CBS4’s Justin McHeffey at the 2012 Oktoberfest celebration (credit: CBS)
Fall in Denver may signal the turning of the leaves and the crisp night air, but don’t break out the snow skies just yet. Now is the time to enjoy a pint with friends old and new, experience classic and contemporary art and even bring home the Halloween pumpkins.
2100 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80205
Dates: Sept. 27-29 and Oct. 4-6, 2013
The shiny autumn leaves of fall are not the only color of gold still hanging on in October. The sparkling gold beer of Oktoberfest brings people together to taste new flavors and share in the experience. Modeled after Oktoberfest in Germany, this street festival not only shows off local beers, but it is a chance for people to indulge in Bavarian-themed foods. Fun German attractions such as live music, international dancers, children’s activities and heritage booths even make this festival a family-friendly event. If possible, bring your own stein and save a little cash when visiting many of the bars.
First Friday Art Walks
Santa Fe Art District
930 Inca St.
Denver, CO 80204
The first Friday of every month provides the chance to get outside and enjoy some of Colorado’s incredible art. Known as First Friday Art Walks, this occasion calls for breaking out the fun outfits and sense of adventure to walk along the old area of Santa Fe in downtown Denver to view both classic and edgy paintings and photography. It is a chance to share the experience of live music, painting exhibitions, food and culture of the Denver nightlife. Only one Friday a month, the local art galleries stay open late to welcome visitors into a carefree and creative atmosphere.
Denver Botanic Garden at Chatfield
8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80128
Dates: Oct. 11-13, 2013
Denver-area residents look forward to the Denver Botanic Garden at Chatfield’s annual Pumpkin Fest. Bring the kids, and if at all possible, the wagon. Not only will visitors bring home arts, crafts and wares from all walks of life, they will most certainly bring home pumpkins. No one can resist the fresh smell of fall grass, fresh roasted corn on the cob and, of course, the funnel cakes. There is plenty to do including exploring the animals of a real farm, peeking around the doors of a turn-of-the-century farm house and riding around the place on bales of hay.
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
520 E. Carr St.
Cripple Creek, CO 80813
While making your way down into Cripple Creek, travelers will be reminded of how lucky they are to live in this beautiful state. On the way to this century-old steam locomotive, visitors will drive past multiple breathtaking views of some of Colorado’s most brilliant and colorful Aspen trees. Any time from mid-September through early October is ideal to enjoy the remainder of the warm days while gazing at the annual turning of the Aspen trees. In the historic mining town of Cripple Creek, it’s a trip back in time on the Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The conductor will provide fun historical facts while chugging along in this old steam engine train. After the ride, be sure to stop for lunch at The Creek.
Elitch Gardens Theme Park
2000 Elitch Circle
Denver, CO 80204
With Halloween around the corner, fall is the time of year to seek out the things that cause fright in the night. Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens transforms the theme park every weekend in October into a festival of thrills and chills. Its motto says it all with “family by day, fright by night.” Bring the little ones in costume to enjoy the Trick-or-Treat Trail, then when the sun goes down, let your teenagers loose at night for the scary rides and adventure. There will be a new haunted house called Blackout where guests will be confronted with an abandoned science lab where a recent zombie outbreak has occurred.
Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.