It’s safe to say that the beginning of summer marks more than just tan lines. If you are a foodie it means a season full of outdoor barbecues and picnics. However, outdoor eating does not have to stop at a simple picnic. If you are looking to elevate your knowledge of the Denver foodie events then you might want to check out some of the many summer food festivals throughout Denver. As a fellow foodie I think it is necessary to pass on the basics so that your season can be as delicious as mine. Get ready for a summer of good eatin’, as these festivals are something to salivate over.
Denver Taco Festival
Where: RiNo District, (North Larimer) Denver
Pro: Tacos, tequila, and green chile – need I say more?.
Cons: The price of admission is pretty steep. If you’re looking to experience the whole event it’s going to cost you more than a reasonable amount. If you’re on a budget this isn’t for you.
For taco and tequila lovers: come see why Denver is a premier city for art, music, and food at the Denver Taco Festival. For two days downtown will be transformed with live music, art, exceptional food, and the best tequila in town, all done in homage to that greatest of epicurean delights, the taco.Top taco producers in Denver such as Lime, The Pig Rig, and Adelita’s to name a few, have joined the festival to put their own spin on this popular dish. On June 28th and 29th the best tacos will be available to sample and share with friends and family. If a celebration of the taco was not reason enough to come, then Chihuahua racing (yes, you read that correctly) and a green chile cook-off will surely motivate you. Still not sure? Then come sample over 40 kinds of tequila at the Tequila Expo (sorry kids, you must be over 21 and purchase a separate admission ticket). With something for all ages, the Denver Taco Festival should be on everyone’s summer to do list. Tickets range from $12-$89 depending on if you choose general admission or VIP and can be purchased at the event website along with the full list of culinary vendors.(http://denvertacofestival.com)
Highlands Square Farmer’s Market
Where: Highlands Square, (Highlands) Denver.
Pros: Local businesses and artisans are given the chance to shine in this intimate farmer’s market.
Cons: It is small, covering only the parking lot at 32nd and Lowell, so it’s easy to miss some of the gems that are there. Take your time while walking through, there isn’t a need to rush.
Starting Sunday, June 1st there is a new gem of a farmer’s market coming to the highlands. Every Sunday from 9-1 pm for 18 weeks West Highlands is hosting a farmer’s market in the Highlands Square at 32nd and Lowell. Whatever your culinary interests, the local vendors will have no shortage of good eats for you, whether it be a bottle of Sangria or a wedge of cheese from St. Killian’s Cheese Shop. This is a family and dog-friendly market, so bring your kids and favorite pooch along to enjoy the live music and food trucks. Oh, and its free – what better way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning? Be sure to bring cash as not all of the booths take credit cards. Just a heads up from me to you, try El Camino’s Champagne Float made with Sweet Cow Ice Cream’s watermelon sorbet. On a hot day it’s the perfect treat, oh and it’s free!
Where: Larimer Square, Downtown Denver.
Pros: The money earned at this event goes to a great cause, and the food trucks involved are some of Denver’s best.
Cons: Since the event is held downtown, parking will not be easy, so plan to get to the event early and snag a spot close by.
On June 27th Denverites can head to Larimer Square for Final Friday Food Truck Fiesta to experience the greatest event since some genius put a kitchen on wheels. In addition to the eight food trucks, the Denver Fashion Truck, Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew, and other breweries will join the party. Music will be provided by DJ Shawn Green and salsa dancing demonstrations by Mark Reagan Salsa. The best part is, you will be doing good while eating well: vendors are donating ALL of their proceeds to support the Cycle for Student Success Program, a program that awards bicycles to students from Gilpin Montessori Public School and Whittier K-8 PTA for excellent school attendance. Be sure to make it to Final Friday Food Truck Fiesta and support Denver Public Schools, Shots for Tots, and the Peaceful Schools Program. Check it out and blame the added belly bulge on eating for a cause! The food trucks include:Crock Spot, LLC, Street Eats 5280, The Orange Crunch, LLC, N.Z’s Smokin’ Guns, Big Kiwi Eats, Kassia’s Pasta Farm, Sweet ‘Ness Cupcakes, AikoPops
Where: Civic Center Park, Downtown Denver.
Pros: This event is held in a spot built for outdoor picnics and sun bathing; it’s definitely worth checking out this summer.
Cons: None that I could think of, parking could be an issue but nothing that can’t be avoided.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Denver food trucks bring their “A” game down to Civic Center Park to deliver the best quality food around. Civic Center EATS allows Colorado residents the ability to taste as much of the gourmet food truck scene as possible. Every Tuesday and Thursday the trucks change, as do the culinary options. With Civic Center EATS there is always something new and exciting to try. Following suit along with the Final Friday Food Truck Fiesta, part of the proceeds go to revitalizing Civic Center Park. The goal of Civic Center EATS is to provide a sense of community for residents in a fun and inviting atmosphere. Civic Center EATS is celebrating its ninth year this year by providing an incredible backdrop to enjoy a gourmet lunch. Nothing could be better than enjoying the Denver sun while listening to live music every Tuesday and Thursday, and it doesn’t hurt that the food truck line up is insane. If you want to plan ahead and check out when your favorite food truck will be there, go ahead and look up the vendor schedule.
Where: Downtown Denver
Pro: Taste of Colorado is one of the largest food events in Denver with something for everyone: crafts, food, and rides. It’s an added bonus that admission is free.
Cons: Because it’s so large it’s hard to see everything in just one trip.
If you’re looking ahead, Taste of Colorado returns Labor Day Weekend. Taste of Colorado is an annual event in Denver and takes up a large portion of downtown. It’s an incredible perk to foodies that the admission to this event is free– you only need to pay for the food you sample. Along with delicious food ranging from many different cultures, Taste of Colorado features artisans and home goods. If you need something to entertain the little ones while you eat and explore, rides are available. Keeping this a family-friendly event is what makes Taste of Colorado so popular; In my opinion Taste of Colorado is the best way to say goodbye to summer with both friends and family.
A final note to all my fellow foodies out there: I will see you this summer. Get out and EAT!