Best Colorado Springs events of Summer 2016

Most people know Colorado Springs is home to Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods, three U.S. Olympic Training Centers, the U.S. Air Force Academy and numerous museums and cultural centers. However, not everyone knows the area is home to some fun and unique annual festivals and events. From donkey races to wine tasting to the arts, there’s plenty to do in Colorado Springs this summer.


Manitou Springs Wine Festival

When: June 4, 2016 Where: Memorial Park in Manitou Springs What: Wine enthusiasts, rejoice! Named as one of “The Best Festivals and Fairs in Colorado this Summer” by TravelMag, the annual Manitou Springs Wine Festival brings wine fans from near and far to enjoy wine from 30 Colorado wineries, along with food, vendors and live music.

Colorado Springs Summer Rodeo Series

When: June 15, 22 and 29; July 6 and 27; and August 3, 10 and 17, 2016 Where: Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs What: During the rodeo, attendees will see traditional rodeo events like mutton bustin’, calf scramble, steer riding and more. A petting zoo, rodeo games and beer garden will be available each rodeo day beginning at 4:30 p.m. Stick around after the rodeo for live country music.

Pikes Peak Airstrip Attack

When: June 18-19, 2016 Where: Colorado Springs Airport What: As the beginning of Pikes Peak Speedweek, the Pikes Peak Airstrip Attack is a two-day event featuring side-by-side racing on a half-mile track with high-speed cars from around the world.

Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival

When: June 24-25, 2016 Where: Centennial Park in Cañon City What: This two-day festival features everything — river board freestyle, fly casting, kayaking, rafting challenges, and inner tube and community raft races. Visitors can also enjoy live music, food and drinks, a kids’ zone, vendors and more. Started in 2001 as a “Build Your Own Boat Race,” the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival has continued to grow annually to develop the Whitewater Park in Cañon City.

85th Annual Donkey Derby Days

When: June 25-26, 2016 Where: Cripple Creek What: The annual Donkey Derby Days was started 85 years ago by Charley Lehew as a way to bring people to Cripple Creek in the summer. This two-day event features donkey races, live entertainment, a parade, family activities, street vendors, heritage competitions and a dog show.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

When: June 26, 2016 Where: Pikes Peak What: Beginning in 1916 by Spencer Penrose, the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb happens on the final Sunday of June as the end to Pikes Peak Speedweek. Sidecars, motorcycles, semi-trucks and unlimited racers compete in this event to race on a twisty road to summit of Pikes Peak. They scale the mountain along the 12.42-mile course; the current record is 8 minutes and 13.878 seconds. Although the race only happens on one day, fans can view practice and qualifying races from competitors the week of the race.


Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo

When: July 13-16, 2016 Where: Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs What: Started in 1937, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo has a long legacy as a great family-friendly event. The rodeo features mutton bustin’, pony rides, mechanical bulls, vendor booths, fried food and other activities.

El Paso County Fair

When: July 16-23, 2016 Where: El Paso County Fair and Events Complex in Calhan What: Originally started in 1905, the El Paso County Fair has grown into a 40-acre annual event that brings rodeo fans from all around. The eight-day rodeo features live music, carnival rides, 4H animal shows, arts and crafts, fair food, petting zoo, auto races, talent show, demolition derby and the rodeo.

Rocky Mountain State Games

When: July 22-24 and July 29-31 Where: Colorado Springs What: The Rocky Mountain State Games are a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and are a multi-sport festival for athletes of all ages and abilities. Sports at the games include air hockey, arm wrestling, swimming, table tennis, ultimate Frisbee and more.


Vino and Notes

When: August 6, 2016 Where: Woodland Station in Woodland Park What: This wine, food and jazz festival features more than 20 wineries, food pairings with the wine, vendors and a lineup of live jazz music that will set the tone for a great day.

Mountain Arts Festival

When: August 6-7, 2016 Where: Ute Pass Cultural Center in Woodland Park What: With Pikes Peak as the backdrop, this festival is the perfect place to browse jewelry, woodcarvings, paintings, pottery and more from artists across the country.

Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon

When: August 20-21, 2016 Where: Begins in front of Manitou Springs City Hall What: The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon are not your average half-marathon and marathon. With high elevations and altitudes, runners must complete a qualifying event before registering. In 1959, Arlene Pieper became the first female finisher of a marathon at this Pikes Peak race. There you have it: a whole season worth of festivals and events you can’t miss here in Colorado Springs.  Summer is a great time to explore the greater Colorado Springs area.