A Feast of Festivals

As COVID restrictions relax, outdoor public gatherings are making a comeback to the valley this summer; here a few signature ways to celebrate.

June 24, 2021 Published in the Summer/Fall 2021 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Bravo! Vail Music Festival


June 19–Sept 9
This new summertime iteration of the Winterwondergrass music festival combines a daylong guided float trip down the Upper Colorado River with a post-float bluegrass jam at Rancho Del Rio, every Saturday through September 9. (A sister event in Utah pairs bluegrass with four-day float trips down the Green River through Dinosaur National Monument.)

Bravo! Vail Music Festival

June 24–Aug 4
The valley’s quintessential summer music experience returns for a 34th season, staging performances by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, with chamber concerts and other events staged at venues around the valley.

Salute to the USA

July 3
The Town of Avon celebrates Independence Day with an evening of music (starting at 5 p.m.) on the lakeside stage at Nottingham Park as a prelude to the largest fireworks sky show in the Rocky Mountains, with a fusillade of 10,000 shells choreographed to patriotic music.

Vail Jazz

July 8–Sept 6
At press time, details were forthcoming, but Vail Jazz promised a summertime reprise, staging concerts at venues around Vail Village and Lionshead, culminating with the event’s blowout Labor Day Jazz Party jam session featuring John Clayton, Bill Cunliffe, Wycliffe Gordon, Lewis Nash, and Dick Oatts.

Gypsum Daze

July 15–17
The Town of Gypsum hosts this popular downvalley festival featuring all of the small-town essentials: pancake breakfast, classic car show, parade, 5K run/walk, jalapeño-eating contest, shooting sports, barbecue, and two nights of music—Jimmie Allen and Pat Green headline.

Eagle County Fair and Rodeo

July 21–25
The pandemic prevented last year’s fair and rodeo, but the action returns for a 78th season at the Eagle County Fairgrounds with 4-H exhibits, a Junior Livestock Auction, and the main event: a rodeo featuring mutton bustin’ tykes, rodeo clowns, and don’t-try-this-at home tiedown roping, steer wrestling, bronc and bull riding, and barrel racing by seasoned circuit professionals.

Vail Dance Festival

July 30–Aug 9
Under the direction of Damian Woetzel, the festival kicks off its 32nd season at the Ford Amphitheater with the American Ballet Company’s Calvin Royal III performing original works choreographed by Tiler Peck and Jamar Roberts, and New York City Ballet MOVES performing Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering. Other highlights include seven commissioned world premieres and a free performance (Dancing in the Park with BalletX, Aug 5, 5:30 p.m.) on the lakeside stage at Avon’s Nottingham Park.

Vail Oktoberfest

Sept 10–12, 17–19
Dust off your dirndls and look for your lederhosen—Vail Oktoberfest is returning with all of the keg bowling, stein lifting, brat eating, and oompah music you missed last year in Lionshead (Sept 10–12) and Vail Village (Sept 17–19).

Taste of Vail

Sept 16–18
One of Vail Village’s most popular food and wine events returns after taking the pandemic year off, reprising its most popular programs, including the American Lamb Cook-Off (Sept 16), Mountaintop Picnic (Sept 17), Grand Tasting (Sept 18), and a bevy of foodie-centric seminars (Sturia Caviar, Sept 17; Oregon’s Van Duzer Gap AVA, Sept 18) still evolving at press time.

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