Featured Festival: Estes Park Winter Festival (Jan. 16-19, 2015)

If you like to eat and drink as much as I do, then you need to attend the Estes Park Winter Festival. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, but once a year I get gluttonous at this fest and I make no apologies for it.

Estes Park Winter Festival, Estes Park, Colorado

The event was cancelled last year because the Stanley Park Fairground was undergoing renovations, but this year it’s back and bigger than ever and will be held at the beautiful, brand new Estes Park Events Complex.

I’ve been attending this festival since year one and have watched it grow from a small, grassroots downtown chili cook-off and beer tasting event to a larger version of the same thing. Despite attracting big crowds every year, the organizers have been able to keep a laid back, hometown feel to the event, which I really enjoy.

Avery Beer at EPWF

The festivities start on Friday, January 16 with an Irish Gathering brought to you by the Rocky Mountain Irish Gathering. The band, The Commoners will perform as will bag piper Daniel Lowell and the McTeggart Irish Stepdancers. This evening of Irish fun runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and is $15 at the door.

On Saturday and Sunday festivalgoers will enjoy an event that I consider one of the top winter festivals in Colorado. Inside the events complex you’ll find more than 30 different beer and wine vendors offering samples, as well as loads of chili to taste (both green and red). Professionals and amateurs complete for various coveted Best Chili awards – and you get to vote.

When I say that I “eat my way through Estes Park Winter Festival” I am not exaggerating. You will taste some downright amazing, earth-shakingly good chilis at this event.

chili cook off pic Estes Park Winter Festival 2012 HeidiTown (2)

Estes Park Chili Festival. HeidiTown.com
“The spicier the better” – that’s my motto!

In addition to all the eating and drinking there’s a full lineup of entertainment at the fest including two Colorado bands,  White Water Ramble and Archie Funker. We heard White Water Ramble play at a beer festival this summer and they are not a favorite of ours.

There are vendors at the fest selling their wares, and in addition Rocky Mountain National Park will be there to share their expert knowledge on outdoor winter adventures, do equipment demos, offer winter safety tips and information about the park.

Stick around for giveaways that include an annual pass to RMNP, snow cat tours and more.

Your children are very welcome at this event. There’s an entire pavilion at the Estes Park Events Complex that will be dedicated just to kids. Lots of activities will be available from slapstick hockey to a snowboard simulator. Your kiddos will not get bored at the Estes Park Winter Festival.

A very happy kiddo at Estes Park Winter Festival 2012.
A very happy kiddo at Estes Park Winter Festival 2012.

If you decide to spend the holiday weekend in town why not stick around for Monday’s events. There are free, family friendly activities planned next to the ice skating rink located in downtown Estes Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Estes Park Winter Festival

Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 16-19, 2015

Estes Park Events Complex at  1209 Manford Avenue

You’ll need to purchase tickets online for the festival events taking place on Saturday and Sunday. Go HERE to purchase tickets today!

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Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.


  1. I love the “Very happy kid” caption


    1. Thanks for stopping by HeidiTown today, Censie
      I love it when you visit. 🙂
      This is a GREAT event!!!


  2. I don’t get it. what are we paying for ? $17.00 for a basic ticket? This gets you in the door to taste chili and not any beer or wine. What is going on in the even center that is $17.00 of value? I could see maybe spending an hour there but then what? On top of that there is a $2.00 processing fee when you check out? Come on….I want to go and support this but I just don’t see that it is worth it.


    1. Thank you for stopping by HeidiTown, Frank!

      If you don’t plan to drink any beer or wine ($17), you’ll still get to enjoy the chili (there’s tons of it) and there are fantastic bands! Rocky Mountain National Park will be doing demos and educating the public on winter sports in the park. There are other vendors too. Last year they had a jalapeno eating contest that was pretty amazing – not sure if that’s on tap this year or not.

      The place will be buzzing!

      I cover a lot of events and the $30 fee for entry + beer and wine is a GREAT deal as a beer fest will usually cost you quite a bit more. They have a good selection of breweries at this event so it’s pretty much like a beer festival too. There’s a smaller selection of wineries and this year there’s a meadry too.

      And if you have kids? Well, this is probably one of the best winter festivals for children as they have their own special pavilion.

      I cover A LOT of festivals throughout Colorado and while Estes Park Winter Festival isn’t a cheap event, it’s a good value for what’s available at the event… believe me!

      Ticket prices for main festival:
      $5 children (ages 4 – 9), Children under 4 are free
      Tickets without craft beverage tasting, $17 per day or $30 for a two day pass
      Tickets with unlimited craft beverage tasting, $30 per day or $55 for a two day pass (ages 21 or older)
      Purchase tickets here: https://estes.thundertix.com/orders/new?performance_id=1351033


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