Summer festivals: Seven outdoor events in Colorado to check out (or avoid)
|Kit Williams / Colorado Dragon Boat Festival|
When: July 30 and 31
Where: Sloan's Lake Park, Denver
For another unique summer fair, try the Dragon Boat Festival, built around a competitive paddle-boat event. While Denver is host to any number of cultural festivals, from the Scottish and Irish to the Italian and German, the draw here are the races and performances. I always miss the races, so be sure to check the schedule before you go. Apparently, the best time to arrive is later in the day when the competition is more intense. And don't miss the Opening Ceremony on Saturday morning with a team parade, welcome greetings, the Buddhist Eye-Dotting Ceremony and the dynamic Dragon Dance.
6. A Taste of Colorado
When: September 2 through September 5
Where: Civic Center Park
The Taste of Colorado occurs at the tail end of summer. The idea is great: Go to one festival, nibble on the best dishes from Colorado's eateries and watch chefs do their thing, while learning a thing or two about cooking. In reality, though, each "taste" seems to cost as much or more than a regular restaurant entree. Some of the stands do have smaller (aka cheaper) portions, but they are few and far between. You can also stop by the arts and crafts booths or check out the musical offerings -- they usually get some "interesting nostalgia acts" -- all free. As for the booths, by this point in the summer you've probably already seen these handkerchief hawkers and smelly lotion peddlers a bunch of times.
7. Colorado Renaissance Festival
Colorado Renaissance Festival
When: June and July weekends
Where: Larkspur, CO
Don't forget the Colorado Renaissance Festival! It makes for some deliciously cheesy fun. Either bring a wide-eyed child or be prepared to drown your cynicism in a goblet of ale. Local thespians play the parts of 16th-century jousters, jugglers, minstrels, and maidens. The jousting is pretty awesome, as are the turkey legs -- but don't try to eat the whole limb unless you have a stomach of steel. The Renaissance Fair also features glassblowers, pottery and jewelry makers, wood workers, blacksmiths, leather workers and more. The only festival featured here with admission fee, it costs $18.95 for adults and $8 for kids.
So whether you want to be high-brow or low-brow, gourmet or gourmand, there is a Denver festival that's just right for you.