We don’t want to hear you say there’s nothing to do around here ever again. C’mon folks, we live in Colorado—there’s loads of great stuff to experience all year long. So, pull out your calendar and find a permanent marker. From must-see concerts and summer festivals to sporting events and holiday activities, we’ve got you scheduled for fun throughout 2012.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs. // 2:15 p.m., Sports Authority Field at Mile High, denverbroncos.com, ticket prices vary.
International Sportsmen’s Exposition. Camo-clad aficionados of hunting, fishing, and all things outdoors can spend four days perusing the best outfitters and the newest gear. // January 5 to 8, times vary, Colorado Convention Center, sportsexpos.com, $15.
Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil.
Trippy, jaw-dropping, and utterly fantastical, this Michael Jackson–themed Cirque du Soleil performance is wonderfully weird. // January 6 to 8. January 6 and 7 at 8 p.m.; January 8 at 4 p.m., Pepsi Center, cirquedusoleil.com, $50 to $175.
National Western Stock Show Super Saturday: Colorado Rodeo Champions vs. the World. Three rodeos in one day, all of which showcase our state’s best riders and ropers versus cowboys and cowgirls from around the globe. // 11 a.m.; 3:30 p.m.; 8 p.m., Denver Coliseum, nationalwestern.com, $12 to $60.
Ullr Fest. The town of Breckenridge pays homage to the Norse god of winter during this week-long celebration where Viking hats are considered appropriate attire. // January 8 to 14, event times and venues vary, Breckenridge, breckenridge.com; gobreck.com.
Bring It On: The Musical. Set against the world of competitive cheerleading, this new musical comedy comments on over-the-top high school rivalries (read: crazy teenagers hopped up on hormones get hilariously feisty). // January 10 to 21, show times vary, Buell Theatre, denvercenter.org, $25 to $95.
Adolph Coors III’s Birthday. Celebrate the Silver Bullet with a tour of Coors’ Golden-based brewery. // 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Coors Brewery; tours begin at the 13th and Ford Street parking lot in golden, millercoors.com, Free.
Wintersköl. Aspen’s four-day festival celebrates the season with fireworks, on-mountain activities, culinary events, and a canine fashion show. // January 12 to 15, event times and locations vary, Aspen, aspenchamber.org, many events are free.
Ruby Hill Rail Yard and Sledding Hill. Ruby Hill Park has a 35-degree slope for the old saucer as well as a mini terrain park for those looking to jib. // Ruby Hill Park, denvergov.org.
Letters from Mozart. “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” and “Requiem” are accompanied by readings of Mozart’s personal letters to friends and family. // 7:30 p.m., Boettcher Concert Hall, coloradosymphony.org, $15 to $65.
Winter Park SnowFest. Enjoy festivities in honor of the birth of Mary Jane, the resort’s more rugged (and famous) side. // January 20 to 22, event times vary, Winter Park Resort and downtown Winter Park, winterparkresort.com, free.
Colorado Indian Market & Southwest Showcase. Three days of American Indian music and dancing, handmade crafts, fine art, native foods, and demonstrations. // January 20 to 22, Denver Merchandise Mart, indianmarket.net; adults: $12, children under 13: free.
International Snow Sculpture Championships. Teams from around the world convene in Breckenridge to create art from snow, using little more than hand tools and their imaginations. // Sculpting begins at 11 a.m. on Tuesday (January 24) and ends at 10 a.m. on Saturday (Jan. 28). Judging begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge, gobreck.com, free.
16th Annual Winter X Games. // January 26 to 29, event times vary, Buttermilk Mountain, Aspen/Snowmass, stayaspensnowmass.com, free.
Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks. Icelantic and AEG Live team up to produce the first-ever winter concert at Red Rocks. // 7 p.m., Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, icelanticswinterontherocks.com
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild. // 7 p.m., Pepsi Center, http://avalanche.nhl.com, ticket prices vary.
Lizards & Snakes. This spring at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, see more than 60 live snakes and lizards from five continents. // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Denver Museum of Nature & Science, dmns.org; adults: $12; seniors: $8; kids: $6.
Soup R Salad Bowl. With a goal to raise $20,000 for the Food Bank of the Rockies and Arvada Community Food Bank, this friendly disc-golf competition is perfect for newbies and pros alike. // 8:30 a.m. check-in, Bird’s Nest Disc Park, Arvada, mhdgc.org, participants must get donations.
Widespread Panic. Panic plays the Fillmore for three straight days. Consider buying the three-day pass. // February 10 to 12, 6 p.m., Fillmore Auditorium, livenation.com, ticket prices vary.
Winter Teva Mountain Games: Day Two. Saturday’s full lineup of winter sports insanity includes slalom biking, telemarking, and ski mountaineering. // February 10 to 12, Saturday’s events begin at 7:30 a.m., Vail Mountain and Vail Village, tevamountaingames.com.
Colorado Garden & Home Show. For nine days this winter, you can ogle the latest ideas and trends in gardening, landscaping, and home improvement. // February 11 to 19, times vary, Colorado Convention Center, gardeningcolorado.com; adults: $12; seniors: $10.
Valentine’s Day. Take your special someone on a snowy hot chocolate sleigh ride with Breckenridge Sleigh Rides. // Breckenridge Sleigh Rides, Breckenridge, brecksleighrides.com, $59.50 per person.
DeVotchKa with the Colorado Symphony. This homegrown, multi-instrumentalist band, which you know from the soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine, joins forces with the Colorado Symphony. // 7:30 p.m., Boettcher Concert Hall, coloradosymphony.org, $25 to $87.
Boulder International Film Festival. This yearly event has become one of the up-and-coming film festivals in the country. Enjoy lesser-known films, documentaries, and shorts on Sunday. // February 16 to 19, event times and venues vary, Boulder, biff1.com, ticket prices vary.
University of Denver Pioneers vs. University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. // 8:07 p.m., Magness Arena, denverpioneers.com, ticket prices vary.
Denver Restaurant Week. More than 300 of Denver’s fine-dining establishments participate in this two-week-long culinary extravaganza. Reservations are a must. // February 25 to March 9, denver.org.
Leap Day. According to popular folklore, as long ago as the 1200s Leap Day was the only day on which a woman could propose to a man. So, ladies, make the most of the opportunity—it won’t come around again for four years.
Hit the Court. Brush up on your forehand with an instructional drill class. // 11 a.m. for advanced beginners; Gates Tennis Center, gatestenniscenter.info, $25.
American Idiot. A smash hit on Broadway, American Idiot is based on Green Day’s multiplatinum album of the same name. // March 6 to 11, show times vary, Buell Theatre, denvercenter.org, tickets start at $20.
Colorado Rapids Opening Day. // Game time TBD, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, coloradorapids.com, ticket prices vary.
Cross Country in City Park. March is the snowiest month of the year in Denver. When the white stuff piles up, head to City Park with your skinny sticks. // City Park, denvergov.org.
Jack Kerouac’s Birthday. This literary icon reportedly bellied up at Denver’s My Brother’s Bar on more than one occasion. Order a pint, nab a barstool, and do the same in honor of this pioneer of the Beat Generation. // My Brother’s Bar.
American Red Cross Month. Sign up to be a volunteer with the Mile High Red Cross. // denver-redcross.org.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade. // 10 a.m., Blake Street, downtown Denver, denverstpatricksdayparade.com.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Calgary Flames. // 7 p.m., Pepsi Center, http://avalanche.nhl.com, ticket prices vary.
Denver Auto Show. // March 21 to 25, times vary, Colorado Convention Center, denverautoshow.com; adults: $10; kids: $5.
Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective. A look at Saint Laurent’s career of creativity, featuring 200 couture outfits as well as photographs, drawings, and films. // March 25 to July 8, hours vary throughout the week, Denver Art Museum, denverartmuseum.org; adults: $22; seniors/students: $18; youth: $14.
NCAA Women’s Final Four. // April 1 and 3, game times vary, Pepsi Center, ncaa.com, ticket prices vary.
The Beach at A-Basin. A-Basin takes spring skiing to a different level with the Beach, a parking lot turned beach party at the resort’s base. // Most lifts run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Arapahoe Basin, arapahoebasin.com, $175 for a spot on the Beach (two parking spots and a picnic table).
Taste of Vail. Check out interactive seminars, wine tastings, cooking competitions, showcase dinners, and a mountaintop picnic. // April 5 to 7, event times, costs, and venues vary, tasteofvail.com.
Mercury Cafe: Open Poetry Reading. Feed your creative side during National Poetry Month. // 10 p.m., Mercury Cafe, mercurycafe.com, free.
Bunny Trail EggVenture. The Children’s Museum celebrates springtime with “eggsploration” stations, tasty treats, and story time with the Big Bunny. // 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Children’s Museum of Denver, mychildsmuseum.org, ages 2–59: $8; seniors: $6; kids under age 1: $6.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. // 8 p.m., Odgen Theatre, ogdentheater.net, $35 to $45.
Colorado Rockies Home Opener. // 2:10 p.m., Coors Field, http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com, ticket prices vary.
Colorado Mammoth vs. Toronto Rock. // 7 p.m., Pepsi Center—HealthOne Field, coloradomammoth.com, ticket prices vary.
100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic. In honor of the anniversary, visit the Molly Brown House Museum. // Sunday hours: First tour begins at noon, last tour begins at 3:30 p.m., Molly Brown House Museum, mollybrown.org; adults: $8; seniors: $6; kids: $4.
Tax Day. Make sure you’ve filed and then head to McCormick’s for Denver’s cheapest happy hour, with menu items ranging from $1.95 to $4.95. // 3 to 6 p.m., McCormick’s Fish House & Bar, mccormickandschmicks.com
Bobby Slayton. You’ll recognize this brazen comedian’s voice from Family Guy. // 8:30 p.m., Comedy Works (Larimer Square), comedyworks.com, $25.
Rocky Mountain Bridal Show. // 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Colorado Convention Center, rockymtnbridalshow.com, $10.
Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection. Featuring more than 200 pins from the personal collection of the former secretary of state. // April 15 to June 17, hours vary throughout the week, Denver Art Museum, denverartmuseum.org; adults: $10; seniors/students: $8; kids: $3.
Tour of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Distillery. Watch— and taste—one of the country’s most sought-after spirits before it heads to the liquor store. // 11 a.m.; 1 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 5 p.m., Stranahan's, stranahans.com, free.
Sign Up for SCUBA. Did you know that Colorado has one of the highest number of divers per capita in the country? If you’re not one of them, get yourself over to Denver Divers in Cherry Creek before your summer vacation. // Class times vary, Denver Divers, denverdivers.com, $290 for open-water diver classes.
Colorado Rockies vs. Atlanta Braves. // 6:40 p.m., Coors Field, http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com, ticket prices vary.
Derby Party. If you can’t make it to Churchill Downs, the next-best spot is at the 2012 Derby Party. // 1 to 6:30 p.m., venue TBD, denverderby.com
Bike the High Line Canal. The routes in Denver and Aurora are suited for road bikes; routes in Highlands Ranch, Chatfield, Cherry Hills, and Greenwood Village are better for mountain bikes. // Trail is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., High Line Canal Trail, denverwater.org/Recreation/HighLineCanal.
Denver Botanic Gardens Spring Plant Sale. Stock up on native plants as well as expert advice (you know, so you don’t kill them). // May 11, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; May 12, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, botanicgardens.org.
Plant Your Garden. Experts at CSU say you can plant your home garden in Denver today with about an 80 percent confidence level that there won’t be further frost. //
Mother’s Day. Take your mom for brunch on Colterra’s patio in the tiny town of Niwot. You’ll need reservations. // 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Colterra, Niwot, http://colterra.com.
Fly Fish the Arkansas River. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch should be in full bloom. // Arkansas River between Leadville and Cañon City.
Swim Medano Creek. Experience one of nature’s most spectacular displays at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In May, a roaring creek appears along the edge of the dunes with surges strong enough to “ride.” // Surges are highest at dawn, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Mosca, nps.gov/grsa/index.htm; adults: $3; children under 16: free.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox vs. New Orleans Zephyrs. Take in a minor league game in the Springs. // 6:05 p.m., Security Service Field, Colorado Springs, minorleaguebaseball.com
Colfax Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay. // coloradocolfaxmarathon.org, $60 (half) to $205 (relay team).
Raft the Arkansas River. Spring runoff makes for a thrilling ride through south-central Colorado on one of the country’s most rafted rivers. // croa.org.
Downtown Denver Arts Festival. This fine art and craft exhibition features more than 100 of Colorado’s best artists. // May 25 to 28, times vary, Denver Pavilions, downtowndenverartfestival.com, free.
Rugged Maniac 5K. A 5K race that combines rugged terrain and gnarly obstacles. // 8:45 a.m., Thunder Valley Motocross Park, Lakewood, ruggedmaniac.com; spectator: $10; participant: $48 to $88.
Paddle Fest. Buena Vista becomes the place to be for paddle sport enthusiasts over Memorial Day. // May 25 to 27, event times and venues vary, ckspaddlefest.com
BolderBoulder 10K. The race you know, love—and hopefully trained for. // 7 a.m., 30th and Walnut streets, Boulder, bolderboulder.com, $46 to $75.
Never Never Grow Up: Children’s Museum’s 39th Birthday Bash. One of the city’s most enjoyable benefit parties, this year’s shindig has a Peter Pan–inspired theme. // 6 to 10:30 p.m., The Children’s Museum of Denver, mychildsmuseum.org; junior level (ages 34 and younger): $100; individual level (ages 35 and up): $150.
Denver Chalk Art Festival on Larimer Square. More than 200 artists from around the country descend on Larimer Square to make the pavement their canvas. // 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Larimer Square, larimerarts.org, free.
New Belgium Brewing Tour. // 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, newbelgium.com, free.
Art Students League of Denver Summer Art Market. This 20-year-old market is a great way to support up-and-coming local artists. //June 9 to 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Art Students League of Denver, asld.org.
Ride the Rockies. You’ll pedal more than 400 miles, slay six mountain passes, and jump the Divide five times—on two wheels. // June 10 to 15, Route TBD on February 5, ridetherockies.com.
Asian Tropics. Denver Zoo’s newest exhibit features the animals of Asia, including (yay!) elephants. // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Denver Zoo, denverzoo.org, Adults: $13; Seniors: $10; Kids: $8.
Visit the History Colorado Center. Slated to open in April 2012, this 200,000-square-foot museum will be the new home of History Colorado and showcase its collections. // History Colorado Center, historycolorado.org
Food & Wine Classic. The granddaddy of all food festivals, this annual culinary extravaganza includes fabulous dinners, chef-led workshops, and wine tastings. // June 15 to 17, event times and venues vary, Aspen, foodandwine.com.
Kids Swim! Denver Parks and Recreation operates 16 outdoor swimming pools in the summer. We like Congress Pool, Harvard Gulch Pool, and Ruby Hill Pool. // denvergov.org/recreation
Father’s Day. Reserve a tee time at Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden and make your dad’s day. // Fossil Trace Golf Club, fossiltrace.com, $75 to $79 with a cart.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The best bluegrass this side of the Mississippi. // June 21 to 24, event times vary, downtown Telluride, bluegrass.com.
Greeley Stampede. You’ll see mutton bustin’, live music, carnival rides, rodeos, parades, petting zoos, shooting demos, and more. // June 22 to July 4, event times vary, Island Grove Park, Greeley, greeleystampede.org, ticket prices vary.
Venice on the Creek. Take a romantic gondola ride on Cherry Creek. Bring a picnic to share while on the ride. // 8 p.m., veniceonthecreek.com, $100.
July Fourth in Steamboat Springs. One of the state’s best small-town Independence Day celebrations takes place in Steamboat. Don’t miss ski-jumping at historic Howelsen Hill. // July 4, event times and venues vary, Steamboat Springs, steamboat-chamber.com, many events are free.
USA Ultimate U.S. Open. The inaugural U.S. Open for the sport of Ultimate will be held at the Air Force Academy. More than 20 teams will compete, showcasing 600 of the best Ultimate players in the world. // July 4 to 8, times vary, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, usaultimate.org
Cherry Creek Arts Festival. // July 6 to 8, times vary, Cherry Creek North, cherryarts.org, free.
Old South Pearl Street Farmers Market. Live music, handmade crafts, and nearly any fruit or veggie you can think of—all in Platt Park. // Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1500 block of Old South Pearl Street, oldsouthpearlstreet.com.
Camp on Guanella Pass. There’s plenty of free camping along the southern side of this mountain road, or you can check out Guanella Pass Campground. // fs.usda.gov/main/arp/home
The Colorado Irish Festival. Enjoy Gaelic sports, Irish dancing, Celtic music, and lots of food and drink. // July 13 to 15; Friday, 5 to 10 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday times vary), Clement Park, Littleton, coloradoirishfestival.org, $5.
Tube the Poudre. Buy a tube at Jax Mercantile in Fort Collins, fill a cooler, and make your way up Poudre Canyon. Put your tubes in (the rather chilly water) a few miles up-river from Picnic Rock.
Cherry Creek North Sidewalk Sale. Four days of seriously discounted shopping at tony boutiques. // July 19 to 22; Thursday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Cherry Creek North, cherrycreeknorth.com.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with nearly 100,000 other Denverites interested in Asian culture, food, and crafts. // July 21 to 22, event times vary, Sloan’s Lake Park, cdbf.org.
Pick Your Own Fruit. Berry Patch Farms’ black raspberries come into season in July. // Tuesday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (summer hours), Berry Patch Farms, Brighton, berrypatchfarms.com.
RockyGrass Festival. This earthy bluegrass fest scores high marks for the talent it attracts and the mellow vibe it offers. // July 27 to 29, times vary, Planet Bluegrass Ranch, Lyons, bluegrass.com.
Burro Days. We promise you’ve never seen anything like this festival before: Burro and llama races are just a couple of the highlights of this bizarre party in Fairplay. // July 28 to 29, times vary, many events are on the courthouse lawn at Main and Fifth streets, Fairplay, burrodays.com
Water World. Cool off at Denver’s largest water park—and enjoy the park’s two new attractions for 2012. // 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Water World, waterworldcolorado.com, ticket prices vary.
Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. If you’re looking for Colorado’s famous wildflowers, this is where you’ll find them. // Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, near Silverton, alpineloop.com.
First Friday on Tennyson Street. More than a dozen art galleries stay open until 10 p.m. // 6 to 10 p.m., Tennyson Street, denverartwalk.squarespace.com.
Rent a Boat on Grand Lake. Secure a 22-foot pontoon for the day and soak up the sun—and the stunning mountain views. // Grand Lake Marina, glmarina.com, $376 for four hours.
IronMan 70.3 Boulder. // Race begins at 6:30 a.m., Boulder Reservoir, Boulder, ironmanboulder.com, $250.
Denver County Fair. Check out the fair for arts and crafts, a freak show, a bike rodeo, urban homesteading ideas, and much more. // August 10 to 12, times vary, National Western Complex, denvercountyfair.org
The Book of Mormon. This Tony Award–winning musical, from Colorado boys Trey Parker and Matt Stone (yes, from South Park), runs through September 2. // August 14 to September 2, show times vary, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, denvercenter.org.
Palisade Peach Festival. Four days of sweetness in Colorado’s citadel of peaches. // August 16 to 19, times and venues vary, Palisade, palisadepeachfest.com.
Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival. Two nights of fireworks, live entertainers, a spaghetti dinner, a chili cook-off, and a beer garden. // August 17 to 18, times vary, Anderson Park, Wheat Ridge, thecarnationfestival.com.
Leadville Trail 100 Run. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado terrain in 30 hours. The weak need not apply. // August 18 to 19; Saturday, 4 a.m. to Sunday at 10 a.m., leadvilleraceseries.com, $275.
USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Watch Colorado’s version of the Tour de France. // August 20 to 26, usaprocyclingchallenge.com
Parade of Homes Denver. Tour new, for-sale homes from under $300,000 to $1 million-plus. // August 9 to September 3, Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., paradeofhomesdenver.com, free.
Colorado State Fair. Eleven days of carnival rides, livestock shows, festival food, fine arts, and more. // August 24 to September 3; weekdays 2 p.m. to midnight; weekends noon to midnight, Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo, coloradostatefair.com, ticket prices vary.
Boulder Kinetics. With a tagline like “Crazy people running around the reservoir,” you know this human-powered-vehicle race is a good time. // 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Union Reservoir, Longmont, boulderkinetics.com, $10 to $20 per vehicle.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass. Three days of live music and cold beer set against a Rocky Mountain backdrop. // August 31 to September 2, event times vary, Snowmass Village, jazzaspensnowmass.org
The Rocky Mountain Showdown. The annual football rivalry between CU and CSU kicks off once again. // Game time TBD, Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Colorado Balloon Classic. A feast for the eyes, this hot air balloon festival is worth the drive from Denver. // September 1 to 3, event times vary, Memorial Park, Colorado Springs, balloonclassic.com, free.
Taste of Colorado. Enjoy food from 50 of Colorado’s premier restaurants, live entertainment, artisans, and carnival rides. // August 31 to September 3, times vary, Civic Center Park, atasteofcolorado.com.
Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival. A celebration of all things Scottish, including dancing, malt beverages, and bagpipes. // September 6 to 9, times vary, downtown Estes Park, estesparkcvb.com.
First Friday Art Walk. Peruse more than 60 galleries during a visit to the Art District on Santa Fe. // 6 to 9 p.m., Art District on Santa Fe, artdistrictonsantafe.com.
Boulder Farmers’ Market. This extensive market pops up each Saturday from spring through late fall next to Central Park. // 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 13th Street between Arapahoe Avenue and Canyon Boulevard, Boulder, boulderfarmers.org.
Tour Colorado Wine Country. Download a map of Colorado’s wine country at visitgrandjunction.com, fill up your gas tank, and grab a designated driver—you’ll want to taste grape juice at every tasting room you visit. During September, you might see crush-related activities. // Most wineries are open seven days a week, visitgrandjunction.com.
Colorado Mountain WineFest. Four days of grape-related fun in Palisade, one of Colorado’s most successful wine-producing regions. // September 13 to 16, times vary, Riverbend Park, Palisade, coloradowinefest.com.
Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. The name is self-explanatory, but this 19-year-old festival is something you should experience firsthand. // September 14 to 16, event times vary, Telluride Town Park, Telluride, tellurideblues.com.
Estes Park Film Festival. Showcasing 35 of the latest independent films from around the world. // September 14 to 16, show times vary, Historic Park Theatre, estesparkcvb.com, ticket prices vary.
Denver Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. This spectator-friendly race weaves through central Denver and hums along to a variety of musical acts set up along the route. // Race starts at 6:55 a.m., http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/denver, $85 to $125.
Oktoberfest Denver. Beer, brats, pretzels—what else could you ask for? // Two weekends in September, dates and times vary, 20th and Larimer streets, downtown Denver, oktoberfestdenver.com, free.
Chile & Frijoles Festival. A three-day homage to the mirasol pepper, Pueblo’s most popular variety of pepper. // September 28 to 30, times vary, Union Avenue, Pueblo, pueblochilefestivalinfo.com.
Find a Halloween Costume. There are a handful of local shops where you can get your ghoul on. Try: Flossy McGrew’s, the Wizard’s Chest, or online at seamslikeoldetimes.com. //
Komen Denver Race for the Cure. The local race celebrates its 20th year supporting breast cancer survivors and research. // 7 a.m., downtown Denver, komendenver.org.
Ski on Opening Day. It’s always a race to be the first mountain to open in Colorado. In 2011, Wolf Creek opened on Oct. 8. //
Great American Beer Festival. Pilsners, ales, stouts: Pick your favorite flavor or try something new at this annual celebration. // October 11 to 13, times vary, Colorado Convention Center, greatamericanbeerfestival.com, $60 per session.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield’s Corn Maze. // Friday 4 to 9 p.m., maze is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from mid-September through October, Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, botanicgardens.org; adults: $10; youth: $6.
EatDenver Harvest Week. A week-long celebration of Colorado’s produce—and the growers who bring it to our plates. // October 14 to 19, times and venues vary, http://eatdenver.com.
Live Music at the Little Bear. If you’ve never spent an evening at this Evergreen saloon, you’re missing out on a Colorado tradition. The Little Bear has live music on most Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. // The Little Bear, Evergreen, littlebearsaloon.com.
Haunted Denver Tour. Denver History Tours offers two different “haunted” tours. Both will make you believe in ghosts. // Tours are scheduled based on interest. Call to make reservations, denverhistorytours.com; adults: $20; kids: $10.
Frightmare. For decades, this haunted “compound” has scared the bejesus out of Denverites. // Open every night in October, beginning at 7 p.m., frightmare.biz, $20.
Warren Miller 2012. Every year, Warren Miller Entertainment brings jaw-dropping footage of epic skiing and snowboarding to Colorado’s theaters. Look for screenings in your area this month. // Show times and venues vary, skinet.com/warrenmiller.
Becoming Van Gogh. This 70-work compilation by Van Gogh has been culled from public and private collections all over the world. // The museum stays open until 8 p.m. on Friday nights, Denver Art Museum, denverartmuseum.org.
Plant Your Bulbs for Spring. You’ll want to plant your tulips between September and when the ground freezes in late November. The Denver Botanic Gardens often has a fall bulb sale; check botanicgardens.org for specific dates and times. //
Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo. This snow-sports shindig is the king of the Colorado retail ski scene; it’s also the single largest ski and snowboard sale in the state. // November 2 to 4, times vary, Colorado Convention Center, bewisports.com.
Election Day. Get out and vote. Seriously.
Home for the Holidays Dine Out. Restaurants around the Denver area give a portion of the day’s proceeds to support the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. So eat, drink, and give a gift to someone a little less fortunate. // Visit restaurants all day, coloradocoalition.org.
Starz Denver Film Festival. Each November for the past three decades, this film festival has brought some of the most interesting films to the Mile High City. The festival usually lasts two weeks. // Event dates and times vary, Denver FilmCenter/Colfax, denverfilm.org, ticket prices vary.
Denver International Wine Festival. One of the premier wine and food festivals in the Rocky Mountains. // November 7 to 10, event times vary, location TBD, denverwinefest.com, $84 to $150.
Denver Botanic Gardens Holiday Sale. Find Colorado gifts for friends and family. We love the herbal vinegar made with DBG herbs and the locally made tree ornaments. // November 11 to 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, botanicgardens.org.
Make Your Holiday Gifts. Denver’s Fancy Tiger boutique offers holiday gift classes in late November and early December. // Class times vary, Fancy Tiger, http://fancytiger.com, most classes run $25.
First Bite Boulder. For one full week, more than 40 of Boulder’s top restaurants offer a special three-course $26 prix fixe dinner menu. // November 16 to 24, multiple restaurants, firstbiteboulder.com
Downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination. From the City and County Building to Union Station, downtown becomes aglow in twinkle lights. // 6 p.m., Union Station, City and County Building, downtowndenver.com, free.
Clyfford Still’s Birthday. Visit the year- old Clyfford Still Museum in honor of the American artist. // 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Clyfford Still Museum, clyffordstillmuseum.org; adults: $10; seniors/ students: $6; youth: $3.
Parade of Lights. Denver’s perennially popular holiday parade. // November 30 at 8 p.m.; December 1 at 6 p.m., downtown Denver, http://denverparadeoflights.com, free.
Ice Skate at Skyline Park. This open-air rink downtown is usually open from Thanksgiving through mid-February. // 16th and Arapahoe streets, downtowndenver.com, $2 to rent skates.
Cut Your Own Tree. The USDA-Forest Service opens cutting areas in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, Pike National Forest, and near Red Feather Lakes in early December. // Check the website for 2012 dates; 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., fs.usda.gov/goto/r2/recreation; a $10 permit per tree is required.
A Christmas Carol. The holiday favorite comes to life at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. // November 23 to December 24, show times vary, Denver Performing Arts Complex, denvercenter.org, ticket prices vary.
Hammond’s Candies Candy Cane Festival. Enjoy a free tour of the candy factory and indulge in fresh-made candy samples. // 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hammond’s Candies Factory Store, hammondscandies.com.
Trail of Lights. Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield offers a twinkling forest path decorated with more than 1 million colorful lights. // Early December through early January, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, botanicgardens.org; adults: $9.50; seniors: $7.50; kids: $6.50.
Miniatures Show. For 22 years, Abend Gallery has hosted an exhibit that features for-sale art that’s small in stature—and therefore price. // 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Abend Gallery Fine Art, abendgallery.com.
Zoo Lights. See more than 38 acres of lights—plus more than 150 animated animal sculptures. // December 9 to January 1, 5 to 9 p.m., Denver Zoo, denverzoo.org; adults: $9; seniors: $7; kids: $5.
Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. You’ll cross-country ski to a large yurt, where you’ll take off your gear to dine on elk tenderloin or rack of lamb before settling into a delicious dessert. // Daily; guests meet at the Nordic center at 5:30 p.m., near Leadville, tennesseepass.com, $75 per person.
Blossoms of Light. Wander through the Denver Botanic Gardens, which is bedazzled with thousands of lights for the holidays. // 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, botanicgardens.org; adults: $9.50; youth: $6.50.