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Enjoy arts and crafts, wildlife viewing, and schnitzel and beer at several unique fall festivals


By Patte Smith

Autumn is a beautiful time of year with falling leaves, calm days and cool evenings. There are many activities that family and friends can enjoy before the snow flies. Fall festivals abound in cities and towns and Oktoberfest celebrations, steeped in the tradition of German music and revelry, mouthwatering food and hearty beer, can be found all over Colorado. And, with our state known for outstanding craft beer, there are several festivals featuring Colorado’s craft breweries.

CALF’s annual Harvest Day Festival is Saturday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. South of Castle Rock on the I-25 frontage road, there is plenty for everyone to see. The kids love to get up close to the farm animals, families can take hay rides, there is music, a bake sale, and concessions. Meet 4-H and FFA participants to learn about livestock and agriculture. For information, visit www.thecalf.org.

The very popular 29th Annual Colorado Artfest in Castle Rock runs from Saturday, September 8 through Sunday September 9 in the Outlets at Castle Rock east parking lot. This is a juried art show with artists from across the country. There will be music, exhibits for children and food and beverages. For more information, visit https://castlerock.org/castle-rock-artfest/.

Not an “ordinary” fall festival, this event sounds like fun. Take a jaunt to Barr Lake State Park for the Fall Birding Festival on Saturday, September 9 to view the fall bird migration. Visitors can explore the bird habitat, ride the “Eagle Express” through the wildlife refuge, and view live raptors up close. For more information, visit http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/pages/calendar.aspx?calid=6301.

Parker, Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch celebrate German heritage and traditions with their annual Oktoberfest parties for kids and adults. Throw on your lederhosen, grab your beer stein and head over to Parker’s Oktoberfest. It runs from Friday, September 14 through Sunday, September 16. For information, visit www.coloradoculture.org/oktoberfest/. The Castle Rock Oktoberfest features local breweries, live music, food vendors, family activities and a free fun zone for kids. It is Saturday, September 29 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Wilcox Square in the downtown area. Visit www.crgov.com/ for information.

Highlands Ranch will celebrate Oktoberfest with a 5K run/walk, live German and rock music, dancing, games, rides, magician and balloon artists and inflatables for kids. And, Dachshund races – imagine that. Dachshund races – gift baskets for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners! For more information, visit https://hrcaonline.org/.

The 2018 Denver Oktoberfest will be held in the ballpark neighborhood between 20th Street and 22nd Street on Larimer Street. This is a celebration in the heart of downtown with lively people and exuberant celebration.

While not officially an “Oktoberfest” the 10th annual Denver Beer Fest is from September 14 through September 22 with more than 100 beer-related events. The festival culminates with the Great American Beer Festival at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver from September 22 through September 24. Billed as the largest collection of U.S. beers, this is a public tasting event and private competition. For more information, visit www.denver.org/denver-beer-fest/ and www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com.

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