Since 1984 Denver, Colorado has enjoyed a reputation for hosting an open air festival that is safe, fun, and perfect for families with music, food, stalls, competitions, and plenty for kids to do.The Festival of Mountain and Plain, otherwise known as “A Taste of Colorado” occurs every Labor Day weekend for four days, and at last count packs in over 500,000 people.
Founded in 1984, and modeled on a similar event that ran from the 1895 till 1902, the Denver based “Taste of Colorado” features over 50 food stalls and tent establishments, over 270 exhibitors in the marketplace including artists, craftspeople and local retailers, six sound stages for local performers and musicians, as well as additional workshops showcasing cultural and heritage aspects of the diverse groups that call Colorado home.
Originally the Festival of Mountain and Plain was billed as a carnival similar to the Mardi Gras event of New Orleans, and was intended to motivate local people and give good cheer during the silver panic of the 1890s, however by 1902 funding to host the event wasn’t sufficient and no further festivals were held, though when the 16th Street Mall in Denver opened in 1983, local retailers and business people saw a renewed festival as a great opportunity to bring people back into downtown Denver, and at the same time give back to the community that had supported Denver businesses.
In 1984, the festival moved back to its original event location from 1895 in the Civic Center Park, and the name “A Taste of Colorado” was added to fully integrate all of the state’s various communities. The festival remains free of charge, even the live music is free to enjoy, and several enclosures for buying refreshments and beverages are conveniently located to enjoy the festivities.
Some of the great attractions on display include Navajo traditional crafts such as weaving, spinning, felt products, making rugs, crochet lacework, quilting, and even the highly popular metalworking demonstrations. Kids always love the gold panning demonstrations, and plenty of information is available to take away to help preserve this part of Colorado’s heritage. For those with an interest in the environment and nature, be sure to look out for the birds of prey raptor swoops.
No festival of this size would be complete without live music, and the Festival of Mountain and Plain is no exception, with all six stages being great crowd pullers, and covering a range of genres including jazz, rock n roll, pop, country, and more. Some of the hottest performers from Colorado and nationally give energetic and exciting live performances, and all absolutely free of charge.
In 2011 local restaurants and chefs will once again have the chance to compete for awards for best of taste, decor, most unique menu, and best value. With so many styles popular in Colorado, almost everything you could wish for will be available to sample, so make sure you bring an empty tummy.