WITH A COUNTY NAMED GRAND, IT’S GOTTA BE GREAT Grand County communities host an array of exciting, inviting events
Granby, Colo, Summer 2023—Grand County is one big, sprawling county that stretches along the western slope of the Continental Divide. In the midst of all those wide-open spaces are five distinct regions offering up their individual style of events and entertainment. Some events have been around for more than 110 years, others debuted more than 40 years ago, and more became part of the summer line-up in just the past few years. Most enjoy the luxury of being long-standing traditions, even as they attract new fans every year.
Fun seekers wanting to capture the flavor and essence of the region’s ranching history should head to the western end of Grand County from August 6 to Aug. 13 for the Middle Park Fair & Rodeo. They have been cheering on bronc riders, barrel racers, and prize livestock since 1912. The Exhibition Hall captures the flavors of yesteryear with displays and competitions that showcase essential skills and talents for western residents. Check out the finest in preserved foods, quilting, sewing, knitting, needlework, baking, agriculture products, and in more recent years, art, photography, and jewelry. Details at https://www.middleparkfairandrodeo.com.
The town of Grand Lake has been a magnet for decades because of its location just minutes from the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and the water recreation and dramatic scenery offered along the shores of Grand Lake—the highest natural lake in the U.S. But as more visitors discover the lesser-known side of RMNP, the area has created additional activities to celebrate its history and culture.
The spirit of the West is on display from Aug. 18-20 during Grand Lake’s annual Buffalo Days celebration. It is the 76th year of this local favorite that includes a parade, an authentic buffalo barbecue, a lakefront concert, fireworks, cornhole competition, pie bake-off, and more family-centric activities that have been bringing back three generations of families for more than seven decades. Details at https://gograndlake.com/event/76th-annual-buffalo-days/.
The efforts of the community to develop high-quality local theater back in the early 80s led to the creation of what is now the Rocky Mountain Reparatory Theater. Starting with enthusiastic local amateur thespians, the theater opened a new complex 12 years ago in the heart of the retro-flavored main street of Grand Lake. It is now regarded as one of the finest summer stock theaters in the West, with three different Broadway musicals offered on rotating nights throughout the summer beginning in June. Its continued success and popularity have led to the extension of a new fall season…this year featuring the nostalgic John Denver tribute “Almost Heaven.” Details at https://gograndlake.com/event/almost-heaven-songs-of-john-denver-6/.
The town’s newest event, The Troublesome Fest on Saturday, Sept. 9, is an all-day music festival along the shores of Grand Lake launched just three years ago in 2021. Featuring local and regional bands, this fundraising concert is sponsored by the fire prevention organization aptly named “Fire on the Mountain” and is part of the ongoing efforts of the community to recover from the horrific East Troublesome fire that tore through the area in October 2020 destroying thousands of acres in and around the town. Details on the line-up are at https://gograndlake.com/event/troublesome-fest-3/.
Winter Park and Fraser
Moving to the east end of Grand County, art exhibitions have become a growing presence. The Fraser Mural Fest from Aug. 4-6 showcases artists working on 8-foot-by 8-foot primed panels at selected locations adjacent to Highway 40 in Fraser—just two miles from Winter Park. During these three days, spectators can witness regional and national artists at work as they create original paintings in the open air of Fraser. The event is free, with live music and the chance to bid on the weekend’s art. The event is a fundraiser for Fraser Valley Arts. More information at https://frasermountainmuralfest.com/.
Art fans will also want to check out a truly unusual art exhibition from mid-June through mid-August when the paved Fraser River Trail stretching from downtown Winter Park to the ski resort is sprinkled with the paintings and photography of various regional artists. Pedestrians and cyclists walking and riding along the trail can stop approximately every 100-200 hundred yards to view small groupings of original artwork—all outdoors.
Although it has gone through several name changes in the past five decades, the Uncorked Champagne Festival has also developed a fiercely loyal following for aficionados of wine and bubbly. The open-air fest on Aug. 5 from 1-5 pm at the Rendezvous Event Center in downtown Winter Park features live music, wine and food vendors, and the option of a VIP lunch and wine seminar. Details at https://www.playwinterpark.com/winter-park-uncorked.
After a short hiatus, the Country at the Park concert returns on the evening of Aug. 19 at the Rendezvous Event Center in downtown Winter Park. This year’s line-up includes Grace Tyler, Michael Ray, and LOCASH to headline the evening. The show is the only concert of the Grand County season that happens under the stars, with gates opening at 4 pm and the music continuing until 9:30 pm. Ticket information at https://www.playwinterpark.com/countryatthepark.
Alpine summers are short, so making the most of every weekend is key. This summer’s schedule and abundant recreational offerings make it easy to have a “Grand” getaway or vacation.About Grand County
Located 67 miles west of Denver, Grand County is home to wide-open spaces, breathtaking mountain scenery and authentic old-west towns. Outdoor recreational activities include golf, boating, fishing, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting and horseback riding.
The area features more than 600 miles of mapped and marked trails, one national park, one national forest, two wilderness areas, two national scenic byways, two major ski resorts, five world-class dude ranches and four mountain golf courses. Grand County’s extensive water network includes Colorado’s largest natural lake, 1,000 miles of streams, 1,000 acres of high-mountain lakes and 11,000 acres of reservoirs. Download Grand County’s new mobile app at
Media Note: To request photography, interviews or more information, please contact Gaylene Ore, Ore Communications, at 970-531-2336 or [email protected].