11 Summer Food and Drink Festivals Worth Planning a Trip Around


From June’s Vail Craft Beer Classic to August’s Palisade Peach Fest, many of Colorado’s most beloved culinary events are returning this year.

After a year of cancellations, pivots, and virtual events in 2020, Colorado’s summer food and beverage festival scene is hoping to have a somewhat normal 2021. While many of the Centennial State’s most popular dining and drinking events are back, they may look a little different than you remember, with social distancing, smaller capacities, outdoor venues, and other COVID-19 precautionary measures. Even so, festival organizers and local communities are ready to welcome patrons back with open arms (and, frankly, they could probably use your support right now, too). So, get out your calendar and start planning some getaways around these road-trip worthy affairs.

The Little Nell Culinary Fest | June 17–20

This event usually kicks off the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. And though the Classic has been rescheduled for September this year (more on that below), the team at the Little Nell decided to continue with the mid-June culinary tradition anyway. Chefs from other Relais & Châteaux properties are collaborating with the Little Nell’s culinary wizards and sommeliers for the festival, which will include both casual and elegant events, ranging from a street food-inspired shellfish tasting to several multi-course meals with expert wine pairings. A Father’s Day brunch caps off the schedule on Sunday. 

Telluride Wine Festival | June 24–27

Help the team at Telluride Wine Festival celebrate its 40th anniversary this year by attending a weekend full of tastings, plenty of great food, seminars, and cooking demos. Ahead of the event, you can also attend intimate virtual tastings every week, featuring wines from around the globe delivered directly to your doorstep. 

Vail Craft Beer Classic | June 25–26

Head to Vail for a weekend of unhurried, all-inclusive craft beer sampling at the Vail Craft Beer Classic. Since ticket sales are limited, attendees can spend more time talking with brewers and less time waiting in line. And if craft beer isn’t your thing, there will also be craft hard seltzer, hard kombucha, canned cocktails, and nonalcoholic beers to try, too. Ticket sales benefit the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance.

Vail Wine Classic | August 12–15

With limited capacities and outdoor tasting sessions throughout the weekend, this year’s Vail Wine Classic allows for plenty of social distancing and personal time with sommeliers and winemakers. The festival lineup includes four grand tasting sessions, wine dinners, paired lunches, and classroom seminars. A portion of ticket sales benefit the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance.

Palisade Peach Festival | August 19–21

Is there anything better than biting into a fresh, juicy Palisade peach? Celebrate this year’s peach harvest (and show some of our hardworking Colorado farmers some love) by attending the namesake festival. The schedule includes live music, food vendors, kids activities, a peach-eating contest, farmers’ market, cooking demos, an ice cream social, orchard tours, and tons of other happenings honoring the iconic stone fruit.

Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival | August 28–29

This two-day Manitou Springs event packs a punch, with live music and other entertainment, food trucks, local vendors, and tastings of Colorado wines, meads, and glögg. Look for selections from Black Forest MeaderyCottonwood CellarsEvergood Elixirs, and lots more. 

Food & Wine Classic | September 10–12

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen—a legendary affair featuring cooking demos, tastings, and discussions with chefs, sommeliers, and other epicurean pros—is so popular that it’s already sold out. You can, however, join a waitlist to go and or sign up to enjoy the festival’s virtual programming.

Breckenridge Wine Classic | September 16–18

Enjoy bites and sips from more than 100 wineries, breweries, distilleries, local restaurants, and other food purveyors at the Vail Wine Classic’s sister fest in Breckenridge. Choose from four mountainside grand tasting sessions, plus wine dinners and classroom sessions. A portion of ticket sales will go to the National Repertory Orchestra.

Steamboat Food & Wine Festival | September 23–26

The Yampa Valley event celebrates collaborations between local and visiting chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers from across the country. Visitors can expect a long weekend full of movie screenings, wine dinners, workshops, seminars, tours, and grand tastings—all set against Steamboat’s gorgeous mountain backdrop.

Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival | September 24–26

Farmers are just starting to plant this year’s Pueblo chile crop, but come September, they’ll be ready for roasting—and, more importantly, eating. While details for this year’s Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival are still being worked out, you can plan on all sorts of delicious chile-inspired events, including plenty of opportunities to connect with some of Colorado’s dedicated growers, as well as to bring home a bushel for yourself. 

Colorado Mountain Winefest | September 18–19

Pack your bags and head to Palisade to partake in the 30th anniversary of the Colorado Mountain Winefest, a beloved annual tradition honoring all things Colorado wine. Visitors can expect unlimited tastings from local wineries and cideries, chef demonstrations, seminars, live music, and even a grape stomp. A convenient shuttle from Grand Junction to Palisade is also available.


Source: SARAH KUTA – 5280.com