’Tis the season for Colorado food and drink festivals. After two years of pandemic-related cancellations and a major bounce back last summer, these Centennial State events are back in full force. As you start to make your warm weather travel plans, consider adding these road-trip-worthy food and drink festivals to your calendar.

Manitou Springs Wine Festival | June 3

Held each year in Manitou Springs, the quirky enclave just west of Colorado Springs, this one-day event is the perfect way to kick off the start of summer. Taste a variety of wines and meads from nearly 30 Colorado purveyors like Meadery of the Rockies and Ten Bears Winery, all while listening to live music and perusing the wares of various vendors.

Lake Dillon Beer Festival | June 17

Pay a visit to Summit County for this one-day beer festival, where you can sip brews from more than 30 Colorado breweries. Be sure to bring your camera, too, because you’ll want to snap views of Lake Dillon surrounded by the mountains all day long.

Lake Dillon Beer Festival. Photo courtesy of Lake Dillon Beer Festival
Lake Dillon Beer Festival. Photo courtesy of Lake Dillon Beer Festival

Colorado BBQ Challenge | June 15–17

Smoked meats are what’s on the menu at this beloved summer festival, now at Copper Mountain Resort after 27 years in Frisco. With the mountains as a backdrop, dozens of world-class barbecue cooks compete to be crowned the champion of ribs, brisket, chicken, and pork shoulder on Father’s Day weekend. The best part? Festival-goers get to eat all of their scrumptious creations, along with jamming out to live music, watching pig races, and competing in a 5k running race.

A vendor at the Frisco Barbecue Challenge. Photo by Todd Powell
A vendor at the Frisco Barbecue Challenge. Photo by Todd Powell

Vail Craft Beer Classic | June 16–17

Plan a road trip to Vail to spend a relaxing weekend sipping delicious craft brews at this year’s Vail Craft Beer Classic, which is back for its seventh year. Mingle with brewers, kombucha-makers, and seltzer-slingers from around the state, who are bringing hundreds of different beverages to the Vail Valley for festival-goers to try.

Food & Wine Classic | June 16–18

If you can snag a ticket to the iconic Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, you’ll get to hobnob with some of the world’s leading chefs, sommeliers, spirit-makers, and other pros, all while soaking up the summertime beauty of Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. The three-day culinary festival is already sold out, but there’s a waitlist you can join just in case.

Bacon and Bourbon Festival | June 24–25

Gather up your crew of bourbon- and bacon-loving friends and family and head to Keystone for a seriously mouthwatering combination. Held at Keystone’s River Run Village area, this festival includes tons of concerts, a bacon-eating competition, tastings, and a special “Camp Bacon” area for kids, complete with a bacon bingo scavenger hunt.

Reds White and Brews | June 24

This cleverly named festival in Steamboat Springs is all about beer, wine, and enjoying the mild summer weather in the Yampa Valley. Sip your drink of choice while listening to live music, shopping local vendors, and munching on snacks in downtown Steamboat.

Colorado Brewers Rendezvous | July 7-8

Back for its 27th year, the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous is the ultimate summer craft beer festival. Held in Salida’s Riverside Park along the picturesque banks of the Arkansas River, this one-day gathering involves more than 60 breweries from across the Centennial State, plus food and live music.

Heritage Fire | July 29

Colorado’s favorite open-fire culinary festival, Heritage Fire, returns to Snowmass July 29, featuring an array of local talent. Head to the mountains for this one day fest to watch over 20 chefs (last year’s talent included chefs from Toro, Fire Restaurant at the Art Hotel, Teocalli Cocina, and Glo Noodle House) prepare heritage-breed meats over an open flame.

Olathe Sweet Corn Festival | August 4-5

While Colorado’s sunny climate produces many excellent veggies, Olathe corn is notably delicious. This festival celebrates the delectable yellow kernels by slinging out all-you-can-eat corn, crowning corn royalty, putting on a car show, parade, and corn-eating contest, and hosting tons of other family-friendly activities.

Vail Wine Classic | August 10–13

If wine is your drink of choice (or if you’ve always wanted to become better acquainted with it), consider attending this year’s Vail Wine Classic. Over the course of four days, you can meet winemakers, attend seminars, enjoy paired dinners, and sample wines from around the world at this oenophile’s dream.

Palisade Peach Festival | August 18–19

Indulge in as many juicy, fresh-off-the-tree peaches as you want at this year’s Palisade Peach Festival, which celebrates the annual harvest of delightful stone fruit that grows on the Western Slope. Chat with (and thank!) the local farmers and ranchers who lovingly tend to the peach trees all year long, watch cooking demos, take an orchard tour, and feast on peach dishes at this two-day gathering in August.

Cidermass | August 19

Move over beer—and make way for cider. This fermented apple beverage is sweeping the Centennial State and there’s no better place to try a variety of hard ciders than at Cidermass. Held on the Snowmass Mall in the scenic Roaring Fork Valley, this one-day gathering welcomes more than 30 cidermakers and vendors from across the country for your sipping pleasure.

Breckenridge Wine Classic | August 24-26

Before summer fades into fall, head up to Breck for the Breckenridge Wine Classic (the Vail Wine Classic’s sister event). As the leaves begin to turn in the mountains, enjoy bites and sips from more than 100 chefs, purveyors, wineries, breweries, and distilleries. In addition to the highly anticipated grand tasting at the base of the ski slopes, this year’s festival is piloting a new late-night, blind wine tasting, aiming to removing the pomp and circumstance of labels.

Breckenridge Wine Classic. Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Wine Classic
Breckenridge Wine Classic. Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Wine Classic

Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival | September 22–24

Celebrate Colorado’s agricultural prowess and get your fill of smoky green chiles at the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival this fall. If you’re feeling brave, consider entering the jalapeño-eating contest. And, if not, there’s still plenty to do and see at this three-day gathering, from a chihuahua parade to live cooking demonstrations to a colorful farmer’s market.

Steamboat Food & Wine Festival | September 28–October 1

The Steamboat Food & Wine Festival is a beloved Yampa Valley event that brings together award-winning chefs, winemakers, and other epicurean experts from across the nation. Choose from educational seminars, tastings, paired dinners, and more at this fall foodie event in the mountains.

Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta is Colorado-based writer and editor. She writes about travel, lifestyle, food and beverage, fitness, education and anything with a great story behind it.