Food and drink festivals are back in a big way in Colorado. After two years of cancellations, rescheduled dates, capped ticket sales, and socially distanced events, Centennial State festivals are finally getting back to normal (we hope). Summer will be here before we know it, so as you start to make travel plans, consider adding these road-trip-worthy food and drink festivals to your calendar.

Manitou Springs Wine Festival | June 4

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 Two Rivers Winery, all while listening to live music and perusing the wares of various vendors.

Lake Dillon Beer Festival | June 11

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

Frisco BBQ Challenge | June 17–18

Smoked meats are what’s on the menu at this beloved summer festival, held each year in downtown Frisco. With the mountains as a backdrop, dozens of world-class barbecue cooks take to the street, competing 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 6k 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 17–18

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 sixth 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 17–19

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 25–26

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 25

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 9

Back for its 26th 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 30

Colorado’s favorite open-fire culinary festival, Heritage Fire, returns to Snowmass July 30, featuring an array of local talent. Head to the mountains for this one day fest to watch chefs prepare meats over an open flame. Talent includes from chefs from Toro, Fire Restaurant at the Art Hotel, Teocalli Cocina, Glo Noodle House, and more.

Olathe Sweet Corn Festival | August 6

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 11–13

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 three 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 12–13

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 20

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 20 to 25 cidermakers and vendors from across the country for your sipping pleasure.

Breckenridge Wine Classic | September 15–17

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, there are classroom seminars and wine dinners.

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

Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival | September 23–25

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 29–October 2

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.