More than 1,300 cheesemakers and specialty food pros are descending upon Denver July 26 through 29 for the American Cheese Society (ACS)’s 34th Annual Conference & Competition.

This conference — dubbed ‘Cheese with Altitude’ — will take place inside and around the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

“We are excited to bring this important event to Denver,” said Nora Weiser, executive director of ACS. “More producers than ever are venturing into artisan, farmstead and specialty cheesemaking to meet growing consumer demand for unique, local, natural cheeses. This event brings our industry together to network and learn, while showcasing a vast array of award-winning cheeses — there’s really something that every cheese lover can enjoy,” she noted.

Most of the more than 40 educational events are industry-only, but there are a few opportunities for the public to dig into the cheesy action.

July 26 — Cheese Block Party

Photo courtesy of Cheese+Provisions

When: Wednesday, July 26, 1 – 4 p.m.

Where: Cobbler’s Square — 2432 W. 44th Ave., Denver

Cost: Free Admission

The Lowdown: Free. Cheese. Need we say more? Cheese+Provisions and the Oldways Cheese Coalition partnered to host this block party in conjunction with the ACS conference. Enjoy samples from local and national cheesemakers, charcuterie experts and small-batch purveyors — along with live music, wine and beer.

July 29 — Cheeseletes 5k

Photo courtesy of the Cheeseletes

When: Saturday, July 29, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Where: 1300 Larimer St., Denver 

Cost: $45 — tickets here

The Lowdown: The Cheeseletes host annual 5k races and other events across the country to raise money for nonprofits in the cheese industry. In conjunction with the ACS conference, the team is hosting the second annual Cheeseletes 5k in Denver, raising money for Daphne Zepos Teaching Award and the American Cheese Education Foundation. Runners and walkers are welcome.

July 29 — Festival of Cheese

Photo courtesy of ACS

When: Saturday, July 29, 7 – 9:30 p.m.

Where: Colorado Convention Center — 700 14th St., Denver

Cost: $65 — tickets here

The Lowdown: Taste almost 2,000 different cheeses — yes, we said 2,000 — at The Festival of Cheese this weekend. There will also be small specialty products like chocolate, charcuterie, cider, craft beer and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase award-winning cheese from the conference. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit American Cheese Education Foundation.

For more information on the American Cheese Society, click here.