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Expect some stage shenanigans at New Belgium Brewing's annual Tour de Fat. —Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing

7 Labor Day Festivals Worth Exploring

Colorado residents know how to throw a party. Don't miss these unique Labor Day Weekend celebrations. 

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For many, Labor Day means one last chance to get outside, celebrate the sun, and enjoy time with loved ones in anticipation of the soon-to-come chilly weather. For others, it means an excitable scribble of “three-day weekend” on the calendar, written in all caps and surrounded by an excess of exclamation points. Regardless of the category you fit into, don’t miss these opportunities to enjoy the quirks and charms the Centennial State has to offer.

New Belgium Tour de Fat

New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat, a celebration of beer and cycling, is coming to its home base in Fort Collins this Labor Day weekend. The festival will kick off with an open-participation parade (costumes encouraged), and the partying will continue throughout the day with a 1,000-person dance contest, circus shows, live music, cycling shenanigans, and, of course, New Belgium brews. Can’t make it? The celebration continues in the Mile High City on September 12. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m; Civic Center Park, 201 Laporte Ave., Fort Collins; free admission

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Beaver Creek Oktoberfest

Dust off your lederhosen and practice your chicken dance because this weekend Beaver Creek will celebrate its 16th annual Oktoberfest. The festival will feature unbeatable beer and wurst, a Bavarian costume contest, and live Oom-Pah-Pah performances by Trachtenkapelle (hailing from Austria) and Beaver Creek’s own Helmut Fricker. Lederhosen feeling a little tight? Participate in the Oktoberfest Shuffle 5k or 10k on Sunday to work off some of those brats. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Beaver Creek Plaza, Beaver Creek; free admission

Gathering at the Great Divide

Thousands from around the region will head to Breckenridge this weekend for the 40th annual Gathering at the Great Divide, a festival featuring works from 110 artists from around the country in a variety of mediums. Dick Cunningham, who has been exhibiting his work since 1971, is co-directing the festival, along with his daughter Tina. “It’s fun dealing with all the artists and putting on something the town can be proud of,” says Cunningham. And the town should be proud—the Gathering at the Great Divide is ranked among the top 200 fine arts festivals in the country. Need another reason to visit? Festival-goers can walk down Main Street to view the Summit Foundation’s Rubber Duck Race on Saturday, during which more than 10,000 rubber ducks will be released down the river. May the best duck win. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Main Street, Breckenridge; free admission

Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off

With fall colors just beginning to show in the Springs, there’s no better time to visit than this weekend for the 39th annual balloon festival. The festival attracts visitors from all over the region and will feature dozens of balloons, including special shapes such as Yoda and the little old lady who lived in a shoe. Balloon rides are available through Rainbow Ryders, and entertainment will include a beer garden overlooking the lake, a skydiving show by the Wings of Blue Demonstration Team (an 800-square-foot American flag will be involved), and live music from Suga Bear and the Show Time Band. Friday to Sunday, 6:15 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday, 7 a.m.; Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs; free admission

The Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience

Set in Snowmass Town Park in the shadow of the spectacular Elk Mountain Range, this three-day, open-air music festival will attract upwards of 10,000 visitors per day. And with headliners such as Hozier, No Doubt, Lenny Kravitz, and Colorado’s own The Fray, there’s no doubt as to why the festival is so popular. Between acts, grab a bite from vendors such as Humble Plum, Windy City Eats, and Burrito Perfecto, shop the local craft booths, or visit the mixology tent to experience revolutionary craft beer combinations. Stay a day longer to adventure in the nearby mountains or experience the small-town culture of Aspen. Friday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday, 3 to 9 p.m.; Snowmass Village, 2835 Brush Creek Rd., Aspen; $185

Wild West Air Fest & Labor Day Celebration

Visit Steamboat Springs for a sky-high celebration featuring breathtaking aerobatics shows, a static warbird and vintage plane display, a classic car show, and a kid zone to keep the little ones entertained. Plane rides are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, and the festival offers proximity to Sunday night’s Rocky Mountain PBR Bull Bash at Romick Stadium. Saturday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Steamboat Springs Airport, 3393 Airport Cir., Steamboat Springs; $10 per day for adults, $15 for the weekend; $5 for ages six through 12, and free admission for children five and younger

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Brews and Views Beer Festival

Stop and smell the roses this Saturday at the Brews and Views Beer Festival at Hudson Gardens. Enjoy the late summer afternoons at the Gardens while sampling some of the best craft breweries our state has to offer. The event will feature live rock music performed by the Robby Wicks Band, beer tastings from more than 30 breweries, and bites from food trucks such as Street Eats, PinkTank, A Taste of the Philippines, and Coaches Scoop. A portion of the proceeds will benefit local nonprofit Interfaith Community Services. Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.; Hudson Gardens, 6115 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton; $25 ($5 for non-drinkers)

(Check out 10 free things to do in Denver in September)

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