Hummingbirds fly through the air, a breeze blows gently from the creek, and a riot of colorful flowers spring from pots and gardens everywhere in the village. It’s just another summer day in Keystone, Colorado.
The Colorado Rocky Mountains may be known as a skiers’ paradise, but they are also heavenly during the summer months. And there’s no excuse not to go, at least once—Keystone has five festivals, mostly free, that serve as a great excuse.
First up, imagine fistfuls of bacon and a mouthful of bourbon. Sound nice? I think so. That’s what happens at Bacon & Bourbon Festival on June 24 and 25. I can tell you from personal experience, that if you like bacon, this is the festival for you.
The smell is enough to make a person want to buy tickets right now. You’ll need tickets to sample the bacon and bacon-inspired cuisine and to partake in the bourbon, but the music, on stage throughout the event, is 100 percent free. Don’t miss Hell’s Belles. Playing 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, they’re a female AC/DC cover band that will rock your face off.
Next is the festival at Keystone I’ve attended the most. We’ve taken friends, family and gone by ourselves. No matter the combination, Ryan and I always have a fun and tipsy time. Wine & Jazz Festival is exactly that—so much wine and so much jazz—and it’s July 15-16.
Again, you’ll need to buy tickets if you are a wine aficionado and want to taste a lot of different wines, but wine is available to purchase by the glass, or a festival attendee can simply go for the free jazz. There is also a bunch of delicious food to try using a food pass.
Each of these festivals also features a variety of vendors. Last year, at Wine & Jazz, I bought a beautiful shawl that gets so many compliments from Love My Shawl. She is back this year!
RELATED: Stay in Keystone, Colorado
Third, it’s Bluegrass & Beer Festival on August 5-6. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been to this event, but there’s nothing wrong with banjos and breweries. View the music lineup here, which includes familiar names like High Lonesome and The Brothers Comatose.
Yep, the music is free, but if you want to taste beer, go buy tickets here.
This is a festival we’ve been to and loved. In fact, our condo was right in River Run Village and we could hear and see the bands from our window. Mountain Town Music Festival is on August 19. See the band lineup here.
Last, but certainly not least, get your polka on at Keystone Oktoberfest on September 2. I know a thing about Oktoberfest and one central piece of info is that it is celebrated in September, despite the name.
Keystone Oktoberfest is a good one. We bring our own steins to every Oktoberfest, but you can buy one emblazoned with the event name. Steins and food passes available here.
Again, the entertainment, in the form of German dancers and German bands, is free. As are the competitions. In fact, my husband’s claim to fame is that he won the Stein Hoisting Contest in 2019, and then, in the excitement of winning, drank the boot of beer he’d been told not to drink. He’s VERY proud of this title but we haven’t been back for him to defend it.
I like these festivals because they don’t force everyone in the group to buy tickets. If you have a nondrinker in the mix, they can still go and have tons of fun listening to music, eating, shopping vendors and drinking soda. Or, a vegetarian can simply forgo the bacon ticket and just stick with bourbon. It’s one of the five food groups, right?
These are excellent festivals for groups or multi-generational family travel. There is so much going on for children. While there are adult beverages for the adults, a myriad of children’s activities are planned for each festival. Also, the village is just fun for a kid. There’s even a big playground.
A weekend in the Colorado mountains? Yes, please.
Blog post sponsored by Keystone Festivals.
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