Colorado loves its festivals. From tacos to bacon to chili, the food is the inspiration for many of the state’s most exciting celebrations.
Like beer, whiskey, and wine, as well as costumes, you have to visit Colorado festivals.
Festivals in State of Colorado
Ullr Fest in Breck
Breck’s Ullr Fest in January is one of the most unusual and popular festivals in the state. Breckenridge has been celebrating this Viking-inspired holiday (named for the winter god of Norse mythology) for more than 50 years, and it regularly attracts more than 12,000 visitors.
Skiers and guests wearing horned hats dive into the snow and people competitively toss pans. The Ullr parade is one of the most creative you will see. In the past, people turned their floats into little ski jumps or drifted in a hot tub on wheels. Golden Ullr Grass Festival, also in January, brings live music to the feet.
Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour in Keystone
A whole festival dedicated to bacon? Yes please. Keystone meets every year for its annual bacon festival in June, when downtown is packed with bacon stands and samples. Taste bacon on everything from cupcakes to donuts, and wash it down with beer and whiskey. Live music completes the event, making it a great party that will fill you up.
Denver Taco Festival
Tacos alone aren’t rare, but this festival is unique enough to get a lot of attention, the Denver Taco Festival focuses (not surprisingly) on the best street tacos in town. In the past, it also featured Lucha Libra wrestling, “daredevil” Chihuahua races, and live game shows that audiences can participate in.
Conveniently, you can wash your tacos with tequila – choose from over 40 different types. This summer festival is inexpensive, features cheap tacos and free live music, and even raises money for a good cause.
The Giant Pumpkin Festival, Old Colorado City
Charlie Brown would dig this one. Old Colorado City features some of the largest pumpkins in the state at this annual fall event. The Giant Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrow Days mean you’ll see tons of scarecrows on the streets. Celebrate the “weigh-in” to determine who is the largest pumpkin.
Not surprisingly, this festival is in October.
Feeling a bit naughty? Sick of pumpkin all? Head to Idaho Springs next month for the free Pumpkin Smash Festival. Punch, toss, and smash your old pumpkins and then learn how to compost them, instead of throwing them in the trash.
High Altitude BBQ in Leadville
Leadville’s BBQ and Beer Party itself isn’t that wild. But what makes it stand out is the altitude. Leadville claims it is the highest altitude barbecue party in the world, at 10,152 feet above sea level.
The Leadville Beer and BBQ Festival each summer features live music, pit pros, craft beers, a car show, and carnival. Even a child’s food. Warning: beer consumed this high in the sky can hit you a lot, so hydrate more.
The Colorado Springs Lantern Festival in the fall must be the most beautiful festival in the state. Imagine thousands of people gathered with biodegradable flashlights. They light them and they fly up into the sky, like hundreds of bright stars.
These types of lanterns are a symbol of good fortune and hope.
The festival also includes music, dancing, S’mores, and food vendors. You can also experience a Lanternfest in Denver.
Festivus For The Rest of Us
Thanks Seinfeld. Colorado also celebrates Festivus every December.
Is the Denver Beer Festivus basically another excuse to drink craft beer? Absolutely. But it is also a quirky and fun event. Visit Rare Beer Row, which highlights especially rare beer offerings (like a beer and coffee fusion).
Many contestants appear in their catchiest festive outfit. It’s like a big ugly Christmas sweater party, made more tolerable by craftsmanship.
Then save your ugly sweater for the December Ugly Sweater Race in Denver.
Frozen Dead Guy Days in Ned
No festival is as unusual as Nederland’s Spring Frozen Dead Guy Days, named after a former resident who died and wanted to be frozen and revived. Activities include a casket race, a polar dive in the cold depot, a frozen salmon toss, turkey bowling, and frozen t-shirt contests.
Big Fruitcake Toss
Admit it. You don’t like fruit cake. The city of Manitou Springs has found a use for this unloved vacation staple. The Great Fruitcake Toss comes in late January, right after the holidays, when you start wondering what to do with the old fruitcakes you never ate (all of them).
As the name implies, this is a gathering of locals who have had a fruitcake tossing contest, for over 20 years. There is also a fruitcake baking as people try to find a way to make the fruitcake tolerable.
The Great Fruitcake Toss includes a costume contest. Why? Why not?
Geese Watching Festival
Every spring, the skies over southeastern Colorado fill with an avalanche of white geese. Their migration is the reason for this celebration every February in Lamar.
Bird watchers and bird lovers gather for the High Goose Snow Goose Festival to bird watch, tour, learn about geese, and hear special speakers. Participants can also show their artistic eye in the geese photography contest.
Anime fans gather every March near Denver to celebrate their love of graphic novels and Japanese animation.
The convention, Animeland Wasabi Classic, is a three-day gathering that includes dance parties, photo shoots, movie screenings, art, vendors, food, game tournaments, and more.
Snowboarding in Denver
This is not your ordinary snowboarding event. First, it’s in downtown Denver, not on the ski slopes.
Snowboard on the Block, in October, starts the boarding season. It features the best snowboarding movies, live music, and a traffic jam on the streets. Fan pros come together for equipment sales, a mini ramp, competitions and more, all in 25 tons of real snow.