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Call us biased, but we don’t think that California or even Georgia peaches rival the stone fruit grown right here in Colorado. And according to the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau, we’re right: The Centennial State’s hot days and cool nights bring out the natural sugar in our peaches, making for juicier, sweeter local fruit. Head to one of these peach festivals this weekend and taste the triumph.
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Palisade Peach Festival
Odometer: 232 miles from Denver
When: August 16 to 19, schedule varies
Most of the state’s peaches are grown in Palisade, so it’s no surprise that this is where Colorado’s largest peach festival is held. It’s also the perfect year to attend: This is the festival’s 50th year running, and the region’s 125th year in peach production. There will be peach-eating contests, orchard farm tours, a parade through town, and a competition for the biggest peach. Once you’ve had your fill of fruit, consider signing up for the Just Peachy 1K, 5K, and 10K runs or hitting the classic car show.
A weekend pass, including a concert on Friday night featuring Soul Sacrifice, is $20. Admission to the festival on Saturday only is $7, with discounts for seniors and children.
Lafayette Peach Festival
Odometer: 22 miles from Denver
When: August 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Can’t make the trek to the Western Slope? Don’t fret—the Boulder County town of Lafayette trucks in more than 30,000 pounds of Palisade’s finest fruit for its annual festival, which is free to attend. The Huckleberry will have peach pies and cobblers for sale; the Lafayette Chamber will be whipping up fresh peach smoothies. Little ones will be entertained by free face painting and balloon sculpting, and adults can do good after satisfying their peach cravings by participating in the on-site Bonfils blood drive.
Fort Collins Peach Festival
Odometer: 64 miles from Denver
When: August 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This downtown FoCo festival kicks off on Saturday morning with an 8 a.m. 5K walk/run and 8:30 a.m. peach pancake breakfast prepared by Rotary Club volunteers. As the festival continues, there will be yoga in the park, a pie-eating contest, and a plethora of peach-centric treats for purchase. The kids can play at two separate KidZones, including a Ninja Nation Obstacle Course, a nine-hole mini-golf course, water bubbles, and more. Peach margaritas and custom peach brews from Coopersmith’s, Odell, Black Bottle, Horse & Dragon, Soul Squared, Rally King, Maxline, and Gilded Goat Brewing Company will be available, and live music from Blind Alley Troubadours, GOATZ!, and Gasoline Lollipops will keep the peachy party rocking.
Adult admission is $5; free entry for peach fans under 15 years old.