Aspen Colorado is a great place to enjoy in the winter, however the savviest of travelers knows it’s the summer when Aspen really shines. Here are some of the events taking place this summer:
FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen: Every third weekend of June when the white Grand Tasting tents in Wagner Park are raised for four days of decadent tastings, seminars and parties at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. One of the first festivals of its kind, over 30 years the Classic has grown from a small tasting event to “the granddaddy” of all food and wine festivals. The intimate nature of the Classic – which hosts the best wine and food producers from around the world, but limits ticket to only 5,000 – means guests can get up close-and-personal with their favorite celebrity chefs, winemakers and influencers. Remember that attending the FOOD & WINE Classic is a marathon not a sprint. You’re at altitude! Drink lots of water, pace yourself throughout the day, and don’t be afraid to use the spittoons! Wondering what to wear? Sundresses, shorts and button-down shirts are the choice of most attendees, paired with low-heel shoes that won’t sink into the grass and can get you from venue to venue in a flash. Weather in the mountains is unpredictable and afternoon showers are common, so be prepared with a sweater or a wrap and rain gear, especially for evening events.
FOURTH OF JULY: Aspen’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July means a grand parade with decorated floats, Aspen’s fleet of fire trucks spraying water and throwing candy – even a steam calliope, playing music along the route. At 8 a.m. the annual Boogie’s Buddy Race, a five-mile road race that begins in Rio Grande Park, speeds down the Rio Grande Trail, uphill along Cemetery Lane, through the West End and finally to the finish line back at the park. At 11 a.m. the parade begins! Traveling east along Main Street and winding through town, the parade lasts for little more than an hour. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the parade by decorating their bikes, unicycles or scooters in Paepcke Park before the parade and riding along. Aspen Music Festival & School offers a Free Fourth of July Concert at the Benedict Music Tent at 4 p.m. The night ends with ACRA’s Dancing in the Streets (at the corner of Mill Street and the Cooper Avenue Mall) beginning at 6 p.m. The celebration ends with fireworks over Aspen mountain at 9:15 p.m. To attend the days’ festivities, be sure to take a RFTA bus in and out of town. If you’re coming from downvalley or Snowmass Village, park at the Intercept Lot and catch any bus into town. It’s free!
ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL: Since 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School has welcomed students from around the world to live, learn and perform at the Castle Creek Campus and at the venues throughout Aspen, including Harris Concert Hall, the historic Wheeler Opera House and iconic Benedict Music Tent. During the internationally acclaimed festival’s eight weeks, guests can buy a season’s pass, or individual tickets to the performances of their choice. If you prefer the beauty of a lawn seat, one can option to sit on the free David Karetsky Lawn outside of Benedict Music Tent. Bring your lawn chairs, pack a picnic, a bottle of wine and enjoy the music easily heard from the tent. Lawn seating is also a great option for families with young children and leashed pets, where there is ample room in the back for running and playing throughout the show. Don’t have time for a full orchestral production? The AMFS Master Class Series allows guests to purchase discounted tickets to watch Aspen Opera Center’s director lead performers in rehearsal.
JAS ASPEN SNOWMASS: JAS hosts two music festivals each year – one in late June, located in Aspen’s Benedict Tent and Harris Concert Hall, and the other over Labor Day Weekend at an outdoor venue in the Snowmass Village Town Park. The June festival brings some of the world’s finest jazz legends to the stage, where tickets allow assigned seating, as well as a lawn party outside the Benedict Music Tent. Labor Day festival is more of a party – with people bringing beach chairs and blankets, kids and hula-hoops. Labor Day festival is held in Snowmass Village, and there is no public parking available, plan on taking one of the many FREE busses to this event. Beverages are available for purchase. Stroll the vendor village with JAS merch, smaller stage performances and food to nosh on from around the world. Lineups for both festivals are announced far in advance and tickets can be purchased online. Keep an eye out for Blind Faith tickets, which offer discounted pricing prior to the artists being announced.
ASPEN SATURDAY MARKET: It’s almost hard to remember a time when Aspen wasn’t home to its own farmers’ market each and every Saturday, it’s become that much of a community staple. From June 16-Oct. 6 , Colorado vendors from the Roaring Fork Valley, the North Fork Valley and Palisade/Grand Junction area drive to Aspen before dawn to set up stalls in the downtown core, taking over portions of Galena, Hunter and Hopkins avenues. The market, showcase for talented local makers creating treasures from glasswear to leather wear to hats, clothing, jewelry, wood products, paintings and more, as well as traditional farmer’s market offerings of fruits, vegetables, flowers, local meats, baked goods, locally distilled spirits, and more runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a great place to grab a cup of coffee, a freshly baked croissant and chat with friends, new and old. Leashed dogs are welcome, but be aware that as the day progresses the pavement can become very hot for a dog’s feet. (Speaking of dogs, be sure to meet the new puppies from the Aspen Animal Shelter while you’re there!) Please note that the market eliminates 3 blocks of parking in the downtown core, so plan your transportation accordingly.