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The Eleven Best Food and Drink Events This Weekend

Courtesy of Jax Fish House
The main course at the Harvest Moon Salmon Bake.
Denver Food & Wine's Grand Tasting may be the swankiest event of the weekend, but if that's not your scene, there's no shortage of alternate good times to be had. Go casual at a (barn) dance party, an Oktoberfest celebration or a good old-fashioned barbecue — and that's just for starters. Here are eleven of the best events on the culinary calendar from September 8 through September 10.

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Great Divide is getting back to its roots this weekend.
Courtesy of Great Divide Barrel Bar Facebook
Friday, September 8
Kick off the weekend by kicking up your heels at Great Divide's Bluegrass & Beer Barn Party on Friday, September 8. The brewery's River North location, 1812 35th Street, will be hosting the hoedown from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The eternal question, "Were you raised in a barn?" will be asked, and hopefully answered in the affirmative, as the night involves square dancing, miniature horses and farm fashion. Tickets are $15 at greatdivide.com and include three beers, though you can always upgrade to unlimited beers for $30. Boy howdy.

September means Oktoberfest! Toast those madcap Germans and their inability to read a calendar by hitting a version of the famed drinking event this week, starting with Oktoberfest at Lowry Beer Garden, 7577 East Academy Boulevard, on Friday, September 8, and Saturday, September 9. The kickoff party runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, and Saturday's fun kicks off at 11 a.m. with $20 getting you all-you-can-drink Oktoberfest beers, music and activities for the kids (of which there will be many; we think LBG has actually instituted a policy that adults must be accompanied by at least one child in order to be admitted). See the beer garden's website for details and a list of participating breweries.

Saturday, September 9
Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1747 Wynkoop Street, is getting all breakfasty, at least for the next few Saturdays. The Union Station burger stop is launching a short breakfast menu to coincide with the Union Station Farmers' Market from Saturday, September 9, until October 28. From 8 to 10:30 a.m., enjoy breakfast sandwiches, boozy coffee and mimosas served from a booth at Hopdoddy's front entrance. Four bucks will land you an egg and grilled cheese sandwich on a toasted egg bun with bacon, chorizo or cherrywood-smoked ham. For a morning pick-me-up, sip a Corvus coffee spiked with Ricardo’s Coffee Liqueur for $6 or get your vitamin C with a $6 mimosa. Then head out to the Union Station plaza to face those farmers a little more fortified.

Coperta, 400 East 20th Avenue, is helping you get to know your farmers, too. Co-owners Aileen Reilly and Paul Reilly are launching a farmers' market lunch menu for a few lucky guests — twelve, to be exact. Sign up and you'll get to meet up with chef Paul at the Union Station Farmers' Market (1701 Wynkoop Street) for a tour and discussion of how he selects the best and most seasonal produce for the restaurant's menu. Then make tracks to Coperta at 2 p.m. for food and beverages in the company of local farmers who work with the restaurant. Each lunch will have a different featured vegetable, and for Saturday, September 9, it's tomatoes from Jim and Kristin Toohey of Toohey & Sons Organic in Hygiene, Colorado. The late lunch will offer three courses, each paired with a drink, for $65 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Call Coperta at 720-749-4666 for a reservation or visit eventbrite.com. If you miss out on this week's lunch, mark your calendar for the next one on October 14.

Lakewood’s Belmar development will become Little Italy for two days during Festival Italiano, the western suburb’s annual celebration of pasta, pizza, vino and Italian culture. On Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, September 10, food, drinks, a marketplace and live music will all be part of the fun — and don’t miss the bocce tournament or the demonstration by an Italian flag-throwing troupe (think Renaissance Fair meets rhythmic gymnastics). The festival is free, but there’s a wine-tasting event both days for $50; details and tickets can be found at belmarcolorado.com. Day one of the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., while day two ends at 5 p.m. Buon appetito!

Boulder County is big on celebrating diversity, as proven by La Fiesta: World Party, a celebration of many cultures put on as a fundraiser for Intercambio, an organization dedicated to building community and teaching English to recent immigrants. On Saturday, September 9, food trucks, bands and a world market with vendors selling art and artisan products will immerse guests in an international experience from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont. Eat, dance and shop while embracing the “Think globally, act locally” concept. Tickets are $25 for adults and just $5 for kiddos twelve and under; purchase yours and get details at intercambio.org.

The premier event of Denver Food & Wine is here: The Grand Tasting opens its doors on Saturday, September 9 at 1 p.m., and there are still tickets available for all you procrastinators out there. Food lovers will converge on the grounds of the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, for food from over forty local restaurants; spirits, wine and beer galore; and chef demos from James Beard award-winning pastry chef Gale Gand. It's not cheap to get in (general admission will run you $125, VIP $250), but it comes with free parking, and in this town, that's worth its weight in gold-leaf-covered truffles. Pick up your tickets at denverfoodandwine.com.

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Frisco's Main Street hosts Flavors of Frisco this weekend.
If you're looking for a food festival but Denver Food & Wine is too expensive/crowded/plain-old-bougie for you, hop on I-70 and visit Frisco for the town's Fall Fest and Flavors of Frisco. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, you'll get to stand in line, sip and sample, but it'll be mellower, Colorado-er, and way, way cheaper. Admission is free, but you'll need to buy food and drink tickets (a buck each) to indulge — and don't worry about buying too many, since participating restaurants will be honoring the tickets through Tuesday, September 12. Some of the tents lining Main Street include Backcountry Brewery, Prosit and the Lost Cajun, so there's something for everyone. Get details at townoffrisco.com. And the best part about this little celebration? Your furry family members are welcome, so load the labradoodle into the Subaru and don your fleece before taking off for the mountains. We told you it was quintessential Colorado.

It's possible that someone — somewhere — would like to go to a beer festival but not sample every single beer. We don't know that person, but if you're such a mythical unicorn, the Lafayette Brew Fest is your event. Perhaps the only beer fest in town with no entrance fee, samples are instead $2 for each four-ounce pour, or less if you buy tokens ahead of time. The shindig runs from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, outside Lafayette Florist and Greenhouses, 600 South Public Road. Wine and food (including Sammy's Fried Cheese and a vendor that really gets its demographic, Suburban Wiener) will be on sale while you enjoy suds from Eddyline Brewing, Stem Ciders and the Post Brewing Company, among others. Check it out at lafayettecolorado.com.

Barbecue is typically paper-plate food with simple sides and a pile of sliced white bread to mop up all the sauces. But chef Justin Brunson of Old Major and John Tesar of Element Kitchen & Cocktail are planning something a little more special than a backyard cookout — and it will benefit a good cause. Join the chefs at the Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, 3200 Larimer Street, on Saturday September 9, for the winery's fall harvest kickoff and fundraiser for the University of Colorado's Cancer Research Center. The two chefs will be cooking up some smoked California-style tri-tips, Texas-style hot links, barbecued pork belly, tomato salad, pole-bean salad and assorted pickles. IMT will chip in with a few new wines, including dry-hopped sauvignon blanc, 2016 Colorado malbec and 2016 Colorado cabernet franc. Music from Ejay the DJ will keep guests entertained on the IMT patio, and there will also be a silent auction to benefit the research center. The fun runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and tickets, at $40 per person, can be purchased on IMT's website.

Even the decor at Jax Glendale pays homage to the mighty salmon.
Danielle Lirette
Sunday, September 10
If you're a fisherman, you know the fishing season for Pacific Northwest salmon comes to an end this month. To celebrate, chefs from all four Colorado Jax Fish House locations are collaborating on the Harvest Moon Salmon Bake on Sunday, September 10. Dinner will be served from  5 to 9 p.m. outdoors at Fossil Creek Farms, 7100 Silver Mist Lane in Fort Collins, where the four-course menu will focus on salmon roasted over an open bonfire. Also on the menu: golden beet and buttermilk soup; acorn and kuri squash hash; and cake with corn custard and peaches. Tickets are $90 and include wine, cocktails and beer from Horse & Dragon Brewing Company; get yours at jaxfishhouse.com.

If you're the planning type, keep reading for more food and drink events in the future...