From excellent live music offerings to an unabashedly macabre fall tradition, Crested Butte offers an array of special annual events that are worth planning your trip around. But if you’re not privy to the stellar festivals hosted throughout the year, you’re missing out.
Crested Butte is set in one of the most arresting alpine landscapes in North America, and the charm and beauty of the town draw people from around the world. A beautiful destination to spend a few days, if you’re looking for overnight accommodations consider staying at one of the top-rated hotels in town.
In chronological order, here are some of the area’s best annual events in Crested Butte:
Mountain Words Literary Festival
This three-day festival features readings, workshops, and panel discussions led by 25 notable authors. The Mountain Words Literary Festival is hosted in Crested Butte and nearby Gunnison and offers writers the chance to deepen their craft atop 9,000 feet in one of North America’s most rewarding outdoor landscapes. This event is typically hosted at the end of May each year.
Wed-Sun, late May | gvlf.org
Crested Butte Farmer’s Market
Usually held from the end of May through October, the Crested Butte Farmer’s Market is the perfect way to explore the town’s charming main streets. Set under majestic peaks, you’ll find delicious local produce, bread, meats, cheeses, and a variety of unique handcrafted items made by local makers.
Whether you stop by for a stroll and a snack or fresh ingredients for your next meal, the Crested Butte Farmers Market is a great way to spend a morning in the mountains.
late May – early October | cbfarmersmarket.org
Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
Every summer, the town of Crested Butte is immersed in a vivid ocean of colorful wildflowers. Since it’s been dubbed the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado,” it’s the ideal location for its wildflower festival. Founded in 1986, this unique festival celebrates the stunning display of wildflowers the local area is blessed with each summer.
Including varieties like columbine, Aspen sunflowers, Indian paintbrush, blue flax, cow parsnip, kings crown, and others, the unique festival offers 4×4 and van tours, hikes, art classes, wildlife viewing, botany and medicinal lectures, garden tours, and photography classes. If you live to experience and appreciate natural beauty, this festival is worth planning your next visit around.
mid July | crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.org
Crested Butte Food & Wine Festival
Featuring special chef-curated dinners, tastings of unique and highly rated wines, and a host of educational culinary seminars, the Crested Butte Food and Wine Festival is one of Crested Butte’s most anticipated and rewarding annual events.
This festival raises money for the Crested Butte Center for the Arts and is an excellent way to deepen your love for food and wine and support a terrific local organization at the same time.
Wed-Sun, mid July | cbwineandfood.org
Crested Butte Arts Festival
Featuring work from over 100 fine artists, the Crested Buttes Arts Festival is focused on celebrating and strengthening arts in Colorado. With ticket sale profits supporting arts outreach in the Gunnison Valley, this outdoor festival offers a unique selection of items from mediums such as ceramics, digital art, mixed media, glass, jewelry, woodwork, painting, sculpture, metalwork, and fiber.
Fri-Sun, early August | crestedbutteartsfestival.com
The Great Rubber Duckie Race
A terrific event for families with kids or just anyone with an affinity for things that are strange and whimsical, the Great Rubber Duckie Race sends hundreds of small and adorable rubber duckies down Coal Creek every summer.
A ticket to purchase your duck usually costs around $10, with profits benefiting local scholarships and non-profit organizations. Hosted by the Crested Butte/Mt Crested Butte Rotary Club, this is a race like no other, and it’s a surreal sight you won’t forget.
Sunday, early August | crestedbutterotary.org/duckie-race
Crested Butte Chili & Beer Festival
This beloved event brings an impressive showing of stellar beer and homemade chili to Crested Butte every September. Attendees are spoiled with unlimited tastings of unique beers and ciders from 25 international breweries and cider artisans.
More than 20 chili chefs compete in the “best of” categories for green, red, vegetarian, and international red, and attendees get a piece of the action with unlimited tastings of their masterpiece chili submissions. In addition to the excellent beer and chili, you’ll experience live music performances at this highly anticipated outdoor festival.
Saturday, mid September | cbchamber.com/chili-and-beer-festival
Crested Butte Film Fest
Named “One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine, the Crested Butte Film Festival is focused on fostering creativity, social action, and cultural awareness through the raw power of film.
Between the festival’s in-person and virtual offerings, up to 75 films made by pioneering creatives from around the globe are showcased in Crested Butte venues and online. Between the stunning local scenery and pioneering philosophy of the festival, this is an exciting and creatively engaging annual event that’s not to be missed.
Wed-Sun, late September | cbfilmfest.org
Crested Butte Music Festival
As one of Colorado’s most exciting concert series, the CB Music Fest brings a diverse offering of stellar live music experiences to Crested Butte every year from July through October. The greatest strength of this unique festival is just how different each act is from one another. One week you’ll see gypsy jazz, the next will be a famous string quartet or Mariachi outfit.
This is one of Crested Butte’s most popular events, and tickets often sell out, so make sure to get yours when they are released on March 1 if you plan on attending.
These are some of the best annual events the town of Crested Butte has to offer. This is an amazing place to visit any time of the year regardless of whether there’s a special event happening or not. But with so much here happening so often, it just takes a little extra planning to experience something especially unique and interesting here.