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Food and music pairings for a Taste of Colorado

A tent city has been erected in Civic Center Park. We can smell the sweet, smoky scent of turkey legs wafting down Broadway, and we're eagerly anticipating sightings of kids on leashes and people who never learned that Spandex is a privilege, not a right.

Yes, a Taste of Colorado is upon us

, serving up four days of binge eating, arts-and-crafting and dancing to the sweet beats of dozens of bands.

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To help you get the most out of this annual festival, we've put together suggested music-and-food pairings -- so that you can stuff your face while you get your sway on.

Friday

Warm up at Westword's Heritage stage with the belly dancers at 5:45 p.m., and nosh on (or sip on) something from a lounge with a name that alludes to bellies: the Funky Buddha. Gracing the main stage at 7:30 p.m. is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the very same group in clever hats that brought back swing in the '90s. Did you know that this band got its start in L.A.'s iconic Brown Derby nightclub? Neither did we, but we suggest pairing that fact with another restaurant made iconic by L.A. -- or, more specifically, Hollywood: Bubba Gump Shrimp.

Saturday Dave Mason penned such lines as "Seems I've got to have a change of scene" for Traffic before going solo. We're not sure what scene he was referring to, but his set, which starts at 1 p.m. on the main stage, might be the perfect time to give the roasted corn and drumsticks a rest and check out the fine dining area. Saturday's other headliner, Gregg Rolie, was a co-founder of Journey, so a natural food match for this guy is 528˚, a mobile pizza vendor. Sunday

Probably the most anticipated performer of the whole weekend is Bret Michaels, former front man of Poison. The guy can, uh, rock a cowboy hat, so maybe you want to get in the spirit with something from the Saltwater Cowboy. On the other hand, maybe you should pay homage to glam bands of a bygone era with a snack from the Hard Rock Café, which may be the only place in the world you could still hear a Poison track over dinner. After that, watch the Groove Hawgs and Blues Café acts while comparing Caldonia's Roadside BBQ with Famous Dave's. Because nothing goes with blues like sweet, spicy pulled pork and brisket. Except maybe whisky.

Monday

"Baby, I need your lovin'," crooned the Four Tops, many years ago. No one loves you like Grandma does, so we'd pair the Motown hits with something from Grammy's Goodies. Then we'd head over to Hazel Miller, whose soulful renditions of hits from people like Stevie Wonder make us dance like maniacs. But that's hard on a full stomach, so we'd pair Hazel Miller with a drink. Or maybe an Island Oasis smoothie. Hot Lunch would round out our day, and we'd put that with, well, something that's a traditional part of a hot lunch, even if we're consuming it later in the day. Like a hot dog from Mustard's Last Stand.

Complete food and music details can be found here.

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