Originally established by union leaders in the late 19th century as a day to celebrate the labor movement, Labor Day now unofficially marks the end of summer. Unsurprisingly, towns across the state have embraced the opportunity to celebrate the best that Colorado summers have to offer. Wherever you are in Colorado and whatever your favorite way to celebrate warm weather, there’s a Labor Day weekend event for you. Here are 5 of our favorite Rocky Mountain towns celebrating Labor Day in style.
Colorado Springs - Labor Day Lift Off
An annual Colorado Springs tradition, this free, weekend-long event is perfect for the whole family. The Labor Day Lift Off starts with a morning hot air balloon mass ascension - 70+ balloons all taking off at the same time - while those watching can enjoy breakfast and drinks from local vendors. The festival continues all weekend with “skydiving demonstrations, wakeboarding exhibitions, paddle boarding, live entertainment, chainsaw carving and donut eating competitions,” ending with a hot air balloon glow at dusk on the final day. (August 31 - September 2, 2019)
Pueblo - Colorado State Fair and Rodeo
The Colorado State Fair can trace its history back to even before Colorado became a state, with over 2000 people attending a horse exhibition in what is now Pueblo in 1869. Even now, horse shows are a centerpiece of the fair, keeping the history of that part of the state alive. Every year almost half a million people attend, as visitors, vendors, and performers. This almost two week event has something for the whole family: musical performances, a rodeo, monster truck rallies, a carnival, and competitions for local artists, brewers, and cooks. (August 23 - September 2, 2019)
Buena Vista - Seven Peaks Music Festival
For mountain lovers looking for a Labor Day adventure, you might want to head up to Buena Vista for the Seven Peaks Music Festival. With music, camping, and guided trips including a raft trip down the Arkansas river, side-by-side ATV tours, and an inflatable kayak tour, you can take advantage of everything Buena Vista has to offer. And if you need a break from the festival, head into town to check out The Jailhouse, one of the best craft beer bars in the state, or Deerhammer, an up-and-coming distillery making craft spirits and cocktails. (August 30 - September 1, 2019)
Fort Collins - FORTitude 10k
With a route that takes runners all around the city of Fort Collins - “passing landmarks like City Park and CSU campus as well as weaving through classic Fort Collins neighborhoods like Avery and Mountain Avenue” - the FORTitude 10k is perfect for experienced racers and casual runners alike. Qualify for a specific start time, or join later stages for a more laid-back run. After the race, spend the rest of the day in Fort Collins, enjoying extensive bike trails, hiking, fishing, golfing, or visiting one of the over 20 craft breweries that call the city home. (September 2, 2019)
Image via FORTitude 10K website
Denver - Taste of Colorado
In the capital city, you can attend another popular annual event: A Taste of Colorado. Taking place in Denver’s Civic Center Park just across the street from the capitol, this festival draws around 500,000 visitors over three days with food, drinks, and performances ranging from local Irish dance schools, to circus performers, to major bands playing on 3 main stages. In 2019, Taste of Colorado was ranked the #4 Food Festival in the US by USA Today, so make sure you come hungry. (August 31 - September 2, 2019)
Image via A Taste of Colorado website
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend, one filled with adventure, or if you want to eat and drink as much as possible to close out the summer, there’s a Rocky Mountain town with an event for you. So gear up, find a crew, make a plan, and celebrate the end of a great summer!