Hold On to That Turkey Leg: Taste of Colorado Rates Fourth in National Contest

Get a taste of Colorado at A Taste of Colorado.
Get a taste of Colorado at A Taste of Colorado.
Brandon Marshall
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Over the years, the annual Taste of Colorado has become an event that some Denverites love to hate, nicknaming it "Waste of Colorado" and mocking it as a haven for bad hair bands and big turkey legs. But after 35 years, A Taste of Colorado got a major reboot in 2018, booking bigger and better musical acts and adding a new VIP experience.

And fest-goers apparently appreciated the changes, because A Taste of Colorado was just voted the fourth-best "general food festival in the country" in a poll conducted by USA Today.

While the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival (which took first place), the Pacific Wine and Food Classic in Newport Beach, California, and Fire, Flour, & Fork in Richmond, Virginia, all grabbed more votes than fourth-place finisher A Taste of Colorado, this was the only state to place three food fests in the top ten.

The Taste of Vail — which runs from April 3 through 6 — placed seventh in the contest, and Aspen's Food & Wine Classic squeaked in at tenth (it's set for June 14 to 16 this year).

A Taste of Colorado can trace its origins to the Festival of Mountain and Plain, which first filled Denver's Civic Center Park back in 1895. That fest disappeared in 1923, only to be resurrected sixty years later by the Downtown Denver Partnership, which added A Taste of Colorado to the lineup, turning it into a final bash of summer every Labor Day weekend in Civic Center Park.

With the recent changes, A Taste of Colorado has become more than a "general food festival," according to its organizers. In fact, A Taste of Colorado now bills itself as "Denver's Ultimate Music Weekend," and plans to push music even more in 2019, as well as ramp up other offerings.

"We are definitely a general festival," says Sharon Alton, vice president of the Downtown Experience for the Partnership. "We’ll have over 200 marketplace vendors selling crafts and goods, amazing kids' activities, and our music variety and lineup is definitely one of the best in Colorado, especially since it’s still free admission. We are at least a music/food festival!"

But the Partnership will definitely take this win.

Were USA Today's voters right about A Taste of Colorado? See for yourself when the festival returns to Civic Center Park August 31 through September 2 this year; find out more at atasteofcolorado.com.

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