Now that it’s finally fall, and the weather is beginning to cooperate, we can start thinking about flannels, jeans and pumpkin spice lattes — and all the seasonal fun to be had. Read on for eight great ways to celebrate fall locally.
Peep Those Leaves
Predicting exactly when and where the leaves will be at peak color each year is a bit of a guessing game, but most current reporting suggests that those greens are changing sooner and faster this fall so there’s no time to hesitate. Check out this handy interactive fall foliage prediction map for an estimate. A drive up Old Stage Road in southwest Colorado Springs is a good local option (four-wheel drive suggested, though you can usually get pretty far without it). Or hunt for aspen gold in and around Cripple Creek, usually a sure bet for brilliant and abundant color. Head west out Highway 24 through Woodland Park to Divide, then south on Highway 67. If you time it right Thursday through Monday, you can also stop at Paradox Beer Company (paradoxbeercompany.com) to taste whatever fall special they’ve got on tap.
Get Your Garlic On
When? Oct. 5-7
Gardeners know fall is the best time to plant garlic, and Pikes Peak Urban Gardens’ annual Garlic Fest at the Carter Payne is the perfect place to purchase a variety of varietals. However, it’s not just for gardeners. This festival has grown into a three-day foodie and enthusiast event, featuring the Great Garlic Tapas and Beer/Wine Pairing, a market, an immersive educational workshop, a cook-off, a multicourse gala dinner, and a garlic gelato “ice-cream” social. Tickets available online now.
Celebrate a Historical Harvest
When? Oct. 6
Immerse yourself in all things fall during Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site’s annual Harvest Festival. Ride a wagon, pick a pumpkin, and enjoy a piece of homemade pie on this stunning property tucked up against Garden of the Gods. Also, plan some time to wander the historic sites and homes in the glow of autumn.
Extend Your Festival Season
When? Oct. 13, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Bring the whole family for the Gold Hill Mesa Fall Harvest Festival featuring a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, pony rides and the live Rocky Mountain Americana sounds of Thunder and Rain. Unique craft vendors and food trucks such as Witty Pork’s Woodfired Pizza. A portion of vendor proceeds will benefit Bear Creek Regional Park.
Costume Up With the Kids (and the Animals)
When? Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Oct. 19 – Oct. 28 and Oct. 31
It may be called Boo at the Zoo, but there’s nothing scary about Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s annual trick-or-treating event. Costume up the kids or the whole family, and head up the hill for an evening of Halloween-themed festivities and sweet treats you can feel good about indulging in — all candy distributed on-site is made from sustainable palm oil to help protect wild orangutans.
Find Waldo One Last Time
When? Oct. 20
Join thousands of costumed Waldos and Wendas for one final Waldo Waldo 5K through the streets of downtown Colorado Springs. In its seven years since the Waldo Canyon Fire, the real-life Where’s Waldo? has raised more than $200,000 for Waldo Canyon restoration work, as well as for trails and open space in and around Colorado Springs. But this will be its grand finale of the Waldo costume theme, so now’s the time if you’ve ever wanted to join the red-and-white-striped fun. All ages and abilities are welcome.
Rock Your Date Night
When? Oct. 26, 27, 31
Grab your favorite party partner, and get ready for the B-52s and Queen to hit town. Or rather, locals Monsters of Mock doing their version of these two fab bands. If you don’t catch them this fall on stage at the Zodiac Oct. 26 (zodiacvenue.com), Tony’s on the 27th (tonysdowntownbar.com), or Jack Quinn’s on the 31st, (jackquinnspub.com), you’ll have to wait until they roll out the costumes and tunes again next fall. Who knows who they’ll be by then? And for the true fans, you’ve got an opportunity to schedule the perfect follow-up date: the new Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, hits theaters Nov. 2.
Race a Coffin, or Watch Them Roll By
When? Oct. 27
One of the most unusual events across the country, Manitou Springs’ Emma Crawford Coffin Races honors the woman whose own coffin slid out of her gravesite near the top of Red Mountain and came racing down into town during a bad storm in 1929. Now in its 24th year, the event not only includes the costumed competition on Manitou Avenue, but wakes for Emma at Miramont Castle on Oct. 26, a pre-race parade, and an after-party with live music.