Celebrity Party: 12 of the best summer food festivals in Colorado you should already be excited about

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Celebrity Party: 12 of the best summer food festivals in Colorado you should already be excited about

Celebrity Party:

Chef Gregory Gourdet (of Departure Denver) made one of the favorite bites of the weekend, crab in a spicy southeast Asian-inspired broth. (Greg McBoat, Special to The Denver Post)

While some of you may be out there shredding every last snowflake this season, some of us (read:  transplants who never learned to ski and now fear weather, chairlifts and avalanches) are grunting our way through the winter waiting for summer to start.

If you’re among the latter group — or the former but also like to eat and drink — read on. We’ve gathered a dozen of the most promising summer food, beer and wine festivals.

Celebrity Party: Colorado Spirits Trail Festival – May 17

Started last year by the Colorado Distiller’s Guild, the Spirits Trail is a guide to around 50 craft distilleries across the state, from Fort Collins to Durango. And now the Spirits Trail Festival is bringing them all together in one place for maximum tasting and sipping without all the travel. Early-bird tickets are on sale now ($35-$55). Starting April 1, prices jump to $45 for general admission and $65 for VIP. twoparts.com/event/colorado-spirits-trail-festival/

MORE: The Colorado Spirits Trail maps out 52 distilleries across the state. Here’s how it works.

Celebrity Party: Truck Stop – May 18

Branding itself as a “traveling block party,” the Truck Stop rallies 30-40 food vendors once a month all summer long, stopping in various locations around Denver. Alongside the trucks are pop-up bars and live music performances. The events are always free to attend, and this first one of the season will take place on the main campus of the University of Denver. More dates and information will be available soon at truckstoprally.com

Celebrity Party: Chicken Fight – May 23

Anyone interested in gobbling up a bunch of fried chicken, barbecue chicken, hot chicken wings and “creative chicken” dishes should prepare themselves mentally and physically for Chicken Fight, held in the RiNo Industry building. Early-bird tickets are on sale now ($55-$75), and Rooster VIP tickets are $115 for “unlimited grand chicken and cocktail tastings.” facebook.com/events/388302828611025/

Celebrity Party: Avery Brewing Invitational – June 8

Celebrity Party:
Avery Brewing in Boulder has combined its two annual summer parties into one big festival, the Avery Brewing Invitational, held in June. (Provided by Avery)

One of Boulder’s best-known breweries has combined its former StrongAle and Sour Fests and its anniversary into one massive summer beer celebration. For the event, Avery’s staffers pick their favorite brews to crack open — from tallboys to cork-and-cage special occasion bottles. They’ll also be pouring more than 200 craft beers from around the country. That’s probably enough beer for a day, but there will also be food, multiple music stages and education seminars. Watch for tickets on sale April 16. averybrewing.com/events/avery-brewing-invitational

Celebrity Party: BBQ Fest – June 14-16

A fresh idea for Father’s Day: Drop dad off at the Denver BBQ Fest, which returns to town for its second year this June at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Pitmasters from Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Colorado will be smoking meats for three days straight for the occasion. Entrance is free, but VIP passes are on sale now ($85) and include access to the barbecue pits with all the meat you can eat, plus beer, wine and cocktails. denverbbqfest.com

Celebrity Party: Aspen Food & Wine – June 14-16

For a slightly more extravagant Father’s Day weekend, take a trip to Aspen for the annual Food & Wine Classic. It will only cost you $1,700 to treat dad (or anyone) to the exclusive weekend (lodging is extra).  The weekend-long event comes with over-the-top tastings, parties and opportunities for celebrity chef spottings. This year, look for Martha Stewart, Ruth Reichl, Jacques Pepin and Hugh Acheson, among others. classic.foodandwine.com

MORE: 6 things we took away from Aspen Food & Wine 2017.

Celebrity Party: The Big Eat – June 20

Celebrity Party:
Workers at American Grind serve ice cream cones during the 2018 Big Eat festival. The event will return this summer in June. (Caroline Grace, Provided by The Big Eat)

More than 70 independently owned Denver restaurants convene at the outdoor Galleria space in the Denver Performing Arts Complex in June for an evening of big eating. Vendors here are organized by district, so you can get to know your own Denver neighborhood bars and restaurants or try the fare from one located far away from your home. Tickets will go on sale in May. eatdenver.com/the-big-eat/

Celebrity Party: Top Taco – June 27

Could you put a price tag on one day of unlimited taco and margarita tasting? Top Taco has. For $75 ($95 or $135 for VIP options), attendees to the fifth annual event at Stanley Marketplace can try more than 50 restaurants’ tacos along with hundreds of tequilas and mezcals. Then, they vote on the top traditional, creative and vegetarian tacos, and the tastiest cocktails. Tickets are on sale starting March 15. toptacodenver.com

Celebrity Party: Slow Food Nations – July 19-21

Tastings, cooking demos, workshops and food talks will take over downtown Denver again when Slow Food comes to town for a weekend in July. The international organization brings in big-name chefs like Alice Waters and Massimo Bottura, while local chefs host special dinners and events. Tickets go on sale May 1. slowfoodnations.org

Celebrity Party: Burger Battle – Aug. 1

Celebrity Party:
Entries from the annual Burger Battle, where Denver restaurants compete for best burger. (Provided by Burger Battle)

If you’re starting to notice a theme among Denver’s food festivals (Best this! Top that! No. 1 everything!), then the purpose of the burger battle won’t come as a surprise. Some 20 burger-flippers from around the city have competed over the past nine years for the title of the best in the city. Past winners for the people’s and judges’ choices include Stoic & Genuine, Hearth & Dram and Stanley Beer Hall (the last for two years running). Tickets go on sale in May. denverburgerbattle.com

Celebrity Party: Cherry Creek North Food and Wine – Aug. 17

Nearly 20 restaurants from one of Denver’s finest dining meccas gather for this annual street festival in Cherry Creek North’s Fillmore Plaza. There’s a live band and dishes from restaurants like Mehak India’s Aroma, Narrative and Quality Italian. Each year, judges award prizes for best of show, best dessert and best table decor, while attendees vote on a people’s choice award. cherrycreeknorth.com/things-to-do/ccn-signature-events/cherry-creek-north-food-and-wine

Celebrity Party: Brunch Fest – Aug. 25

Civic Center park becomes a bruncher’s paradise in August with the third annual Denver Brunch Fest. Attendees at this end-of-summer festival will have all the mid-morning food groups — Benedicts, bacon, bottomless mimosas. Dozens of local restaurants are participating, and really excited brunchers can get on the email list now at denverbrunchclub.com.

Celebrity Party:
Doughnuts from Hotbox Roasters at the 2018 Denver BrunchFest, The festival returns in August. (Salty Spruce Studio, Denver BrunchFest)

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