Harvest time: Arapahoe Basin, Keystone host Colorado food and music festivals
The temperature is starting cool and fall is right around the corner. That means it’s time to celebrate Colorado’s agricultural season and the farmers’ tasty yield. This weekend will have not one, but two harvest-themed festivals for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Arapahoe Basin Harvest Fest
Mountain Goat Plaza at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will become a tasty lunch destination Saturday. Held in tandem with the mountain’s summer concert series, from 1–4 p.m., folks can chow down on a Harvest Fest feast as they listen to live music.
Goat meat from El Regalo Ranch in Salida will be braised for tacos that are topped with diced onions, fresh cilantro and pico de gallo. Meanwhile, vegetarians can grab Olathe sweet corn cobs dipped in crema, rolled in Cotija cheese and sprinkled with chile lime seasoning. Make sure to save room for a dessert of grilled Palisade peaches, mascarpone ice cream, almonds and raspberry sauce.
Harvest Fest is free to attend and dishes range from $3–$10.
Keystone Mountain Town Music Festival
For the sixth year in a row the Keystone Neighbourhood Company is hosting the Mountain Town Music Festival in River Run Village on Saturday. The free event from 1:30–9 p.m. is a harvest celebration with four live bands and plenty of local food and drink to imbibe.
“This is different because it’s our only festival that goes into the dark with music under the stars,” said Maja Russer, director of events and marketing for the company. “So it’s unique as far as our festival lineup goes because the other ones end at 5 or 6. It’s kind of fun that this one goes to 9, so River Run is all lit up.”
The day kicks off with Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal at 1:30 p.m. Hoyer, who competed on “The Voice” in 2017, and his band will be bringing soul and funk. Then at 3:30, Jared and the Mill from Arizona will take the stage with their Western rock tunes. The penultimate band, The Brothers Comatose, will perform at 5:30. River Run is a familiar venue to the group, as they’ve played at the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival in the past.
“They drew a great crowd and put on an awesome show,” Russer said.
The company tries to grow the Mountain Town festival each year, Russer said, and this time around, they booked indie band The Strumbellas as the headliner. The Canada-based sextet has performed at festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in addition to making television appearances on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Their fourth studio album, “Rattlesnake,” released March 29, and the band will play a mix of new tunes and old favorites at 7:30.
While your ears enjoy the festivities, don’t forget to include your taste buds as chefs whip up creative concoctions that highlight Colorado’s peaches, melon and corn. A few options include Zuma Roadhouse serving up a pulled pork slider with peach chutney and goat cheese along with chicken meatballs with chipotle peach salsa. Frisco’s Shuck Brothers’ Oyster Bar will be rolling in to plate a unique spin on seafood. They’ll have both an East Coast oyster topped with a Rocky Ford melon mignonette on the half shell and a cornmeal-fried oyster paired with an Olathe corn salad.
Returning once again are the culinary students of Colorado Mountain College. Their ever-popular booth will be sautéing peaches to top on buttermilk waffles and bourbon ice cream. Like in previous years, proceeds from dishes sold go back to the college’s program. Connor Orchards out of Hotchkiss also will be back with their lavender, peaches and plums. Judges will be making rounds throughout the festival to give vendors an award for a best sweet and best savory dish.
To wash it all down are seasonal cocktails and beer from New Belgium and Jim Bean. Food and drink are purchased a la carte with tickets acquired on-site. Tickets cost $1 each, and dishes range from two to 10 tickets.
If guests wish to bring home a memento from the festival, there also will be eight vendors selling items such as Rocky Mountain Outback hats, jewelry from Filosophy, apparel from Be Hippy and other products.
Pets aren’t allowed, but the festival is family-friendly with plenty of activities for kids. Children can play in the Cave of Confusion maze, have their faces painted or paint their own harvest-themed sunflower pot.
“The kids take home something that actually grows,” Russer said. “It’s the craft that keeps on giving.”
For the second year in a row, the Elevation Outdoors Adventure Van will be present for a free raffle. Attendees will have the chance to win hundreds of dollars worth of prizes like camping chairs, tents, outdoor clothing and other gear. The raffle happens at 7:15 p.m., and people must be present to win.
“While Mountain Town Music Festival is not quite our last event, we try to finish off the summer season with a bang,” Russer said.
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