When snow starts falling, Colorado really comes to life. Everywhere you look, the scenery and the people are positively glowing with excitement; it’s the expectation that this winter is going to be as thrilling as the last. There’s truly nothing like winter in Colorado.
Some of the best parts about the chilly season are the winter festivals. These events are just one of the many ways that we celebrate the pleasures of living where we do. All of this white is meant to be enjoyed, and because it would be a crime to stay inside when the scenery is as beautiful as ours, here are a few winter festivals in Colorado that you don’t want to miss.
Estes Park Winter Festival
When: January 16-17, 2016
Where: 1209 Manford Avenue, Estes Park, CO
Ticket Cost: TBD
First up on our list is the Estes Park Winter Festival, which is being held on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. This is a great choice for our outdoor enthusiasts. You can shop for everything from cozy winter apparel to outdoor adventure gear, and the folks from the Rocky Mountain National Park will be there offering equipment demos and lots of fun Rocky Mountain trivia.
Live musical performances include Trout Steak Revival, Porcelain City, Blue Grama, and Ran Off the Rooster, and you can enjoy all of those lively tunes while you sample the delicious creations of those who have come to compete in the 2016 Chili Cook-Off. (Note: The red chili cook-off is being held on Saturday, and a white chili cook-off is scheduled for Sunday.)
There will be plenty of fun for the kiddos, too. Activities include a giant indoor tubing hill, face painting, a pool filled with artificial snow, and inflatable bounce houses. There will also be a variety of winter-themed games and crafts, and they can finish off their day with complimentary s’mores.
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
When: January 28, 2016
Where: The Sie FilmCenter at 2510 East Colfax, Denver, CO
Ticket Cost: $12 Regular Admission ($10 if you happen to be a member of the Denver Film Society)
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a fundraiser for Rocky Mountain Wild. Its purpose is to inspire activism and promote the general well-being of the indigenous plant and animal species found in our area. The film festival will showcase a total of 10 short films of varying years and national origin (all in English). Don’t get the idea that this event is going to be stuffy or boring, though. From start to finish, it has a total running time of only 120 minutes. This is one of those opportunities to enjoy yourself while simultaneously supporting a great cause. Don’t miss it!
UllrGrass in Golden
When: January 29-31, 2016
Where: throughout Downtown Golden
Ticket Cost: $80 weekend music pass, with optional $25 beer ticket
Live music and craft beer in the foothills? Yes, please. This is the second annual UllrGrass Music and Beer Festival, and it will be held at multiple indoor and outdoor stages throughout Downtown Golden. It begins with a parade and includes a kids’ activity area, music workshops, food vendors, local artisans, and more.
This is another event with a philanthropic purpose. It is entirely volunteer-driven and not-for-profit, supporting two very worthy causes: Plan International and the Coral Creek Music Project. It’s also the perfect chance for new Boulder transplants to hop over to Golden and get to know what this awesome gem of a town is all about.
Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
When: February 3-7, 2016
Where: Various locations in Steamboat Springs (check event schedule for details on varying times & locations)
Ticket Cost: $10 carnival button required for entry and spectating; additional tickets for individual events may also be required
The Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival is one of those can’t-miss Colorado events. It is now in its 103rd year, making it the oldest running winter carnival in the western United States.
This event has everything you can imagine. You will see kids being pulled on skis behind horses down Main Street, a rodeo clown entertaining audiences on the street, and even an adult shovel race. This might be the most fun you’ll have all winter, so be sure to visit the event website to learn more.
Winter Craft Beer Festival
When: February 16, 2016
Ticket Cost: $40 General Admission; $55 VIP Admission (early entry)
The Winter Craft Beer Festival was created with the sole purpose of celebrating and supporting our local brewers. It’s such a fun way to give back to the businesses that make this community so special, and you’ll also have the chance to try the latest and greatest brews coming out of our home town taps. We’re a little bit ahead of the game right now, so the vendor list isn’t quite complete, but they’re expecting around 45 local brewers to show up. There will also be live music and a variety of games. You didn’t think we would throw a party in Boulder without live music, did you?
This is just a taste of what winter in Colorado has to offer; we’re fortunate to have so many lively wintertime events so close to home. If you don’t like what you see here, there are plenty of other options to choose from, and they’re happening all season long. Check out this list of winter events in Colorado, bundle up, and go enjoy!