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10 Fall Festivals In Colorado

#Autumn brings with it a host of changes that affect everything from what we eat to how we spend our free time. It also brings #festivals of all kinds. Here are ten autumn festivals that should not be missed

1. 39th Aspen Film Fest

September 25-30

Photo: Aspen Film

Founded in 1979 by Ellen Kohner Hunt, #AspenFilm seeks to enlighten, enrich, educate, and entertain through film. Offering something for everyone, from the most dedicated cinephiles to casual movie lovers, Aspen Film is active year round with at least one major movie event every season (including a monthly indie showcase, the Aspen Shortfest and an screening of Academy hopefuls) which translates to 30,000 participants and more than 200 films shown every year.

This year’s program will offer screenings of dozens of films as well as special events and several Q&A sessions across the six days of the festival. Visit the website for a full schedule.

2. Mountain Harvest Festival

September 27-30

Photo: Azura Winery

Now in its 18th year, the annual #MountainHarvestFestival takes place in beautiful Paonia. The festival offers four days of music, art, food and drinks while also those in attendance to take part in activities like grape stomping and farm and #winery bike tours. With Paonia being on the stunning West Elk Loop #scenicbyway (click here to read about 7 byways in issue #1 of West of 105), the festival offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the stunning scenery of the region by taking a relaxing 6-8 hour drive on the byway.

Read more about wineries in Paonia in Issue #1 of West of 105 magazine on page 62

3. 14er Fest

September 28-30

Photo: Matthew Inden / Miles

With the highest concentration of 14ers in the country, it’s no surprise that the 14er Fest is held in Chaffee County - to be more precise, the picturesque and historic community of Buena Vista. Presented by local outdoor retailer the Trailhead and local off road trails advocacy group CORE (Colorado Off Road Enterprise), 14er Fest is a three-day event that celebrates off-roading, mountain biking, hiking, fly fishing, and trail running and has live music and local libations, too. There is also camping available.

4. Elk Fest

September 29 - 30

Photo: Matthew Inden / Miles

Autumn in Colorado brings with it a kaleidoscope of colors, amazing weather and the bugle of the bull elk. And arguably the best place to hear this amazing call of nature is Estes Park. Located on the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park, hordes of hopeful spectators head here to these majestic beats as they kick off mating season. On top of wildlife watching, Elk Fest also offers elk seminars, elk-inspired arts and crafts, Native American music, dancing and storytelling, a children’s area with elk-themed activities and a craft beer garden.

Read more about elk spotting in Issue #1 of West of 105 magazine on page 54

5. Oktoberfest

September 29

Photo: Dragondeer

The classic German beer and folk festival will have iterations occuring all across West of 105, and while each location will have its own spin, they will all have something in common - lots of lovely Colorado craft beer.

We’ve picked out the #Oktoberfest in Montrose as a good one to attend thanks to the almost three dozen #breweries from across the state that will be in attendance as well as an appearance by Denver band Dragondeer. Fresh off the festival circuit, we were lucky enough to catch their awesome performance at Telluride Blues and Brews. Montrose, you are in for a treat. And you will be doing your bit for charity as all of the proceeds go to local non-profit, All Points Transit.

6. Monte Vista Crane Festival

October 6

Photo: Monte Vista Crane Festival / Dave Jones

Sandhill cranes love Colorado and twice a year they flock, literally, to the southern part of the state. On both occasions, Monte Vista holds a festival in honor of these biannual visitors. The main Monte Vista Crane Festival is in March, but you can also see this fantastic spectacle in October as the birds head to the San Luis valley on their way south for the winter. Called the Kids Crane Festival, 2018 is the 13th installment and along with seeing the birds, kids and their parents can also enjoy a puppet show, watchable wildlife workshops, nest hunts and bird migration games among other things. The festival kicks off at noon with a free lunch!

7. Telluride Horror Show

October 12-14

Photo: Telluride Horror Show

This fun-filled festival of phantasmagoria, frivolity and fear promises three days of the latest horror, fantasy, and sci-fi films in the amazing and historic Sheridan Opera House, the Nugget Theatre, and the Palm Theatre in beautiful Telluride. This festival marks its ninth year of what Moviemaker magazine called one of the “20 Coolest Film Festivals,” - and they should know. Attracting the best and latest genre films from around the world, attendees can expect an eclectic mix of horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi and dark comedy, with many of the films showing for the first time in the US.

Read more about the Horror Film Fest in Issue #1 of West of 105 magazine on page 98

8. Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival

October 19–21

Photo: Breckenridge Distillery / Jessie Unruha

Embrace the shorter, chillier days of autumn by heading up to Breckenridge for this annual spirits festival where your cup will runneth over with some of the tastiest spirits in the state. Artisanal distillers will be on hand to teach attendees about the distilling process as well as to offer tastings of the fruits of their labors. The Still on the Hill grand tasting will offer spirits from 40 #distilleries. There will be plenty of other fun events including a scavenger hunt, a hangover brunch, cooking classes, walking tours and workshops.

Read more about the craft spirit scene in Colorado in Issue #1 of West of 105 magazine on page 66

9. 24th Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Festival

October 27

Photo: Phil Barnett

Perhaps the most bizarre festival in the state, Manitou Springs recreates the unfortunate post-mortem escapades of a local resident by holding the Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade. Following a parade at midday, as many as 70 teams (each composed of one Emma and four runners) race coffins down Manitou Avenue. In addition to the overall winners, there are prizes for Best Entourage, Best Coffin and a 2018 Miss Emma will be crowned.

10. Thanksjibbing

November 23

Photo: Aspen Snowmass / Tiffany Cook

Taking place the day after the opening day of Snowmass, Thanksjibbing is the quirky ski-town spin on Thanksgiving. This year the event has moved to Snowmass resort. Attracting some of the best freeskiers and snowboarders from around the state to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights on a unique course of urban-inspired terrain features, Thanksjibbing is the perfect way to start turkey day. Competition starts at 2 pm on Fanny Hill and event is free and open to all!

Read more about Thanksjibbing in Issue #1 of West of 105 magazine on page 100


Ready to read more about autumn in Colorado? Click here for our FREE inaugural issue of West of 105


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