As the summer cools off, there are few activities more enjoyable than perusing a farmers market. Freshly-picked apples and even digging up your own potatoes are all yours for the taking here in Colorado. Mark your calendars for all of these produce-filled festivals sprouting late this summer and early fall.
Telluride Mushroom Festival
When: August 14-18, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: There are more uses for mushrooms than just cooking, and this festival will educate you about all of them. These versatile superfoods can be used in your garden, your kitchen and even your medicine cabinet. This year’s theme is “Healing the Mind, Healing the Planet,” and there is a full lineup of talks you can listen to regarding topics like health and wellness, sustainability and taxonomy. You can learn how to identify different types of mushrooms as well, so be prepared to surprise your friends on your next hike. And yes — you’ll learn about magic mushrooms, too.
Palisade Peach Festival
When: August 15-18, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: This festival will make your weekend just peachy. The schedule is packed with everything from a four-course meal in a beautiful field, to a peach eating contest and even a crowning of a peach in the Biggest Peach Contest. All of the peach-inspired cuisines will keep you energized to dance the day away to all the live music at the fest. There’s even a lake where you can paddleboard or kayak — and then you’ll be hungry enough to eat plenty of desserts.
Where: Rocky Ford
When: Saturday, August 17, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: Watermelon Day is part of the Arkansas Valley Fair, which they claim is Colorado’s “oldest continuous Fair” and had been a tradition since 1878. This means it’s time to brush up on some old-fashioned skills so you can compete in the watermelon seed-spitting and watermelon carving contests. There’s also the infamous watermelon pile, which proves extremely hard to miss. The festival is a welcomed blast to the past with its needlework display, horseshoe pitching and bingo all day long. Not intense enough for you? Well, the day ends with a demolition derby, so adrenaline-junkies are sure to get their fill of fun, too.
San Luis Valley Potato Festival
Where: Monte Vista
When: Saturday, September 7, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: We already know (and love) the multitude of ways potatoes can be prepared, and San Luis Valley’s festival is a delicious way to showcase them. Vendors always bring their A-game, especially with the likes of Carrie Baird, a past Top Chef contestant in the mix at last year’s festival. There are chef demonstrations throughout the day, so you may even learn how to make your new favorite dish at home. The day is perfect for families with catchy names for events like the Tater Trot 5K and Famous Mashed Potato Dunk. The festival will also host Octane Addictions again this year, which is a high-speed freestyle show featuring dirt bikes, snowmobiles and four-wheelers.
Chile & Frijoles Festival
When: September 20-22, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: This year, Pueblo will celebrate its 25th annual Chile & Frijoles Festival. People from all over the nation gather along Union Avenue for this cultural celebration. Green chilies are a staple in Pueblo and are one of the biggest crops grown there. The heat this summer could’ve been a problem for this festival, but farmers have announced it actually had positive effects on the veggies, such as faster growing times. There’ll be live music to enjoy as you taste all of the spicy creations from vendors. Last year there was a jalapeño-eating contest, so check in closer to the event to see what’s new for 2019.
When: October 3- 6, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: This festival has been well-loved since 1977 and brings in over 20,000 attendees each year. The four-day festival has something for everyone, from a 5K to a Classic Car show, to a Pin-Up Girl Contest, multiple concerts, and of course plenty of meals, like the chili cook-off and pancake breakfast. A fun-packed weekend, and that doesn’t even get us started on the star of the show — apples. Local orchards are vendors at the event, giving you the chance to buy as many delicious apples as you can carry.
Hard Cider Festival
When: Saturday, October 26, Get all the details here.
The Lowdown: Produce doesn’t always need to be eaten — you can drink it, too. Cider-lovers will want to be at Big B’s Delicious Orchard for the festival. No need to worry about driving after a day of drinking cider, either. Camping packages are available (this package pairs well with the all-you-can-drink option). Vendors from cideries all over Colorado showcase their newest and best beverages at the event, so you’re sure to find a new fruity favorite. The fun isn’t just for the adults — there’s also face painting, apple pressing and live music to entertain the whole family.