Driving into town, the white tents dotted the park in a perfect square. People milled about, families with children, tourists from afar, motorcyclists and cyclists alike. At the west end, a large stage loomed over the festivities. What’s a mountain town in summer without a festival?
Nedfest capped off the end of the summer season in Nederland this weekend. The most family friendly of all Nederland’s festivals, it offers three days of music, art and microbrew along the western shore of Barker Reservoir. The weather cooperated with highs around 70 degrees and a distinct fall-like nip in the air during the morning. What better setting to listen to some jazz, bluegrass, and other local music while gazing upon the Indian Peaks Wilderness?
Nederland’s not alone in offering a festival every few weeks to lure locals and tourists alike. Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are filled with festivals during the summer and fall months. Festivals that celebrate music are popular in Lyons and Telluride with the best of bluegrass music. Beer and wine are some favorites Breckenridge and Vail. And who doesn’t live a ripe Colorado peach or even better peach cobbler?
Estes Park, an hour to our north seems to have a festival every weekend from June to October, making it almost impossible to get from famed Rocky Mountain National Park to the other side of town. But one of their most popular festivals has nothing to do with either liquor or music, but instead wildlife. Tourists pack the town for ElkFest in the fall in hopes of hearing and seeing the majestic Rocky Mountain Elk doing their mating dance for all to see.
Strangely though, Nederland’s most famous festival doesn’t take place during summer at all. Whenever I tell anyone from Colorado that I live in Nederland, if they have heard of our small town, it’s usually followed by a grin and a comment, “Frozen Dead Guy Days!” FDGD, of course, is our end of winter festival in March that celebrates Grandpa Bredo’s cryogenically frozen state. If it weren’t for FDGD, I’m fairly certain most people who don’t live here would never of heard of Nederland at all.