Is the Taste of Colorado the Country's Best Food Festival?

Is the Taste of Colorado the Country's Best Food Festival?
Brandon Marshall
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Do you love the Taste of Colorado? Prove it. This is your last chance to vote for that annual Labor Day event, which was nominated last month as one of twenty contenders for USA Today’s "Best General Food Festival in the United States" award.

When the standings were last released, A Taste of Colorado was holding strong at third, with Taste of Vail coming in at an impressive seventh; that leaderboard has been taken down, though, so that voters will be coming in fresh, without knowing the current standings. Want to push Colorado to victory? You can still vote until 10 a.m. today, March 11, at 10best.com/awards/travel.

A Taste of Colorado has gone through many changes since the Festival of Mountain and Plain, which was introduced in Denver's Civic Center in 1895 and disappeared in 1912. The fest was resurrected in 1983 by the Downtown Denver Partnership, which added A Taste of Colorado the following year.

And lately, festival organizers have been pushing the event beyond the "general food festival" label, focusing less on turkey legs and more on a new VIP experience and more impressive musical acts. Last year, they made some massive changes "which proved to be a very successful strategy," says Sharon Alton, vice president of the Downtown Experience for the Partnership. "We are going to continue on that plan."

At this year's fest, set for August 31 through September 2 in Civic Center Park, "there are a few areas that we are planning to expand," she continues. "One is our Kidzone area to offer more variety to all-age ranges, and another is adding more of an assortment to our vegetarian and vegan offerings within the food festival."

But the food festival is just part of the action. "We are definitely a general festival," says Alton. "We’ll have over 200 marketplace vendors selling crafts and goods, amazing kids' activities, and our music variety and lineup is definitely one the best in Colorado, especially since it’s still free admission. We are at least a music/food festival!" In fact, A Taste of Colorado now bills itself as "Denver's Ultimate Music Weekend."

But that category isn't on the ballot. If you want to vote for Taste of Colorado, go to USA Today; if you'd like to share your thoughts/suggestions for the festival, post a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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