Finally. Labor Day is here and so is the extended fun to be had in Colorado Springs and beyond. What follows is everything that should be on your holiday to do list.
Jazz in the Garden: The smooth sounds of the Jerry Teske Trio wrap up the summer's Friday night Jazz in the Garden concerts at 7 p.m. Friday. Bring lawn chairs or, blankets and a picnic supper to enjoy in the gardens of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 601 N. Tejon St. Beverages provided. It's all free and open to the public. Details: 328-1125, graceststephensepiscopal.org
FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
"25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee:" Colorado Springs Conservatory takes on this Tony-winning Broadway play, which the New York Times called "lovingly stitched" and "effortlessly endearing." "'Spelling Bee' is not extravagant in its aims, but it lives up to its goals in a way that the season's bigger, glitzier and more ambitious musicals mostly don't. Gold stars all around!" Catch the fun at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the conservatory, 415 Sahwatch St., $10; $5 for students. Details: 577-4556, csconservatory.org.
Jazzaspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival: It's billed as "The 72 Hottest Hours of Summer" and with these headliners how could it be anything but: Jason Mraz, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Keith Urban, Train, Little Big Town, Journey, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Paper Bird. There are single tickets and all-concert passes available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Start times vary by day. Tickets are $89-$195. Details: 1-866-527-8499, snowmasstourism.com.
FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND MONDAY
A Taste Of Colorado: This annual event is a holiday weekend culinary and musical extravaganza that's not to be missed. Prepare yourself for dishes like Parmesan zucchini cakes with tzatziki dip, Palisade peach enchiladas, brisket nachos, blue crab and shrimp enchiladas as well as chef demos and food trucks. It's all at Denver's Civic Center Park, 1600 Broadway. Performers include MC Hammer, Colton Dixon and Aaron Neville. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday. Believe it or not, it's free admission. You just buy tickets for the food you want to try. Details: 1-303-295-6330, atasteofcolorado.com
Fort Carson's End of Summer Roundup: The Fourth of July fireworks are here for Labor Day. It was too dry on the Fourth, so enjoy this season-ending, open-to-the-public celebration at Fort Carson's Iron Horse Park, 4350 Iron Horse Trail. The festivities also include live bands and children's activities from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Free. Details: 526-1867, mwrfortcarson.com
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Music Festival: Maybe the devil went down to Georgia, but Charlie Daniels is heading for Colorado. He's headlining this inaugural music festival at the campground east of Monument Lake, 19800 Mitchell Ave. The grounds open at 10 a.m. and there's action on the stage starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $30-$45. Details: 481-0475, ticketswest.com.
Salida Mountain Wine Festival: Thirteen Colorado wineries, local food vendors, artists, and musicians in Salida's
beautiful Riverside park! Tickets available at the door; includes a commemorative wine glass, unlimited wine samples. 1-6 p.m.
SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND MONDAY
Colorado Balloon Classic: I have years of fond memories shared of getting up at dawn on Labor Day weekend to see the hot-air balloons lift off with first our kids and now our granddaughters. But my absolute favorite part of the 37-year festival classic is the Balloon Glo, when after sunset Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., becomes a palette of colors as one at a time the balloons are inflated and light up the dark. You can even walk beside them, close enough to feel the hot whoosh from the burners. Incredible photo op. The Glo starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; the mass ascension Balloon Classic begins at 6 a.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Free. Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Details: 471-4833, balloonclassic.com. - Linda Navarro
Commonwheel Artists' Labor Day Arts & Crafts Festival: Because of this summer's crazy weather, the traditional holiday festival in Manitou Springs has been moved to Fields Park, 101 El Paso Blvd. You'll see work by local artists, photographers and craftsmen. There's music by locals as well. It runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. A free shuttle will take visitors from Manitou's Memorial Park on Manitou Avenue. Free. Details: 577-7700, commonwheel.com/festival.
Victor Celebrates the Arts: The town of Victor has (tongue in cheek) declared itself a wildfire-and-flood-free zone for this 14th Plein Air artist competition, show and sale of original paintings. For the past week artists have traveled to Victor and the Sangre de Cristo Range to capture the area's history and scenery. All their works will be on display and for sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Victor Elks Lodge, Diamond Avenue and Third Street. Details: 1-303-324-4030; victorcelebratesthearts.org.
Fiesta Day Parade: The Colorado State Fair in Pueblo continues through Monday and Sunday's top feature is the Fiesta Day Parade, now in its 47th year. The theme: "Sentiminento de la Cultura" or "Inspiration of Culture." It's music, culture and heritage starting at 10 a.m. Sunday on East Abriendo Avenue, traveling down Northern Avenue and ending on Sprague Avenue. Details: 404-2014, coloradostate fair.com.
Fountain Valley Fall Festival: Celebrate the holiday with a traditional community parade down Main Street starting at 10 a.m. Monday. Afterward, you'll find food, kids' entertainment, displays and craft booths until 4 p.m. in Metcalfe Park, 704 E. Ohio Ave. in Fountain. If you're up really early there's a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at Fountain Middle School, 515 N. Santa Fe Ave. It's $5 or $3 for kids under 11. At 11 a.m., there's a rootin' tootin' tractor pull. Music by Suga Bear & the Show Time Band all afternoon in the gazebo. Free. Details: fountainvalleychamber.com.