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Festivals

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Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pie at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials

If you think sheepdog trials involve dogs chasing sheep around, you’d be a little right, but not entirely right. Sheepdog trials are much more involved than I ever realized and our weekend trip to Meeker, in Northwest Colorado, was an eye opening experience. I liked it so much that I’m hoping to sponsor a dog/handler team in 2018.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (7)

When I set out on this trip, I didn’t really intend to write specifically about the sheepdog trials, after all, I was there to judge and help promote the Jammin’ Lamb Festival, a lamb cook off in downtown. However, after watching the competition, I really wanted to write about it.

So what are sheepdog trials? In a nutshell, it’s a competitive sport in which herding dogs, under the command of their handler, move sheep around a large field, through fences and gates and into enclosures. The sport is mimicking the work that many of these dogs do at home on the ranch, although some of these dogs spend most of their time competing.

For a complete history of dog trails, go here.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (1)

The trials in Meeker have been occurring for 31 years, and this is a serious business with $22,500 in prize money at stake this year. The organizers hosted 130 dog/handler teams in Meeker this year and, as always, the public is welcomed to attend.

This five-day event features three days of preliminaries with a semifinal on Saturday and a final on Sunday. In addition to the trials, which start at 7 am and go all day with a break for lunch, there are lots of other things on the agenda too.

We arrived on Saturday to a sea of tents and were greeted by the smell of fair food, one of my favorite scents. For lunch, we ended up wolfing down delicious meat pies from an Aspen pastry vendor, but we could have picked from a variety of delicious foodstuff including barbequed ribs or Navajo tacos.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (3)

Meat pies. Enough said.

We made our way to a bleacher seat where we sat, alongside a couple of handlers and their dogs, and watched several teams run the course. As an aside, I loved watching the handlers interact with their dogs off the field of competition. There’s a lot of love in these partnerships.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (8)

Who says you can’t be a working dog AND a lap dog?

The more we watched over the course of the day, the more we grasped the nuances of the sport. Each dog and handler seem to have a little different style; for instance, some handlers talk to their dogs a lot, while others only communicate via the whistle, and even the dogs have differing styles. During a Lie Down command some dogs actually lie down in the grass, becoming just a pair of ears above the green, but other dogs simply stop in their tracks and resemble a border collie statue with a pink, lollygagging tongue.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (6)

Sometimes you get an uncooperative sheep. We saw more than one of these bullheaded ewes on Saturday.

It’s no secret that I’m a dog person. I grew up with German Shepherds and currently own a 14 ½-year-old spoiled female GSD. I am a huge fan of working breeds because I love their intelligence. I’ve always admired border collies and would love to own one when I have enough property to let them run.

I wrote the preceding paragraph to explain that while the sheepdog trials are interesting, I think that dog people may find them more entertaining than non-dog people.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (2)

In addition to the competition, there’s other stuff on the Meeker Sheepdog Trial agenda. As I’ve already mentioned, there’s a good number of food vendors selling a variety of different menu items. There’s also a big tent where local artisans sell their wares; everything from saddles to handmade jewelry and soap.

The education tent features events like the Blanco Cellars & Little Cheese Shop from Meeker serving up free sheep cheese and many demonstrations and presentations themed around the event (think sniffer dogs and vet presentations).

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (4)

This is Buster. Like all the other dog competitors, he loves his soak in a cool bath after his run.

If you love border collies, this is the place to come. Not only was their sheep and border collie art all over the stores in downtown Meeker, but the Sheepdog Trials features an array of vendors selling border collie merchandise including t-shirts, blankets and everything in between.

If you’ve got kids, bring them. There’s a petting zoo, and this year, they had Fly Ball demonstrations that were a hoot. Your little ones may not last all day, but I know I would have been fascinated with the Meeker Sheepdog Trials as a kid, especially as a kid that loved animals.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (5)

I learned that Fly Ball is fast and very loud.

Once you start watching the trials, I mean, really watching, it’s addictive. You start rooting for the handlers and their dogs and sometimes it gets downright tense. We hadn’t planned to return on Sunday because we needed to get home to our old dog, but we did end up returning to the event grounds to catch one of the runs on the final day of competition. This is when the top 12 compete and the dogs have to herd 20 sheep instead of five. The final day’s course is also a bit different from the first four days.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (9)

That’s a lot of sheep! Sunday’s finals.

We enjoyed the competition, the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, the echoes of the bagpipe, the smell of fair food and fresh grass and the speed of Meeker. Time moves just a little slower here and people are just a little friendlier. The Meeker Sheepdog Trials are a great excuse to visit this little throwback town where the sheep and kids still roam free.

The Meeker Sheepdog Trials are held annually in September in Meeker, Colorado, about 3 ½ hours west of Denver. If you want to go, plan ahead because lodging in the town fills up well in advance of the event. Go to MeekerSheepdog.com to start planning your visit.

Featured Festival: Mountain Harvest Festival 2017, Paonia, Colorado

There’s a little spot on Colorado’s Western Slope that’s home to flocks of sheep, fields of vegetables and orchards of fruit. Things move a little slower here and that’s just the way the people of the North Fork Valley like it. There are no freeways and very few stop lights; it’s a bit like going back in time, but better.

Featured Festival Mountain Harvest Festival 2017, Paonia, Colorado, Chili Cookoff - photo credit Nyssa Yassa

Chili Cook Off, photo by Nyssa Yassa.

Mountain Harvest Festival is a celebration of the bounty of Paonia and the North Fork Valley, and you’re invited to participate in this annual event that’s a little earthy, kinda quirky, a bit country and entirely authentic.

This is a four-day festival that kicks off with food, which makes sense. There are Harvest to Table Dinners at Remedy and the Living Farm Cafe on Thursday night. These dinners feature locally grown, chemical and additive free food.

Featured Festival Mountain Harvest Festival 2017, Paonia, Colorado Farmers Market

Mountain Harvest Festival’s Farmers Market, photo by Darcie Rose.

This festival is hosting a lot of local talent including writers, artists and musicians, and Thursday night is no exception. Harvest of Voices showcases both rising stars and award-winning writers reading from their works.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Mountain Harvest Festival are chockablock with events; I won’t name them all here, but I do want to highlight Saturday Sundown Swing, a ticketed event that features five venues and nine bands. From acoustic to rock, there’s a little something for everyone on tap. Buy an all access ticket (or entry to just one venue) here.

Featured Festival Mountain Harvest Festival 2017, Paonia, Colorado. The Killer Bees - photo credit Ben Lehman

The Killer Bees, Photo by Darcie Rose.

In addition to loads of music, this festival has a farmers’ market, grape stomp, kids area, a Wine Makers Dinner, a chili cookoff, hula hoop contest, local brews, ciders and wines, farm tours and more.

Bike to farm tour in the North Fork Valley. Orchard Valley Farms. HeidiTown.com

I’d highly recommend renting a bike from Cirque Cyclery in downtown Paonia and participating in Saturday’s Farm & Wine Tours. We had a blast exploring the area’s farms by bike during our 2016 visit (read about it here).

Click Here for the Full Schedule of Events at Mountain Harvest Festival

Featured Festival Mountain Harvest Festival 2017, Paonia, Colorado Harvest Fest All Star Band

Harvest Fest All Star Band at Mountain Harvest Festival, photo by Ben Lehman.

I am delighted to be attending the festival this year, because, despite the fact that I try not to play favorites, the North Fork Valley is one of my favorite spots in Colorado. I hope to see you there!

Mountain Harvest Festival

September 21-24, 2017

Paonia, Colorado

Free & ticketed events

MountainHarvestFestival.org

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

Featured Festival: Loveland Oktoberfest 2017

Call me an Oktoberfest snob, but I believe it takes more than beer and pretzels to make a great Oktoberfest. This year, Loveland Oktoberfest, held at Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, has many of the right ingredients to be called the best Oktoberfest in Northern Colorado.

Featured Festival Loveland Oktoberfest 2017 Neue Polka Colorado 1

Neue Polka Colorado

Of course, it’s about the bier

First of all, Oktoberfest is about good beer and Loveland’s festival will feature six of the city’s award winning breweries, and for fun, they’ve invited Wibby from down the road in Longmont. In addition to Grimm and Wibby, breweries in attendance are Verboten, Loveland Aleworks, Crow Hop, Big Beaver, Buckhorn Brewers and Big Thompson.

Loveland Oktoberfest

That’s me! At Loveland Oktoberfest 2015.

New this year is the Baron Berliner Bar, which will feature Grimm’s traditional Berlinerweisse called The Baron, with multiple flavored syrups available for festival goers to create their own Berliner experience.

It’s about the music 

Second of all, Oktoberfest is about German music. I am super excited that this year, not only will Loveland Oktoberfest feature two authentic polka bands, Neue Polka Colorado and Polka Folka, but also DJ KAAOS.

Featured Festival Loveland Oktoberfest 2017 Neue Polka Colorado

Neue Polka Colorado

Just like at Oktoberfest at Munich, DJ KAAOS will spin all sorts of German music including Die Fantastischen Vier, Rammstein, Jurgen Birlinger and much more. This is one of the most unique things happening at Loveland Oktoberfest and I can’t wait.

It’s about the food

This year’s Loveland Oktoberfest will feature pretzels from Styria Bakery (these are the real deal, folks), pastries from Sweet European Treats (Mayor approved) and the Colorado Candy Company is making something special just for the fest. In addition, authentic German cuisine will be catered for the event. No one will go hungry at Loveland Oktoberfest.

Featured Festival Loveland Oktoberfest 2017 ribbon candy from Colorado Candy Company

Ribbon candy made especially for Loveland Oktoberfest 2017.

It’s about the games & ambiance

Come in your best German garb and participate in the Best Dressed Costume contest on Saturday at 2 p.m. Other contests will be held during the fest including a Stein Hoisting event and a Hammerschlagen tournament to benefit Kiwanis (the champion wins free beer for a year).

Featured Festival Loveland Oktoberfest hammerschlagan pic

Hammerschlagan is fun, just ask John Metcalf!

Several local university German Clubs will be on hand to help you practice a little Deutsch, the official language of Germany and Austria, and one of the three official languages of Switzerland.

Barbarian Dinner Banner Ad

Party like a barbarian on Thursday

The kick off to Loveland Oktoberfest is the Barbarian Dinner on Thursday, September 14. This is like no other beer dinner you’ve ever attended (I guarantee). While Loveland Oktoberfest is free to attend, Barbarian Dinner is a ticketed event. Learn more & purchase tickets here.

Loveland Oktoberfest 2017

Loveland Oktoberfest is 100% family-friendly. There will be activities for the bigs and littles, so grab grandma and the kiddos and make your way to Loveland, Colorado this September.

Loveland Oktoberfest

FREE ADMISSION

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse (click for map)

Friday, September 15 | 4 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, September 16 | 12 to 9 p.m.

LovelandOktoberfest.org

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

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Featured Festival: ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10

Creative, ingenious, colorful, crafty, artistic and kooky are all words I would use to describe ArtoCade in Trinidad, Colorado. Squish all those words together and you’ve got one very entertaining festival in a truly fantastic town.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10 (6)

We were lucky enough to make it to ArtoCade last September, and since then, I’ve written about our Trinidad experience a number of times including “Trinidad, Colorado, It’s Not What You Think,” which has garnered quite a few comments over the months.

Trinidad is a town undergoing a renaissance and that is bound to stir up emotional responses. From my viewpoint, the climate on the streets of Trinidad is generally positive; I get a sense that the city is moving in a good direction and ArtoCade is part of that.

The Truth About the Towns on Colorado's Worst Places to Live List

Trinidad, Colorado

So What is ArtoCade?

This festival is one part car event, one part art event, and entirely nuts. There’s a reason it won the Governor’s Award for Best Small Town Festival in 2016.

The highlight of the event is the parade on Saturday. Last year, more than 80 art cars rolled down Trinidad’s main street and the crowds were thoroughly entertained. With art cars with names like ChewBaru and Stink Bug, you can probably figure out why.  See photos from last year’s parade here.

More than 100 art cars have signed up for the parade this year including 35 first-timers.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10 (2)

The Lowdown on ArtoCade

ArtoCade kicks off on Friday evening with a Vehiculart, a downtown art exhibit like you’ve never seen before, followed by CarBash at BRIX Sports Bar & Grill.

After the parade on Saturday, the art cars park downtown so that festival goers can get up close and personal with them and their owners. There are food stands and other vendors too – it’s a real, colorful street party. If you decided to show up here dressed as a Star Wars character or a big furry rabbit, no one would blink an eye. Weird is encouraged on ArtoCade weekend.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10 (5)

Saturday night’s event is CarDango, which ArtoCade organizers describe as “part revue, part costume gala, part dance and part circus.” We attended last year and that’s a fairly accurate description Our favorite part was the samba dancer. While most of ArtoCade is free, CarDango is a ticketed event and it is taking place this year at the brand new Bizarre Car Garage in Trinidad.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10 (1)

Awards are presented at CarDango and a fantastic time is had by all. Even if you don’t know anyone, CarDango is a welcoming affair, but leave the kids at home — this party is just for the grown-ups.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10 (9)

Sunday morning there’s a cartist send off breakfast held at the Trinidad History Museum, which, by the way, you should tour when you’re in town. Everyone is invited to attend this breakfast which is a good example of how this is an inclusive, not exclusive event. I can tell you from personal experience that the cartists are a really great group of fun people.

Featured Festival ArtoCade 2017, Sept. 8-10 (3)

So Why Go to ArtoCade?

Without a doubt, ArtoCade was the most memorable event we attended last year, and we attended a lot of events. It’s worth the drive to Trinidad. 

ArtoCade

Trinidad, Colorado

September 8-10, 2017

FREE (CarDango is ticketed)

ArtoCade.com

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

 

Featured Festival: Glenn Miller Swing Fest, August 17-19, 2017

I think swing music is happy music, and that’s why I love the Glenn Miller Swing Festival in Fort Morgan, Colorado. This is a happy event that celebrates one of this town’s favorite sons, Glenn Miller.

World famous big band musician, Glenn Miller, went to high school in Fort Morgan. The story goes, in addition to football, as a high schooler, Miller loved music and skipped his own graduation ceremony to head to Laramie, Wyoming to play in a band. His mother had to pick up his diploma for him.

While Miller’s life story didn’t have a happy ending — he was lost in a plane disappearance during WWII at the age of 40 — the Eastern Colorado town of Fort Morgan annually honors his memory with festivities.

The Grand Plan

A true Americana kind of town, Fort Morgan is an idyllic place to celebrate this style of music, and for three days the town comes alive with the sound of brass and drums.

Featured Festival Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Photo by Jon A Yamamoto

Photo by Jon A Yamamoto, courtesy of Morgan County Tourism.

Part community festival, part music festival, Glenn Miller Swing Fest welcomes swing music aficionados from around the country to partake in the event.

This is a sort of “pick and choose your adventure” sort of festival with a variety of events starting on Thursday evening and ending on Saturday night. The schedule includes history presentations about Glenn Miller, a community barbeque, social cocktail gatherings, Glenn Miller movies, a street dance and more. Nearly all of these events include live music.

See the FULL Glenn Miller Swing Fest Schedule Here

A Swingin’ Kind of Town

Only an hour from Denver, Fort Morgan, located in Morgan County, is where the “prairie meets the sky,” and I’m here to tell you that it’s a beautiful and somewhat under appreciated area of Colorado.

Featured Festival Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Photo by Jon A Yamamoto 1

Photo by Jon A Yamamoto, courtesy of Morgan County Tourism.

One of my favorite Thai restaurants is located in Fort Morgan, Little Bamboo, and one of the state’s most fantastic Italian restaurants, O’ Sole Mio Trattoria Italiana is also in town.

This isn’t the big city and the sidewalks roll up at night, but that’s part of Fort Morgan’s charm. It’s a true throwback, the kind of place that still has an old-fashioned movie theater on Main Street.

Featured Festival Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Photo by Jon A Yamamoto 2

Photo by Jon A Yamamoto, courtesy of Morgan County Tourism.

Whether you go for the day or the weekend, Glenn Miller Swing Fest in Fort Morgan is a toe tappin’ good time. For more info on where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Morgan County, visit MorganCountyTourism.com.

Glenn Miller Swing Festival

August 17-19, 2017

Events take place around Fort Morgan, Colorado

*some events are ticketed (see festival website for details)

GlennMillerSwingFest.com

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Note from the Mayor: This event has a big heart as well as strong community roots and is one of the festivals that inspired me to focus on Colorado’s small town festivals back in 2010. I am delighted that individuals within Fort Morgan and Morgan County recognize the benefits of continuing this unique festival.

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

Featured Festival: Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival, August 11-12, 2017

There are many things to love about the North Fork Valley of Delta County and the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival (August 11-12, 2017) is at the top of that list. This festival was brand new last year, and from the moment I heard the name, I knew they had a good thing going.

Farm to Fiddle Blue Logo

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival takes place in the lovely village of Hotchkiss, Colorado, located about an hour southeast of Grand Junction in one of our state’s most bountiful growing areas.

It’s About Music

As the name suggests, this festival features lots of music and that’s easy to do in an area brimming with musicians.

Featured Festival Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival Jeneve Rose Mitchell courtesy photo HeidiTown.com

Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Friday’s musical guest is the North Fork Valley’s very own Jeneve Rose Mitchell who grew up in Crawford, just down the road from Hotchkiss. Now 17, at age 15, Mitchell appeared on American Idol where she stole hearts and the show. Performing since the age of 4, Mitchell is taking the country music world by storm and this is your chance to see her live.

Saturday’s musical feature is David Starr. His website describes him as a musician with “Arkansas roots and Colorado wings.” This past April, he released “The Head And Heart,” produced and arranged by John Oates. Also local, when he isn’t touring the country you’ll find Starr in his music store in Cedaredge, Colorado, about 30 minutes from Hotchkiss.

Featured Festival Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival David Starr courtesy photo. HeidiTown.com

Courtesy photo. Used with permission.

There are many other musicians scheduled to play throughout the two-day festival including another local favorite, the Solar Brothers. Check out the festival’s website for the entire musical lineup.

It’s About Farms

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival plays hosts to a farmers’ market that will have you drooling. And this farmers’ market is your chance to meet local farmers who will be in attendance selling their fresh produce.

FEATURED FESTIVAL Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado. Veggies. HeidiTown.com

Veggies at the Hotchkiss Saturday Farmers’ Market.

It’s About Art

Hotchkiss is a highly active art community. In fact, their Creamery Arts Center is a major feature of the town and a can’t-be-missed attraction when you visit. The park next to the center is where much of the festival’s activity will take place. There will be arts and crafts on display throughout the festival.

It’s About the Great Outdoors

In addition to farm fun, musical performances and art and food, the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival will play host to the Western Colorado Outdoor Expo, a show that showcases the outdoor adventures available in Delta County and Western Colorado. From the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the Grand Mesa, this area is jam-packed with recreational opportunities for everyone. And a bonus about doing outdoor activities here is that unlike Colorado’s Front Range, these beautiful parks and open lands are crowd free.

This expo features speakers, demos, vendors and more.

Hotchkiss from Delta County Tourism 4

A hoola hooper in Hotchkiss. (Courtesy of Delta County)

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival takes place at the same time as the Delta County Fair, which is also held in Hotchkiss, so it’s an exciting time to visit the town.

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival

August 11-12, 2017

Downtown Hotchkiss, Colorado

FarmtoFiddle.com

FREE ADMISSION

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

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Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Colorado

A Note from the Mayor: Sight is a precious thing (something I know all too well). Before you go trotting off to watch the eclipse this month, please take a moment to review these recommendations from NASA on how to safely view the eclipse.

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Have you heard about the upcoming solar eclipse? If not, you may be fairly surprised when the sun disappears behind the moon on August 21, 2017, starting around 10:30 a.m. We won’t experience a total eclipse here in Colorado, but we will see a partial eclipse and it will occur over a three hour period.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado

Photo courtesy of Colorado.com. Wildflower hike near Vail, Colorado. (Matt Inden, photographer)

Here’s a cool video of how this partial eclipse will appear in Colorado.

I’ve made it my mission to find eclipse parties happening in Colorado, and at the time of the writing of this post, there aren’t many being advertised online yet so I’ll try to update this article as they pop up.

Eclipse Parties in Colorado

Avon, Colorado

The first party that came on my radar is the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party being held at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek. Ryan and I have stayed at this fantastic property near Vail that features several restaurants, an incredible spa, an enormous pool, lovely salt water hot tubs, and large, comfy suite-style rooms.

Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Colorado - Westin Beaver Creek summer fire pits, credit the hotel

Westin Beaver Creek summer fire pits, courtesy of the resort.

The resort is partnering with Walking Mountain Science School, a non-profit science learning center, to offer a free party to the public that includes educational family activities and celestial crafts. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the Westin’s patio.

The Rocky Mountain Eclipse Getaway (offered August 20-23, 2017) at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa includes a studio suite, exclusive access to the resort’s educational event with Walking Mountains, solar eclipse viewing glasses and nightly s’mores at the resort’s fire pits. Rates start at $179.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Total Solar Eclipse Party is being held at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s will be held on August 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This will be an exciting day at the Discovery Center. They will have solar viewing telescopes, tubes and boxes for visitors to use and they will feature live feeds from other eclipse locations around the United States.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado, Colorado Springs Discovery Center

Visitors may purchase solar viewing glasses, while supplies last, for just $3 or two for $5. There will be craft events and a planetarium show in the center’s new inflatable planetarium.

This is a once-in-childhood experience for your science-minded children, so if you live in or near the Colorado Springs area, don’t miss it.

Visit the Total Solar Eclipse Party online HERE.

Denver, Colorado

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will start their solar eclipse festivities at 9 a.m. on August 21. The museum will be buzzing with eclipse activities including events scheduled outside on Boettcher Plaza, in the Science Studios, on the south atrium, inside the Space Odyssey exhibit and at the Discovery Zone (the area for young learners ages 5 and under).

A solar-scope viewing will be held on Boettcher Plaza from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum will be providing safe viewing options for guests in the form of solar eclipse glasses and pinhole viewers. There will even be pop-up food available service outside during the event.

While the eclipse is happening in the sky outside, inside the museum visitors can enjoy stories, kinesthetic activities and crafts related to the eclipse. The eclipse-related activities end at 2 p.m., but the museum will remain open until 5 p.m. Don’t miss the Space Odyssey programming that will include eclipse-themed shows throughout the day.

Vail, Colorado

An exclusive solar hike for guests of the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail is planned for August 21. This luxury hotel with a European twist is offering a hike on Shriner Ridge. The outing includes transportation, a guide, solar viewing glasses, water and a snack.

This two-mile hike/three-hour excursion will provide a fantastic view of the 2017 eclipse in one of Colorado’s most gorgeous settings. To book your hike contact Kara at 970-479-5448 or email kschmidt@sonnenalp.com.

Buena Vista, Colorado

Deerhammer, a distillery located in Buena Vista, is hosting an eclipse viewing party featuring $5 Barrel Aged Black Hole Sun (a coffee old-fashion), during the event. They will also have solar glasses available for guests.

Where to Watch the Eclipse in Colorado, Deerhammer in Buena Vista

Photo courtesy of Deerhammer.

Watch the Eclipse with a Cold One

Lots of breweries around Colorado have put together solar eclipse watch parties. From City Star Brewing in Berthoud to Goat Patch Brewing in Colorado Springs, you can watch the eclipse at your favorite brewery, purchase a pair of eclipse glasses on site and enjoy special beer releases.

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See a map of the eclipse in the United States here.

For information on Where to Watch the Eclipse in the West, visit The Heidi Guide at Mountain Living online.

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I’ve scoured the internet and even made some calls to find out if more parties are planned and nothing comes up… yet.

I am certain that more parties will pop up and I’ll try to keep this list updated. If you know of a party or your organization is putting something together for the public, please leave me a comment here or email me at TheMayor@HeidiTown.com with details. Thank you!

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Featured Festival: BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado

BrüFrouFEST was my husband’s favorite event of 2016, and that’s really saying something because we go to a lot of events. I loved it too. What’s not to love about food and drink pairings? And this is not your average “taste of” kind of event.

BrüFrouFEST inspires chefs and brewers to take food and drink pairings to the next level — and they do.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - steak & dark beer

Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

Last year, we wandered through the event, increasingly impressed by what we were putting in our mouths. Verboten Brewing’s Cucumber Gose paired with Harman’s Eat & Drink’s salmon pastrami with dill cream cheese mousse, avocado, brewers rye crisp, pickled mustard seed and cilantro was my favorite on the day.

Bru Frou 2016. HeidiTown (2)

However, there were other standouts too including the Bristol Brewing Company Roggenbier paired with saffron banana steamed mussels with Aurelia chorizo and crumbled rye (food by Brother Luck). Obviously, I love seafood, but there were lots of other pairings as well, including last course options.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - Mussels & chorizo

The Bristol Brewing & Brother Luck pairing in 2016.

Ryan couldn’t get enough of the Copper Kettle Mexican Chocolate Stout pair with spicy chocolate cake from The Rosedale Tavern.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - Chocolate Cake

Spicy Chocolate Cake. Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

BrüFrouFEST is for foodies and foodie wannabes, and the brewers and chefs that are involved take this event very seriously.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is thrilled to be pairing their beer with cuisine by Euclid Hall at this year’s event and I can’t wait to taste the result of this stellar combination. Verboten also got a great pairing this year – Blackbelly Market out of Boulder. Only good things can come from that collaboration.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - action shot

Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

While the food will continue to be spectacular, some things at this year’s BrüFrouFEST will be a little different. For instance, they are holding it outdoors at Tivoli Station in downtown Denver. They’ve also moved it from Saturday to Sunday to make it easier for chefs to be away from their restaurants on the day of the event. And it takes place from 12 to 5, as opposed to in the evening. Lastly, they’ve added craft beer cocktails from some of the region’s finest mixologists. 

Chefs are coming from as far as Vail to participate and compete and overall, there are 125 chefs and breweries and 80 unique pairings. In addition, six bands will be in attendance to keep things lively when the meat sleeps start to kick in.

Featured Festival BrüFrouFEST 2017, Denver, Colorado - HeidiTown - crowd shot

Photo courtesy of BrüFrouFEST.

This is the largest culinary event of its kind in the country, so you really, really, really don’t want to miss it. Seriously, my husband talked about this one for months; obviously, it makes an impression. This year, tickets start at just $35, so you’ve got no excuse not to be there.

BrüFrouFEST 2017

BruFrou.com

SUNDAY, July 16, 2017

12 to 5 p.m. at Tivoli Station

Denver, Colorado

Get BrüFrouFEST tickets NOW

***

Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

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Colorado Wine Festivals in Some of the State’s Most Beautiful Places

I write a lot about beer because Colorado is filled to the brim with great craft beer. However, our wine scene is pretty spectacular too and I happen to love wine, so here’s a collection of five spectacular wine festivals that are taking place this summer in some of Colorado’s most beautiful towns.

Crested Butte Center For The Arts Wine and Food Festival 2016. (Photo/Nathan Bilow)

Crested Butte Center For The Arts Wine and Food Festival 2016. (Photo/Nathan Bilow)

Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25, 2017

TellurideWineFestival.com

Telluride’s remoteness is part of its charm. A trip to this region comes with awe-inspiring vistas that you’ll find nowhere else.

Colorado Wine Festivals, Telluride Wine Festival, courtesy shot.

Telluride Wine Festival

The Telluride Wine Festival has been running for 36 years and features seminars, parties, luncheons, etc. You can pick your level of involvement at this wine festival that includes free events as well.

The Culinary Village in Mountain Village is a new feature this year. It’s free to stroll through Culinary Village where you’ll be treated to culinary demos, bands, wine tasting and more.

Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival, July 15-16, 2017

KeystoneFestivals.com

Having attended twice, Keystone Wine & Jazz is a personal favorite of mine. It’s free to stroll through the event that sprawls throughout the Keystone Village. In addition to the hundreds of wines being served from dozens of booths, there’s endless music on various stages.

Colorado Wine Festivals - Where to Drink Grapes this Summer, Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival

Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival

Everyone has a good time at this festival, including children who love Keystone’s Kidtopia and the festival’s Kid Zone.

Whether you love wine and want to learn more at one of the festival’s various workshops, or just enjoy listening to great music in the sunshine, the Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival is for you.

Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival, July 26-30, 2017

CBWineandFood.com

Without a doubt, Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s most picturesque towns, and while the town has an old-timey feel, the Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival is anything but old-fashion.

Crested Butte Center For The Arts Wine and Food Festival 2016. (Photo/Nathan Bilow)

Crested Butte Center For The Arts Wine and Food Festival 2016. (Photo/Nathan Bilow)

This is a first-rate wine event with a Grand Tasting that features more than 500 wines. The five-day festival has a large variety of seminars to choose from and includes outdoor events such as the Standup Paddle Board & Lunch outing on July 29.

Steamboat Wine Festival, August 9-13, 2017

SteamboatWineFestival.com

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Steamboat Springs. While there’s a ski resort, there’s also a lot of real people who call this town home and that gives it a welcoming feel.

Colorado Wine Festivals - Where to Drink Grapes this Summer, SWF

Photo courtesy of Steamboat Wine Festival.

Steamboat Wine Festival is a celebration of the town’s refined side. This festival has grown into a destination event that includes master winemakers and culinary celebs.

It’s a “stay and play” sort of event that invites guests to enjoy a long list of wine-centric activities throughout the festival. There’s everything from a hiking outing with mimosas to Wine on the Nine, a best ball tournament with a nice wine finish.

Colorado Mountain Wine Festival, September 14-17, 2017

ColoradoWineFest.com

The largest and oldest wine festival in the state, Colorado Mountain Wine Festival is the granddaddy of all Colorado wine festivals. This year the event turns 26.

Colorado Wine Festivals - Where to Drink Grapes this Summer Lisa Levy at CO Mountain Wine Fest

Photo courtesy of Dancing in My Head Photography.

Located in one of Colorado’s most fantastic agricultural areas, guests will enjoy a variety of farm-to-table food events at the festival, as well as guided tours of the region. “Festival in the Park” takes place on Saturday during the event and is the highlight with live music, grape stomping, chef demos and seminars.

Being the largest wine festival means that you should purchase your tickets early and plan your attack. Some local hotels fill up months in advance, especially ones in Palisade. Thankfully, Grand Junction is just 12 miles away.

This is only a small list of the many wine festivals that happen across Colorado every year. If you have one that you love, please tell me about it in the comment section.

Featured Festival: Hops & Harley 2017, Berthoud, Colorado

As many of you know, I’m a passionate dog-lover. I believe strongly in the dog/human bond and that’s why it’s inconceivable to me that some people abuse these wonderful animals. Puppy mills are a form of abuse. If you have any doubts, read the story of the little puppy mill rescue dog that inspired Hops & Harley.

Hops & Harley 2016 (4)

Five years ago, the first Hops & Harley occurred in the taproom of City Star Brewing in Berthoud. Today, the event is held at Fickel Park and has grown into a festival that attracts dog and beer lovers from around the country; after all, Harley, who passed away last year, is quite famous. His work as a spokesdog against puppy mills eventually resulted in him becoming the 2015 American Hero Dog.

Featured Festival Hops & Harley photo by Emily Sierra

Harley

City Star Brewing is the host of Hops & Harley and 100 percent of the proceeds from the event go to Harley’s Dream, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public about the commercial dog breeding industry (aka puppy mills).

Hops & Harley 2016 (3)

While puppy mill tales are sad, Hops & Harley is a celebration. This year’s event features live music from Bonnie & the Clydes and Woodbelly Bluegrass Band. Food trucks will be in attendance, along with activities for children and for dogs. In addition, attendees will enjoy a photo booth, doggy doppelgänger contest, Painting & Pints, and they’ll have a chance to learn about puppy mills.

Hops & Harley 2016 (2)

Of course, no Hops & Harley is complete without beer. City Star will be pouring a variety of their craft beers including Harley’s Wheat, and a personal favorite of mine, Spirit Hound Distillers from Lyons, will provide cocktails.

Hops & Harley is kid-friendly, dog-friendly and free, so pack up the entire family and head to Berthoud on Saturday, June 24.

Hops & Harley

June 24, 2017 | 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fickel Park, Berthoud, CO

Admission: FREE

Visit Hops & Harley’s online

Like Harley on Facebook

Like City Star Brewing on Facebook

#HopsandHarley

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Thank you!

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