Things to Do

From Chile to Chocolate to DISH, the Twenty Tastiest Events of the Weekend

We all know that the main course this weekend will be Westword's DISH at Sculpture Park on Sunday, but every great dish can use an appetizer to whet the appetite. Keep reading for a taste of the what's on the culinary calendar.

Friday, September 18

will be kicking off today in Denver, running through the weekend and again next weekend. This is the original festival that got its start in Larimer Square in 1969; since then it's moved up to the 2100 block of Larimer. Get more details at

Steamboat Springs serves up its twist on the Oktoberfest tradition during Steamboat OktoberWest this weekend. Grab a few beer-tasting tokens—five for $5 or twelve and a collector's mug for $20— and explore downtown Steamboat during today's Suds & Grub, a pub crawl through historic downtown with stops at restaurants for beer-tastings and food specials. Tomorrow the main event will take place at Gondola Square, bringing with it outdoors activities, over thirty Colorado breweries, an I Love Beef Cook Off, more food, live music and more. Admission is free to OktoberWest; for more information, head over to  

Today and tomorrow Snowmass will be pouring fun by the glass during the Snowmass Wine Festival. The event gets under way at 6:30 p.m. with a four-course wine dinner paired with the wines of New Zealand. Tomorrow the Grand Tasting will highlight over 500 wines, food from eighteen local restaurants, live music and a silent auction. The wine dinner is $135 per person and grand tasting tickets are $85 in advance and $95 the day of the event. More information and tickets for both events can be found here

The Mighty Beer Run is an interactive race that challenges runners, walkers and crawlers alike to earn their beer. The beer-centric event combines the athleticism of a run with the fun of a bar crawl. There is a suggested route through the RiNo neighborhood or participants can wander through the sample stations as they choose. Check-in is at 5 p.m. at Ratio Beerworks. Stops include Stem Ciders, Zephyr Brewing Company, Mockery Brewing and Beryl's Beer Co. Post-party follows at 8 p.m. back at Ratio. Registration for the Mighty Run is $34; learn more and register here

The leaves are already changing colors and that can only mean one thing: Fall is coming. Boulder is hosting the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest today through Sunday, filling the Pearl Street Mall with arts and crafts, an adult beverage garden, live music, children's activities and more. Admission to the Fall Fest is free; for more information, visit  

Five food trucks will be parking at the Aurora Municipal Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today for the Aurora Food Truck Rodeo. For more information, click here.  

Saturday, September 19

The Copper Mountain Chubby Chili Pepper Fest will be smoking today from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests can sample a variety of concoctions that contain that special, Colorado-grown ingredient: the Chubby Chili Pepper. There will be a chili cook-off, live music and more. Admission to the festival is free, but tasting tickets are $1 per ticket. For more information, click here.

The Out on the Town Brunch Series gives diners a chance to dine out at some of Denver's best restaurants and help support the LGBT Center. Today, Opus Cherry Creek will donate 20 percent of its brunch revenue back to The Center — specifically the Transgender Programs and Rainbow Alley.  For more information, visit

The Kiwanis Club of Golden is hosting its Annual Wine Tasting Scholarship Fundraiser today from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Calvary Church, 1400 Arapahoe in Golden. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy wine, gourmet food, liquors from Golden Moon, live and silent auctions, and live music by the JazzCards. Money raised will be used for the Kiwanis Club of Golden Scholarship Funds, which will be given to students at Golden High School who are going to Colorado School of Mines. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased here.  

Ollin Farms will host the third annual Children First Farm-to-Table Dinner today from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets to the dinner are $75 and include refreshments, door prizes and live music; proceeds benefit Children First of the Rockies. Purchase your tickets here

Groundwork Denver is launching its greenhouse project, Groundwork Greens, today with a grand opening fundraiser. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the new greenhouse at Groundwork Greens will host cooking demos and tastings, including a cooking demo by chef Elise Wiggins, executive chef at Panzano, and special guest speaker Dr. James Rouse, author of Think Eat Move Thrive. General admission tickets are $20, VIP tickets are $200 and include a small group greenhouse tour, exclusive meeting with Rouse, and a special cooking demonstration with Elise Wiggins. Purchase your tickets at

Oktoberfest season is in full swing, and Locavore Beer Works is getting in the spirit, too. The brewery will be tapping a five-beer lineup that includes a Marzen, Schwarzbier, Dortmunder, Hefeweizen and Dunkleweizen. Rocky Mountain Catering will be serving a bratwurst, a knockwurst, potato salad, braised cabbage and apple strudel for $15. The Oktoberfest celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For all the details, check out the event's Facebook page.

The Denver Chili Fest will feature a dog costume contest, recipe contests, cooking demos, giveaways, live music, vendors, free quesadillas and more. Admission to the Chili Fest is free, but donations of food and money to Food Bank of the Rockies will be accepted. The event will be cooking from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at Lulu Farm. For more information, head over to

Some of the world's best BBQ competition teams will be at Coors Field today for the Colorado Rockies Invitational Championship BBQ Contest, where over $39,000 in prize money is on the line. Guests can sample all the BBQ in the competition and also watch the Rockies take on the Padres. Tickets range from $30 to $40 and include a game ticket, $15 in concession credit and a voucher to enter the BBQ cooking and tasting area. Find more information here.

Elitch Gardens is always a fun place — but when you thrown in a beer festival, it's almost too much. Elitch's will host the third annual Thrills & Pils' Brew Fest from noon to 5 p.m. today; you get admission to the park and unlimited beer sampling for $46.99 (it's just $15 for Elitch season pass holders). Find out more here.  

Amazing Moves and Storage is hosting a truck pull to acknowledge Hunger Action Month and raise hunger awareness. In addition to the food drive, there will be a raffle and silent auction, vendors, food trucks, and kids' activities. All proceeds raised will benefit the Food Bank of the Rockies. The event will be at Lincoln Tech, 11194 East 45th Avenue in Aurora, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, click here

Coda Coffee is celebrating the opening of the business's first retail location today. The first 25 guests to arrive at the store will get a Coda Coffee travel mug, plus a $75 Coda gift card. Doors open at 5:30 a.m., and Coda will donate 50 percent of the day's proceeds to Girls on the Run Rockies Chapter.

Today and tomorrow at Central Bistro you can dive into the ring during a special WWF-inspired "Choke Hold" weekend that features a special brunch menu that will knock you off your feet, paired with a few kick-ass cocktails, as well as happy hour all day. A percentage of Choke Hold weekend sales will be going to Central's bar manager, Ryan Holmes, who suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this summer. For reservations and more information, call Central Bistro at 303-477-4582.

Oktoberfest is great and all — but wouldn't it be much better with lots of chocolate? If you're looking for a chocolaty way to celebrate the season,Choctoberfest takes over the Omni Interlocken Resort from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and guests can indulge in over 35,000 samples of chocolate, a chocolate pudding-eating contest and chocolate apple bobbing, while taking in the world's largest chocolate-covered bust of Peyton Manning and listening to Grammy-nominated singer Nadya Hill. Admission to the event is $5 and tasting tickets are twelve for $10. For all the chocolaty details, click here.   

 Sunday, September 20 

Westword DISH brings the flavors of Denver to Sculpture Park today. The 21st annual food fest features samples from over forty of our favorite restaurants and plenty of libations to wash them down. New this year, Tacolandia will pay homage one of Denver's favorite foods, the street taco. General admission tickets are available for $50, VIP tickets, which include early event entry at 11 a.m. and open-bar privileges, are $85. DISH typically sells out prior to event day, so snag your tickets now at

For more Food & Drink events, go to our online calendar. If you know of an event that should be included in that calendar, send information to [email protected] And watch for our full weekend calendar Friday.
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Ben Landreth