music, food and live chef demonstrations, as you soak up the scenic surroundings of the wine country. Wine lovers come for miles to attend this exciting event and sample the ever-increasing array of locally produced wine. But there’s more to it than just sampling the produce; get ready to cycle round the vineyards before you partake in some grape-stomping. We’re sold.