It’s widely known that summertime in Denver is filled with festivals and fairs almost every weekend of the year. However, you may not know that the surrounding cities and towns from all over the state of Colorado get in on the action as well, with great small-town fairs popping up all summer long. Get out of Denver, plan a long weekend and check out some true small-town beauty at any of these great fairs offered in small towns throughout Colorado. Make it a mini-vacation and plan to camp or get a room for a night or two, and then you’ll have a truly fun way to get out of town with the whole family for an affordable weekend away.
Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
Crested Butte, CO 81224
Date: July 7-13, 2014
The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival is the best place in the country to view some of the most stunning natural wildflower displays. This is the exact opposite of the traditional small town fair, since you’ll get great outdoor activities, amazing foods and other great Colorado-style events, instead of the usual rides, fatty foods and other carnival fare. Take a guided van or truck tour of the different wildflower fields, or go for a guided hike among the flowers themselves. Take some art classes and learn about painting or nature drawing out in the beauty of the wildflowers, or check out the beautiful birds and butterflies drawn to the area each year. All of the local restaurants and shops participate in this annual festival, which bring tourists from all over the country to enjoy this once-a-year event.
Related: Top 2014 Summer Festivals In Denver
Festival In the Clouds
Alma, CO 80420
Date: July 19-20, 2014
For 17 years, Alma has welcomed people from all over the area to celebrate this beautiful town. Alma is the highest incorporated town in North America, at an elevation of 10,578 feet, making the name of this annual festival – The Festival in the Clouds – truly perfect. Join the folks of Alma for a full weekend with 25 folk, jazz, blues and rock bands and 40 regional artists to enjoy. There will also be plenty of amazing food, lots of activities for the kids, a beer garden for the adults and lots of dancing. This great festival is free to attend, so take the trip up to Alma to see this beautiful little town at its best.
Leadville Boom Days
Leadville, CO 80461
Date: Aug. 1-3, 2014
The entire town of Leadville comes together every year for this annual celebration of the Old West and the rich traditions of the 1880s mining camp that settled in the area. This is the biggest weekend of the year for the citizens of Leadville, and everyone from the city comes out to celebrate. The annual festival kicks off with the parade and includes a huge street fair with more than 100 different craft and food booths to check out. You can also enjoy the entertainment of local gunslingers, burro races, mining skill competitions, a motorcycle rodeo and more. People from all over the country flock to Leadville for this one, so make sure to get your hotel reservations early, that way you can spend the whole weekend in the town and catch all of the festivities.
Park County Fair
Park County Fairgrounds
880 Bogue St.
Fairplay, CO 80440
Date: July 16-20, 2014
Learn more about the beautiful town of Fairplay at the annual Park County Fair. This truly Colorado celebration brings together thousands of western-loving folks for all of the different rodeo-style activities. Check out the World’s Highest Draft Horse Pull, the Livestock Auction, a Bulls and Broncs Rodeo and then wrap it up with the concert and Barn Dance. The kids will have a great time too, with Mutton Busting, Catch-a-Calf, Catch-A-Lamb and a Stick Horse Rodeo, all perfect for children ages two to 12 years old. This lovely festival is the perfect example of a wonderful small-town county fair, bringing out the best from all of the local citizens. Make sure to check out this fun annual event.
Colorado State Fair
1001 Beulah Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81004
Date: Aug. 22 – Sept. 1, 2014
The biggest fair in the state kicks off every August in Pueblo, Colorado. The Colorado State Fair promises to be even bigger and better for 2014, with so many great things to see and do, that you’ll probably need more than a couple of days to check it all out. Enjoy the rodeo with professional bull riders and other great western sports, or check out the national music acts, comedians and other entertainers. Of course, you’ll also want to spend some time at the carnival for all of the fun games and rides, and plenty of delicious carnival food to indulge in. For those looking to save a few bucks, make sure to check out the website to find out all of the different deals and discounts that are available. Then head down to Pueblo for the biggest and best state fair in the country.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.