Spring means more than a change of seasons in Southwest Colorado. It brings about a slew of warm weather activities and unique mountain festivals. The 2017 season runs from Monday, March 20th through Monday, June 19th.
Southwest Colorado is an extraordinary region defined by the San Juan Mountains, which expand through a stunning array of landscapes. From Pagosa Springs to Durango to Telluride, we list our favorite annual events below.
1. Durango Bluegrass Meltdown
April 21-23 – Listen to bands from across the country at the 23rd annual Durango Bluegrass Meltdown. Venues include the historic Henry Strater Theater, Durango Arts Center, Wildhorse Saloon, and Discovery Museum. Children will enjoy the Bluegrass in the Schools program, kids’ workshops and the Old Time Barn Dance. For more information visit durangomeltdown.com
2. Durango Wine Experience
May 4-6 – The eleventh annual event features three enjoyable days of educational seminars, wine dinners and unique tastings, with hundreds of wineries, artisan spirits and craft beers. The Friday Walk-About Durango is the signature event – a casual, multi-location stroll throughout downtown Durango from 4pm to 7pm. It’s a great way to learn about our top local chefs, breweries, and distilleries. The Grand Tasting is held on Saturday. For more information visit durangowine.com.
3. Telluride Literary Arts Festival
May 18-21 – Third annual festival celebrates the joy of reading. Events include performance poetry, literary burlesque, book lovers bash, hike-to-readings, author talks, panel discussions and children’s activities. Readers, writers and poets will love the three-day LitFest. For more information visit telluridelitfest.weebly.com
4. Taste of Durango
May 21 – Savor great food, great drink and great fun on Main Avenue downtown on Sunday, May 21st. Sample Durango’s world-class cuisine from dozens of restaurants. Funk meets rock when Elder Grown hits the stage. For more information visit tasteofdurango.com
5. Telluride MountainFilm
May 24-29 – Since 1979, Telluride MountainFilm has been showcasing the indomitable spirit. Its mission is to inspire audiences to grow and support change for a livable world. In 2015, it made MovieMaker’s list of Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the world. Each year the festival hosts more than one hundred special guests, including filmmakers, speakers, film subjects, judges and artists. For more information visit mountainfilm.org
6. Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
May 26-28 – Celebrate the 46th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, a unique race, whose flagship race sends bikers trekking from Durango to Silverton. Competitions include the Road Race, Tour to Silverton, Downtown MTB Race, Sprite Kids Race, La Strada La Plata Gravel Ride, King and Queen of Mountain, and the Cyclery Cruiser Crit. For more information visit ironhorsebicycleclassic.com
7. Telluride Balloon Festival
June 2-4 – Now in its 34th year, the festival kicks off on Friday with a static display of the balloons. Saturday morning at sunrise there is a mass ascension, where all the balloons launch from Telluride Town Park. Also catch a workshop, Main Street Glo at sunset and another sunrise ascension on Sunday morning. For more information visit telluride.com/telluride-balloon-festival.
8. Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass
June 9-11 – 12th annual bluegrass and folk music festival featuring three days of live bands in lovely Pagosa Springs. Local food vendors and craft breweries provide refreshments throughout the event. Festival shopping includes numerous merchants selling various arts, crafts and handmade apparel. For more information visit folkwest.com.
9. Four Corners Pet Expo
June 17-18 – This must-attend fest for pet lovers features interactive events, demonstrations and vendors showcasing all the latest pet products. Local food and beer will be on site. The festival helps non-profit rescues from throughout the Four Corners region. Enter your dog in Dockdogs, an international canine aquatic competition, held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Compete in distance, height and speed. For more information visit fourcornersexpos.com/four-corners-pet-expo