Come late spring, Vail, Colorado, is the sort of place they make granola bar commercials. You know the kind: crisp air, craggy mountains, meandering streams and lush forests that give way to hidden meadows. And admittedly, Vail’s setting, both in winter for the skiing and in warmer weather for the abundance of outdoor activities on offer, might be what first draws the crowds. But there’s more reason to consult the local events calendar than just to check the start dates for ski season. That’s because Vail, Colorado, a town with a permanent population of less than 5,000, manages to host annual festivals worthy of a much larger city from spring to early fall. So whether you’re a connoisseur of fine food and wine or beer-drinking competitions and fireworks here’s a little something to get you started.
Just as ski season starts to wind down in April, the calendar strikes back with the likes of the Vail Film Festival, the Taste of Vail (think local wines and dishy cuisine) and Spring Back to Vail, an extended party that heralds in the end of said ski season.
Fast forward to the end of June and you can catch the start of the highly acclaimed Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, a feast of classical music, or a live jazz jam session at the Vail Farmer’s Market, part of the Vail Jazz Festival. While of a mind to consider culture, also pencil in the weekend-long Vail Arts Festival, which keeps things lively in Lionshead Village also near the end of June. And though you might see stars on most summer nights, the big show takes place on July 4 as part of the the town’s enthusiastic Independence Day celebration, Vail America Days, fireworks included.
From here, it’s a sunny, scenic ramble on to late summer. Look for the Vail Soul Music Festival to woo you in August, and the Vail Oktoberfest to make you woozy for two weekends in September. And then it’s a mere matter of weeks until the start of next years ski season, again already. Doesn’t time just fly when you’re having festivals?