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Whoop it up in fanciful

festivals all around the state

From the Wild West to the Far East, July festivals span a vast gamut of entertainment. Here you can find out what festivals to trek far and wide to, and which to enjoy close to home.

Greeley Stampede, Greeley

It’s not too late to catch the Greeley Stampede, which began June 28. If in the mood for a bang-up Fourth of July parade, catch the Stampede’s. Starting at 9 a.m., it is rated as one of the largest Independence Day parades in the nation. Jerrod Niemann with the LoCash Cowboys entertains on July 5, and Trace Adkins with Chase Rice appears on July 6.

July Art Festival, Breckenridge

Running July 5-7, this free festival, considered one of the top art shows in the nation, will offer a wide range of art mediums such as painting, metal, wood, glass, ceramics, sculpture, photography and jewelry. It runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the corner of South Main Street at Park Avenue.

Cattlemen’s Days, Gunnison

Called the “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos,” this event is more than just an annual get-together by local cowboys and cowgirls. It’s now a staged Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association event that attracts competitors from around the country. Besides hell-bent-for-leather rodeo, the event, July 6-14, includes 4-H activities and exhibits and live ranch animals to delight the kids.

Bluegrass in Paradise, Crested Butte

Crested Butte’s fourth annual bluegrass festival runs Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7. Saturday’s line-up is Milk Drive, The Gibson Brothers, Barnstar!, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Aiofe O’Donovan and Sam Bush. Sunday’s lineup is Bonnie and the Clydes, Head for the Hills, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Mountain Heart, Drew Emmitt and the Paradise All-Star Band. At-window weekend passes will be $110 and day tickets are $60.

Wildflower Festival, Crested Butte

Right on the heels of the bluegrass festival is this town’s Wildflower Festival, July 8 through July 14. Bring hiking boots and best cameras, as there are opportunities galore to meander through the gorgeous countryside around Crested Butte and capture the mountain scenery – complete with wildflowers. To improve your skills, catch a class on photo composition and other techniques. To kick back even more, sign up for a Pilates class, take a tour of Crested Butte gardens or go birding among the upper loop wildflowers.

Wine & Food Festival, Crested Butte

What better complement to wildflower than wine and food? This festival, July 11-14, tucks in along with the above-mentioned festival to provide even more sustenance for body and soul. Attend wine seminars, meet top chefs and take in a champagne brunch – or two.

Lavender Festival, Palisade

Colorado’s ONLY lavender festival is July 12-14 in Palisade, Colo. This year’s guided lavender farm tour is a great start to a lavender-filled weekend. The tour begins in Palisade. Experience lavender fields, learn about the latest lavender research, shop for lavender-related treats, and pick a fresh lavender bundle. Then it’s off to Paonia to enjoy a lavender-inspired picnic lunch along the river and see a lavender distillation. Finish the day with a wine and food reception featuring lavender.

Continue to enjoy the festival in historic Palisade Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Shop an intriguing array of high quality artisan lavender inspired product and enjoy live music, food and cooking demos. Taste lavender treats and St. Kathryn Cellar’s wines including its lavender wine.

Saturday night offers elegant dining under the stars at High Country Orchards, featuring succulent dishes spiked with lavender and paired with Colterris Wines. The event starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $100 each, and reservations are essential.

On Sunday, drive through the beautiful farm country of western Colorado and take a self-guided tour of lavender farms, orchards, wineries and retail shops. Stock up on fresh and local fruits and veggies at farm stands and meet the growers and producers. Pick up the map Saturday at the festival.

Beer Festival, Breckenridge

The attendance at this one-day festival (July 13) has grown every year with a sold-out crowd in 2009 and 2010. This beer-sampling event with live music draws a wide range of people from beer aficionados to families. Hosted by Main Street Station, which combines downtown Breckenridge with a beautiful lakeside view in celebration of brews and views.

Mesa County Fair, Grand Junction

Come enjoy the competitions, exhibits, carnival and music at the Mesa County Fair July 16-20. Daily fair admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and over and $2 for children ages 3 to 12. Children under three are admitted free.

Mid Summer Festival, Estes Park

This festival is in Bond Park July 19-21. Hear local music and bands, take advantage of food from various booths and beverages, local arts and crafts and lots of activities for the kids such as a dunk tank, games, and a jumping castle.

WineFest, Castle Rock

On July 20 head to The Grange in the Meadows at Historic Castle Rock. This winefest has been selected by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board as one of only five officially sanctioned Colorado Wine Festival sites.

Main Street Art Festival, Breckenridge

The works of more than 100 artists from around the country will be showcased July 26-28. This is one of three Mountain Art festivals in Breckenridge.

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, Denver

Taking place July 27 and 28, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is replete with activities promoting Asian culture, traditions and food. Its colorful races feature two different styles of dragon boats: the Taiwan, or “flag catching” boat, and the Hong Kong boat. The Taiwan boat race rules require that one of the crew to stretch out over the bow or dragon’s head and reach for the flag at the finish line. The first to capture the flag is the winner. The Hong Kong boat is faster and thinner, and it is all about speed to the finish line. Take it all in at Sloan’s Lake Park. It is recommended to park at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High and take a shuttle bus to the festival.

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