11 Fall Festivals in Colorado

While it may technically be a shoulder season, in Colorado, we believe that fall is something worth celebrating.

By: Colorado.com Staff Writer
Updated: March 21, 2024

There’s a special feeling about gathering in Colorado’s charming mountain towns as the leaves change color, the air becomes crisper and the end of the year draws near. Plan a weekend getaway around these Colorado events to share in the excitement with our local communities. From classic Oktoberfests and pumpkin patches to niche film festivals and bugling contests, each of these events provides their own unique approach to welcome the season in grand style.

1. Downtown Boulder's Fall Fest

Boulder's autumn fest lines up music performances, a beer/wine/margarita garden, local food vendors, artisans selling their wares and family entertainment along the city's bustling Pearl Street Mall in September. Located just blocks from the foothills, Downtown Boulder's Fall Fest allows you to ring in the fall season with striking mountain views.

2. Chile & Frijoles Festival

The Chile & Frijoles Festival is your best chance to taste the pride of Pueblo in late September — a special, intensely flavorful variety of green chile that thrives in this region. Served smoking on a stick, chopped and tucked into a quesadilla or sprinkled in salsa, it’s the star of this show. Cooking competitions, live music, dancing, arts and crafts, a jalapeño-eating contest and a farmers’ market round out the festivities.

3. La Junta Tarantula Fest

September brings much more than cooler temperatures to La Junta. During prime tarantula-mating season, you can appreciate the beloved eight-legged critters of southeastern Colorado at the La Junta Tarantula Fest; enjoy face painting, food trucks, homemade gifts and an arachnid-themed parade. Plus, peer down at tarantulas on a tour or feel a friendly crawler's gentle, fuzzy legs as you hold one in your hands.

4. Poudre Pou

The annual Poudre Pour in Windsor combines stewardship and environmental education with a heaping side of fun each October. Along with presentations about the heritage of the Cache la Poudre River and the importance of the water it provides, expect delicious craft-beer and beverage tastings, gourmet appetizers, historical costumes, live music and plenty of entertainment for the kiddos.

5. Oktoberfest Denver

Oktoberfests around the world are largely about beer, but Oktoberfest Denver turns out fun for the whole family with food booths, polka dancing, singalongs and live music along with wacky contests like beer-keg bowling and competitive stein hoisting in downtown Denver each September.

6. Miners Pumpkin Patch

Head to Colorado Springs in October for a bevy of autumnal entertainment at Miners Pumpkin Patch, from hayrides and gold panning to press-your-own cider opportunities and blacksmith demonstrations — all while supporting the Western Museum of Mining & Industry. Expect delights like pumpkin picking, face painting and food-truck dining.

7. Mountain Harvest Festival

Colorado’s Western Slope town of Paonia covers all the festival bases at their September Mountain Harvest Festival with live concerts, farmers’ markets, beer and wine tasting, a chili cook-off, arts and crafts, and farm tours. The bounty from locally owned orchards, ranches and farms brings in revelers from all over surrounding Delta County.

8. Elk Fest

The beautifully haunting bugle of a bull elk is unmistakable, and every October spectators head to Estes Park to experience the phenomenon at Elk Fest. The elk gather there in September, at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, to show off for their ladies during the start of the rutting (breeding) season. At Elk Fest, you can learn about these beasts’ behavior, observe them in their natural habitat, participate in a bugling contest and see performances by Native Americans.

9. Applefest

Driving into the small town of Cedaredge on Colorado’s Grand Mesa in October, you’ll pass row after heavenly row of trees bursting with shiny red and green apples beckoning you to sink your teeth in. At Applefest, more than 180 vendors share the area’s agricultural wealth with visitors, who can also check out a classic-car and antique-tractor show, bands and much more.

10. Telluride Horror Show: Oct. TBA, 2024

Already famous for film, Telluride is also embracing the spooky fun of October at Colorado’s first and largest horror-film festival, the Telluride Horror Show. Mingle with fellow film buffs as you view screenings of works from around the globe including horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi and dark comedy from Telluride’s unique theaters.

11. Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival

October's the time when spicy spirits become the perfect answer to chillier temps. At the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival, sip the best offerings from small-batch, artisan distillers and learn more about the distilling process in Breckenridge, a town with its own pioneering distillery. 

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