Labor Day weekend is here! Although it may be the unofficial end to summer, there's still time to head outdoors and experience all that Colorado has to offer during the season. "A Taste of Colorado" is just one of many festivals this weekend which include music, food, arts, crafts, wine, beer and freedom celebrations.
There are early signs of autumn however: college football kicks off in all corners of Colorado and the first Oktoberfest steins of the year will be raised in Keystone.
Check out one of these awesome events happening across the Centennial State this Labor Day weekend:
A Taste of Colorado — Denver
Colorado's annual Labor Day weekend food and music celebration returns to Denver's Civic Center Park. No matter what kind of food you crave, you'll find it at this festival with more than 50 restaurants and food trucks offering taste-sized portions to full-sized meals. Over 25 bands will perform on four stages at the festival from Saturday to Monday. The headliners at this year's A Taste of Colorado include Firefall, George Thorogood, and REO Speedwagon on Saturday, Mitchell Tenpenny, David Nail, and Leann Rimes on Sunday, and Soul Asylum, Everclear, Sugar Ray, and Smash Mouth on Monday. A Taste of Colorado is free to attend, but bring money for food tickets, carnival rides and shopping. Visit ATasteofColorado.com for a full entertainment schedule.
RELATED | Your guide to A Taste of Colorado
Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off — Colorado Springs
A Southern Colorado tradition returns this weekend with the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off which runs Saturday to Monday. The free event will begin each morning with a hot air balloon mass ascension of over 70 balloons accompanied by breakfast and drinks from local vendors. Throughout the day there will be skydiving demonstrations, wakeboarding exhibitions, paddle boarding, live entertainment, chainsaw carving and donut eating competitions. Evening balloon glows are set for Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off takes place at Memorial Park. See the full schedule at ColoradoSpringsLaborDayLiftOff.com.
Windsor Harvest Festival — Windsor
Windsor's largest family-friendly event is back for a 97th year this Labor Day weekend. This year's Windsor Harvest Festival theme is "It's a Great Weekend for a Festival!" The festival runs from Saturday to Monday with live music, a street dance, mud volleyball tournament, all-town BBQ, cruise-in car show, pancake breakfast, horse-drawn carriage rides, outdoor games, beer garden, a screening in the park of Grease, fireworks show Saturday night and much more. The Picture the Sky Balloon Rally will have launches Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. at Eastman Park. The best growers and artists will show off their garden in the annual Garden Show and Veggie Art with entries being judged at Main Park. Sunday and Monday over 150 vendors will be selling their arts, crafts and food alongside kid's amusement rides and games at Main Park. The 2018 Windsor Harvest Festival Parade will step off at 9 a.m. Monday from Walnut Street and Highway 257. Visit WindsorHarvestFestival.com to see the complete schedule.
Colorado State Fair — Pueblo
Colorado's biggest summer event is back for a second weekend. The Colorado State Fair continues through Monday with a carnival, 4-H exhibits, agricultural competitions, tractor pulls, live music performances, rodeos, bake offs and amazing food options. Larry the Cable Guy will perform Thursday, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts are set to perform on Friday, Old Dominion on Saturday and La Original Banda El Limon on Sunday. Two Monster Truck events and a Demolition Derby are also scheduled for this weekend. See the full fair schedule at ColoradoStateFair.com.
Seven Peaks Festival — Buena Vista
The inaugural Seven Peaks Festival begins Friday in Buena Vista. The festival features three days of country music and camping. The inaugural lineup includes Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Clint Black, Sawyer Brown, Kiefer Sutherland, Dan + Shay, Terri Clark, David Lee Murphy, Aydamn, Hot Country Nights, Sam Bush, The Cadillac Three, Lucie Silvas, Walker McGuire, Rapidgrass, Boy Named Banjo, Del McCoury Band, Cody Canada, Travis Denning and more. Festival and camping passes are available at SevenPeaksFestival.com.
Rocky Mountain Showdown — Denver
The Colorado Buffaloes and Colorado State Rams will meet for the 90th time Friday night at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Buffs lead the series 65-22-2. The Rocky Mountain Showdown kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CU fans should get their tickets here and while CSU fans should get theirs here. Next year, CU and CSU will play one final game in Denver before the game heads to Fort Collins 2020. The game will not be played in 2021 and 2022, but will return to Boulder in 2023 and Fort Collins in 2024. Got it?
UNC Bears Football vs. McNeese State — Greeley
The University of Northern Colorado Bears open their 2018 season on Saturday when they host the McNeese State Cowboys of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m., but first UNC will hold the 4th annual Bears, Brews & Bites at Nottingham Field from 11 a.m. until game time. The fan festival will feature local breweries and restaurants. Pre-game festival and game tickets are sold at UNCBears.com.
AFA Falcons Football vs. Stony Brook — Colorado Springs
Troy Calhoun begins his 12th season as head coach for the Air Force this Saturday. The Falcons will host the Stony Brook Seawolves of Stony Brook, New York at high noon at Falcon Stadium. Tickets are available at AFtickets.com.
Colorado School of Mines and Adams State University each open their seasons with a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference showdown at Marv Kay Stadium at Campbell Field. The game begins Saturday at noon in Golden. MinesAthletics.com is the place for tickets.
Colorado Mesa Football vs. South Dakota Mines — Grand Junction
Fans on the Western Slope will get their first action of the college football season Saturday at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. The Colorado Mesa Mavericks kick off against the South Dakota Mines Hardrockers at 1 p.m. Avoid the box office lines and get your tickets at ColoradoMesa.UniversityTickets.com.
CSU Pueblo Football vs. Dixie State — Pueblo
The first game of the season for the Colorado State University-Pueblo ThunderWolves is Saturday night at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. CSU-Pueblo will host the Dixie State Trailblazers of St. George, Utah, at 6 p.m. The game is a "red out" game for the 2014 NCAA Division II football champions. Grab your tickets at GoThunderWolves.com.
The Fort Lewis College Skyhawks and New Mexico Highlands Cowboys open their seasons in Durango. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference programs will clash at 6 p.m. Friday night at Durango High School. The Skyhawks faithful can grab their tickets at the gate.
Brews & Views — Littleton
The 4th Annual Brews & Views is back at Hudson Gardens on Saturday. Hosted by the City of Littleton and Hudson Gardens, this 21+ event features craft beers from Colorado breweries, music, games, local vendors, Colorado food trucks and stunning views of natural and open spaces. There are four levels of beer fest tickets at HudsonGardens.org.
Broncos Fit 7K — Denver
The 6th Annual Denver Broncos Fit 7K and Expo arrives this Sunday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The 7K walk/run starts at the stadium, loops through the Sloan Lake area and finishes on the stadium's 50 yard line. Broncos players, alumni, cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot will be greeting fans and signing autographs. Participants receive a finisher's medal, t-shirt and can access the Broncos Fit Expo which will have free health screenings, medical information and family-friendly activities. The Broncos Fit Expo is free and open to the public. Broncos Fit 7K registration is available online.
JAS Labor Day Experience — Snowmass
The Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience is a popular three-day music festival on the grounds outside the Snowmass Village Recreation Center. This year's lineup includes Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Fantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, The Record Comapny, Rob Drabkin and more. The festival runs Friday to Sunday. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Saturday and Sunday passes were sold out with only Friday tickets available at JazzAspenSnowmass.org.
Boulder Creek Hometown Festival — Boulder
Boulder will close out summer with the Hometown Festival which runs from Saturday to Monday. There will arts and crafts exhibitors in Central Park, live performances, a food court and beer garden. The 7th Annual Classic Car and Motorcycle Show will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday on 13th Street. The Rocky Mountain Beer Festival Tour will hold its second date of the summer on Monday from 1 to 6 p.m. The Great Boulder Duck Race makes a return this year for its 30th anniversary. The race will launch at 2 p.m. Monday and ducks are available for purchase online.
Gold Rush Duck Race — Georgetown
The 2nd Annual Gold Rush Duck Race is a fun, community event where participants "buy" rubber ducks, which are then dumped into Clear Creek. The ducks float to a finish line downstream and the "winners" receive prizes including cash, gift certificates and more. Funds from the duck race support Historic Georgetown, which works to preserve historic buildings, objects, sites and areas. You can purchase one duck or a five-quack online. Winners don't have to be present, but organizers say it makes it more fun!
Vail Duck Race — Vail
The Vail Rotary Club is hosting its rubber duck race at 3 p.m. this Sunday. The club will send about 12,000 ducks down Gore Creek. The race will begin at the Covered Bridge and end at the Vail Rotary International Bridge. The owner of the first duck that enters the chute will win $5,000. This event serves as a fundraiser for the Vail Rotary which supports many Vail-area organizations. Ducks are available for adoption online.
Four Corners Folk Festival — Pagosa Springs
The 23rd Annual Four Corners Folk Festival opens Friday with live performances from The Accidentals, Jon Stickley Trio, Darling West and Tallgrass. The Pagosa Springs event continues Saturday with Nahko & MFTP, Sam Reider, Amy Helm, Jacob Joliff Band, The Western Flyers and Bonnie & the Clydes. The Dawg Trio, Sam Bush, We Banjo 3, Front Country, Darling West and Courtney & Taylor will take the stage Sunday. You can buy your festival tickets at FolkWest.com.
Trinidad Labor Day Rodeo & Festivities — Trinidad
The Trinidad Round-Up Association's 108th Annual Labor Day Rodeo & Festivities is a three-day celebration at the Las Animas County Fairgrounds. The weekend includes two rodeo performances, a Saturday night dance, the Westernaires, a beer garden, expo, concessions and vendors, stick horse races, kids nickel scramble and more. A Labor Day parade steps off at 9 a.m. Monday in downtown Trinidad. Check out TrinidadRoundUp.Homestead.com to see the complete schedule of events.
Four Corners Motorcycle Rally — Durango
Durango, which serves as a gateway to the world famous Million Dollar Highway, is the home of this weekend's three-day Four Corners Motorcycle Rally. The weekend opens Friday with a Veterans Poker Ride benefiting the Durango Elks Lodge. On Saturday there will be vendors, live music and Hot Bike Chopper Show and the La Plata County Fairgrounds hosts the Hooligan Dirt Bash Saturday night. The rally continues Sunday with a burrito breakfast, Law Tigers Motorcycle Parade, live music, vendors, burn out contest and much more. Visit FourCornersMotorcycleRally.com to see a complete event schedule.
Telluride Film Festival — Telluride
The annual Telluride Film Festival is this Labor Day weekend. The prestigious event features many films premiering for the first time in North America. From Saturday to Tuesday, more than 50 programs will be screened in ten venues. The lineup of the 45th Telluride Film Festival will not be revealed until the weekend.
Keystone's Oktoberfest — Keystone
Oktoberfest season is officially here with Saturday's 6th Annual Oktoberfest in Keystone. Attendees will be raising their steins, dancing to oompah bands and savoring delicious German fare. The festival will have a kids area with face painting, a bounce house and dance performances from the Edelweiss Schuhplattlers. The Das Bier Burner 5K kicks the day off at noon. The festival, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m., will have live music, food and seasonal beer and free admission. If you buy a commemorative 2018 stein you'll get three beer tokens. Race registration and stein tickets are available online.
Labor Day Art Festival — Manitou Springs
Manitou Springs' Memorial Park will host the Commonwheel Artists 44th Annual Labor Day Art Festival. The festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Monday. There will be dozens of art vendors, live music, food options, beer garden and kid's activities. Admission is free!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox vs. Oklahoma City — Colorado Springs
This is your last weekend to ever see the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. The Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers will move to San Antonio after the season. The rookie-league Helena Brewers will move to Colorado Springs next year, but the Sky Sox name will be changed. The Sky Sox will start their four-game series on Friday against the Oklahoma City Dodgers. There will be a post-game fireworks show on Friday and Saturday, which is also Sky Fest 2018: Jurassic Park, which is the largest fireworks show of the year. Tickets are available at the Security Service Field or MiLB.com.
Colorado National Speedway — Dacono
Colorado National Speedway will hold its Labor Day weekend celebration on Saturday night. The evening of short track NASCAR-sanctioned racing will include super late models, pure stocks, legends, bandeleros, trains and circle drags followed by a post-race fireworks show. Tickets are available at the box office or ColoradoSpeedway.com.
Phish — Commerce City
Phish will headline three nights at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this weekend. Single-day or three-day tickets are being sold for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday event. AltitudeTickets.com is the place for Phish tickets.
Freedom Festival — Grand Junction
Grand Junction's Mesa Mall will be the site of a patriotic celebration and military appreciation event on Saturday. The Freedom Festival will feature symbols of freedom with interactive assets from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Live local music will start at 7 p.m. with Ricochet performing at 8:30 p.m. followed by a flyover finale. Festival tickets are available online, but daytime activities and a car show will be at low to no cost. The full schedule can be seen at ShopMesaMall.com.
FORTitude Labor Day 10K Classic — Fort Collins
The 2nd Annual FORTitude 10K will take place on Monday. The race celebrates the best of Fort Collins and Colorado State University and finishes at Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. The first waves will launch at 8 a.m. Race registration can be completed online.
Gourmet on Gore — Vail
The Gourmet on Gore is a food lover's paradise. From Friday to Monday, the festival will offer open-air tasting with wine, beer, spirits and culinary creations from Vail's top chefs. Most of the Gourmet on Gore events in Vail Village offer free admission although a Tasting Tour requires tickets. Visit GourmetonGore.com to see the full schedule.
Salida WineFest — Salida
The 7th Annual Salida WineFest celebrates vintages of wines from around the world as well as samples from Colorado winemakers. There will be local food vendors, live music and creations from local food and art vendors. Salida WineFest will take place on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Riverside Park. Each ticket, which are sold online, comes with a commemorative wine glass, wine bottle tote and unlimited wine samples.
Labor Day Weekend Celebration — Creede
Creede's Labor Day Weekend Celebration is packed with events including a balloon festival, mountain run, salsa fiesta, ATV rodeo and more. The Balloon Festival is set for Friday to Sunday with balloon lift offs each morning with coffee and donuts. The Creede Mountain Run will take place Saturday morning. Participants will enjoy the breathtaking San Juan Mountains in runs of 2, 12 or 22 miles. Registration is available at CreedeMountainRun.com. The Salsa Fiesta is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with 15-plus salsa stations throughout the downtown area with local chefs creating their best original salsas. To see the complete Labor Day Weekend schedule, visit Creede.com.
Estes Park Arts and Crafts Show — Estes Park
The Estes Park Arts and Crafts Show brings over 100 artisans to downtown Estes Park every Labor Day weekend. This year's show runs from Saturday to Monday just west of the Town Hall and Library on Elkhorn Ave. The show, when combined with the shops and restaurants of downtown, make Estes Park a great weekend destination on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Water World's Final Weekend — Federal Heights
This is the final weekend in 2018 to visit Colorado's — and one of America's — largest family water parks. Water World's final three days of operation during the 2018 season are Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Water World features more than fifty attractions from kids rides to huge thrill rides. Most food and drinks can be brought into the park making it perfect for picnics, plus parking is free. Avoid the lines and get your tickets online.
Elitch Gardens Fireworks — Denver
Elitch Gardens will celebrate the holiday weekend with a fireworks extravaganza. The fireworks show will start at park closing time (10 p.m.) Sunday night. You can grab park passes at ElitchGardens.com. Elitch's will be open on weekends through Sunday, October 28.
Ouray County Labor Day Rodeo — Ridgway
Ouray County is ready for rodeo! The 2018 Ouray County Labor Day Rodeo begins Sunday with a CPRA Rodeo at 1 p.m. at the Ouray County Fairgrounds. Monday schedule includes a parade at 10 a.m., BBQ in the Park at 11 a.m. and CPRA Rodeo at 1 p.m. Rodeo events are free for children 12 and under and for active military personnel.
The Colorado Rockies will begin a series with the San Francisco Giants on Labor Day at 20th and Blake. First pitch of Monday's game is 1:10 p.m. There are Peanut Allergy Friendly ticket packages available to Monday's game. The three-game series with the Giants will start a ten-game home stand at Coors Field through Thursday, September 13.
Givetoberfest in Stapleton — Aurora
The 1st Annual Givetoberfest at Stapleton is an Oktoberfest charity event benefiting Impact 360, a Denver charity who provides resources and opportunities for low income kids. Givetoberfest, which runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, will have live music from Rick Borger and the Average German Band and locally-brewed Oktoberfest beers from Westbound & Down Brewery. There will be dancing, stein-hoisting contests and costume contests. Get your tickets online before the price goes up on Saturday.
Thunder in the Rockies — Loveland
Colorado's largest motorcycle rally, Thunder in the Rockies Bike Rally, is a four-day event beginning Friday with live music including local and national bands, competitions, over 100 vendors and hundreds of bikers at Loveland's Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson. The 14th Annual Bike Show is set for Saturday and the Forever Family Ride on Sunday. Bret Michaels will perform at Thunder Mountain Amphitheatre on Friday night, Tesla on Saturday and A Thousand Horses on Sunday with tickets sold through TicketWeb.com. To see the full schedule, head to ThunderintheRockies.com.
Rally, Rumble & Rock at the River — Parachute
Rally, Rumble & Rock at the River features headliner Bret Michaels and raises money for veteran and first responder suicide prevention. The music event will take place Saturday 3 p.m. at Cottonwood Park. Before the concert a motorcycle ride will run from Grand Junction to Parachute and there will be a patriotic bike contest and National Guard presentation. TicketFly.com is the place for Rally, Rumble & Rock at the River tickets.
Tour de Fat — Fort Collins
New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat is a traveling beer, music and bicycle festival that raises money for local non-profits while celebrating two-wheel travel, live music and beer. Saturday's Tour de Fat will take place at the Fort Collins brewery with live music from Phosphorescent. This weekend's festival benefits Bike Fort Collins, Overland Mountain Bike Club, Fort Collins Bike Co-op and Ciclismo Youth Foundation. Tour de Fat runs from 2 to 8 p.m. and tickets are available online.
Family Labor Day Bike Fest — Winter Park
Saturday's family-friendly bike fest starts at 10 a.m. with a Green Horn-It race for children 5 years and up. From noon to 2 p.m. the Yellow Designs Stunt Team will put on a BMX Big Air & Flatland freestyle. After the show is the always-entertaining pond-crossing event followed by the first-ever Trestle Bike Jousting Championships for participants over 18.
Wild West Air Fest — Steamboat Springs
The 14th Annual Wild West Air Fest features nationally renowned pilots performing thrilling aerobatics and formation flying. This year's show features the Rocky Mountain Renegades' 9-ship formation team, the RE/MAX Skydiving Team, Barry Hancock and his WII T-6, Tom Larkin and the world's smallest jet, John Williams and his powered glider and much more. There will also be kids activities, pilot autographs and aircraft tours. The 2018 Wild West Air Fest will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Steamboat Airport. Air festival tickets are sold at SteamboatChamber.com.
Labor Day Half Marathon, 10K and 5K — Parker
Celebrate the Labor Day holiday with a nice half marathon, 10K or 5K. There's a distance for everyone at Monday's races at Parker's Salisbury Equestrian Park. Runners of all abilities are welcome. Each participant gets a running shirt, finisher's medal, chip timing and great post-race food. Each race will start during the 7 a.m. hour Monday. Race registration is available at ColoradoRunnerEvents.com.
Play Ball! — Denver
Baseball season is winding down and so is your chance to see the Play Ball! exhibit at History Colorado. The celebration of America's Game has classic baseball artifacts from Babe Ruth to the Blake Street Bombers. With treasured memorabilia and iconic photographs, the exhibit shows the "stories that begin on the ball field and echo through American history." Play Ball! will be open through the 2018 baseball season.
Adams County Festival of the Arts — Brighton
The first annual Adams Country Festival of the Arts arrives Saturday. The festival will feature a Lowrider, Custom Car and Motorcycle Exhibit with lowriders, custom motorcycles, street rods, euros and custom vehicles. A mainstage will feature Rose Royce, Deniece Williams, El Chicano, and the Legends Tribute Show to Prince, Marvin Gaye and Tower of Power. Festival of the Arts will have an art fair, kids zone, youth health fair and more. The festival will take place at Adams County Fair and Regional Park Complex. Tickets can be bought online.
Do you know of a cool, fun Colorado festival, fair, expo, concert or event you think we ought to mention in this week's 9Things or in the future? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have a wonderful weekend!