In-person Labor Day celebrations return to Summit County
Enjoy art, beer and rubber ducks this weekend
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that online purchases for the Great Rubber Duck Race can be made up to 30 minutes before the race.
Labor Day was a relatively quiet affair in 2020, but 2021 aims to be a return to form. Multiple festivals and events are back in Summit County to provide a long weekend of fun activities.
On the docket is Keystone’s Oktoberfest, the first Oktoberfest of the season. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, with a tent sale in River Run Village. The beer garden opens at 1 p.m. as does the family-friendly Kinderfest in the Buffalo Courtyard.
Kinderfest has polka dance lessons, pretzel necklaces and a festival photo booth. Additionally, The Frosted Flamingo mobile art studio will teach kids how to make and decorate koozies. Other Oktoberfest activities for all ages include live art painting by Ryan Halsne, stein hoisting, and music from the Summit Concert Band and Those Austrian Guys.
There will be three stein-hoisting contests at 5 p.m., with men and women holding 24 ounces of beer as kids hold 24 ounces of root beer. There is a cap of 10 contestants per category, and people can sign up the day of at will call.
New Belgium Brewing Co. will be providing the fall-centric brews alongside Coors. Participating food vendors Kickapoo Tavern, Zuma Roadhouse, Pizza On the Run, Mountain Top Cookie Shop, Saved By the Wine and The Good Stuff will whip up plates like schnitzel and apple streusel cake.
The event is free to attend, and purchases can be made a la carte, but attendees can also buy a commemorative stein for $35. The stein includes three beers and $5 refills after those pours. A food pass also costs $35 and allows guests to try each of the traditional German food items. Visit KeytoneFestivals.com to purchase in advance.
Another free-to-attend event is Dillon’s Fall Fest art festival. People can browse paintings, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, glass, photography and more from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, and Sunday, Sept. 5, and until 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6. The festival is at the intersection of Lake Dillon Drive and Dillon Place.
While some art festivals can be pricey, this one gives people the opportunity to win a $1,000 shopping spree specifically for the festival. Tickets are available from any artist, and the drawing happens at 1 p.m. Sunday. Be sure to take your time exploring the festival so you can listen to acoustic guitar duo Skanson & Hansen over the weekend, as well.
Can’t attend Fall Fest? Then visit the Summit County Events Facebook page for a livestream of the art show all weekend long.
If one art festival isn’t enough for aficionados, then visit Breckenridge for the 46th annual Gathering at the Great Divide Art Festival. The longest running art festival in Summit County continues its Labor Day tradition with top artists from around the country showcasing their creations 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. The festival has free admission and free parking in addition to live music and food, such as gyros, to purchase.
People can find original works of art spanning 13 mediums such as jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture and more throughout the weekend at Breckenridge’s Colorado Mountain College, 107 Denison Placer Road. Produced by locals Dick and Tina Cunningham of Mountain Art Festivals, the nationally ranked fine art show made it as high as No. 13 in the top 200 of fine art shows in the U.S. by Sunshine Artist Magazine in 2017 and has been in the top 100 multiple times.
Over 100 artists will be present to discuss their original works of art so patrons can learn more about the artists’ craft, techniques, inspiration and possibly even commission a piece.
Another longstanding Summit County tradition is the Great Rubber Duck Race, which has supported the community for over three decades with thousands of rubber ducks swimming in the Blue River for a good cause. After going virtual in 2020, the race returns live and in-person from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Blue River Plaza in downtown Breckenridge.
There will be hundreds of prizes such as ski passes, gift certificates for restaurants and spas, a $1,500 grand prize for the Great Rubber Duck Race and more. Along with the titular race sponsored by Breckenridge Grand Vacations, kids 12 and younger can participate in a children’s race sponsored by FirstBank for $10 a duck at 1 p.m., while Vail Health’s Business Battle Duck Race costs $100 a duck for teams and happens at 2 p.m. Purchases can be made up to 30 minutes before the race in person or online at SummitDuck.org.
Standard ducks for the 3 p.m. Great Rubber Duck Race cost $5 for one, $25 for six, $50 for 13 and $100 for 26. It is the largest annual fundraiser for The Summit Foundation, often raising more than $150,000 for the community foundation. Since it began distributing funds in 1986, the foundation has awarded more than $45 million in grants to nonprofits and scholarships to students.
Whether you’re racing rubber ducks, examining fine art or dancing to polka music, Labor Day weekend has something for everyone in Summit County.
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