It comes as no surprise that a small town like Durango, known to be popular with tourists, keeps things lively year-round. Here are some of the can’t-miss annual events in the amazing community of Durango in beautiful southwestern Colorado.
Snowdown 2024: January 26 – February 4, 2024
What started in 1979 with $2,000 and the hope for a cure to post-holiday malaise, Snowdown has grown (snowballed?) into an eight-day carnival of the weird and wonderful.
This year’s theme is Peace, Love, and Snowdown, and events include everything from kid-friendly arts and crafts and a preschool dance party at the Durango Public Library to less-kid-friendly events like Build-a-Bong and Outhouse Stuffing. Other events include scavenger hunts, cornhole, Name that Tune, pinball, foosball, chili cookoffs, a canine fashion show, a Bloody Mary contest, and more.
The highlight of the week is the Parade of Lights down Main Street — the only night parade held in Durango — and the Snowdown Balloon Rally and Mass Ascension, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole list of events.
Durango Independent Film Festival: February 28 – March 3, 2024
The Durango Independent Film Festival, now in its 19th year, is a platform for independent filmmakers. The festival showcases a diverse collection of films with particular attention paid to Native Cinema, adventure, documentaries, LGBTQ stories, and more.
The festival runs from February 28 to March 3, with showings at the Durango Arts Center and Gaslight Theater, both located in downtown Durango. In addition to the films, there are also panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and, of course, parties!
Durango Celtic Festival: March 29 – 31, 2024
This three-day event celebrates Celtic music, both traditional and modern, and a blend of both. In addition to the music, there are also workshops and ceilidhs, which are traditional social gatherings that include singing, dancing, and storytelling.
Durango Bluegrass Meltdown: April 19 – 21, 2024
If Celtic harmonies aren’t your cup of mead, how about the music of Appalachia? Bluegrass musicians from around the country descend upon Durango from April 19 to the 21, and they’re bringing the dobros and banjos!
Durango Bluegrass Meltdown kicks off with a free event featuring about two hours of live music from the Colorado College Bluegrass Ensemble. It continues through the weekend with award-winning musicians, barn dances, late-night shows, and open jam sessions throughout the city.
Durango Wine Experience: April 26 and 27, 2024
This two-day event turns southwest Colorado into a wine-drinking paradise. This celebration of food and wine kicks off with the Walkabout on Friday afternoon, where ticket holders stroll through downtown Durango sampling different wines and appetizers.
Saturday is the Grand Tasting at the Smiley Building, with hundreds of Colorado wines, spirits, and cuisines available for sampling.
Rise and Vibes Music Festival at Tico Time River Resort: May 10 – 12, 2024
Ever been to a music festival with a water slide?
Just down the road from Durango is Tico Time River Resort, an 82-acre Costa Rica-themed venue near Aztec, New Mexico, which hosts two music festivals back to back.
First up is Rise and Vibes, a reggae festival featuring both roots reggae and traditional reggae bands, and is right on the Animas River. That means you can sit on the beach or in the water, listening to live reggae music, taking in the magnificent views and vibes as more than 25 artists perform on the main stage.
Tico Time Bluegrass Festival: May 17 – 19, 2024
The following week, Tico Time River Resort hosts their eponymous three-day Bluegrass Festival, with over 25 amazing artists scheduled. Both events feature walk-in camping sites, car camping, RV hookups, glamping (with real beds), onsite food vendors, a general store, yoga, and other activities.
You may just want to stay all week with friends and practice your beach volleyball skills for the summer events season.
Animas River Days: June 1 and 2, 2024
Celebrating the unofficial start of summer, Animas River Days is an exciting outdoor competitive event featuring water sports like kayaking, surf competitions, standup paddleboard races, and raft sprints. Less seriously competitive is the costumed river parade and floatie rodeo.
True Western Roundup: TBA
If the floatie rodeo at Animas River Days wasn’t quite enough to satisfy your inner ranch hand, the True Western Roundup should fill the bill.
Founded in 2014, this annual event (formerly known as the True West Rodeo) held at La Plata County Fairgrounds is a celebration of the American cowboy and cowgirl culture. Events include steer wrestling, barrel racing, steer and bull riding, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, and much more.
Music in the Mountains: July 11 – August 4, 2024
One of the longest-running classical music festivals in Colorado, Music in the Mountains features not only classical music but also pops orchestra concerts, chamber concerts, a family-friendly concert and picnic, world music concerts, and a signature benefit event and gala.
The festival begins with three days of free concerts on the purpose-built mobile concert hall, designed as part of their Road Show program to bring music to the people. In total, 40 events are planned for the four-week period, featuring 60 musicians from around the world.
Rocky Mountain Ukulele Festival: August 2 – 4, 2024
The Rocky Mountain Ukulele Festival is a weekend celebration of the popular four-stringed instrument from Hawaii. The festival, which began in 2015, includes classes, jams, concerts, open mics, and a ukulele marketplace.
La Plata County Fair: August 7 – 11, 2024
La Plata County Fair, held at La Plata County Fairgrounds, features a variety of attractions, including open-class exhibits, a talent contest, livestock shows and sales, and a variety of entertainment options, such as live music.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy carnival rides, a demolition derby, various vendors, and a selection of great food. The fair is a showcase of the region’s agricultural and artistic talents, offering an opportunity for local residents to display and compete in various categories. It’s a family-friendly event that not only entertains but also provides a glimpse into the rural and agricultural heritage of La Plata County.
San Juan Brewfest: August 23 and 24, 2024
You may be thinking, “This is Durango. Shouldn’t they have the best beer-tasting festival?” Have no fear! Your beer is near!
San Juan Brewfest is, of course, a beer-tasting and sampling and definitely not chugging festival that takes place at Buckley Park in downtown Durango. It features samples from 35 breweries with about 100 different beers and ciders, plus live music. This is a 21-and-over event, and please leave your pets at home. There may be some wobbly people around by the end.
Durango Autumn Arts Festival: September 21 and 22, 2024
This family-friendly event celebrating its 30th year features works from established and emerging artists from around the country, with over 100 booths, live entertainment, and a Creation Station for the kids to get a jump on their art careers.
This free event hosted by the Durango Arts Center attracts more than 7,000 attendees from Southwest Colorado and the surrounding Four Corners region, with prizes awarded to the top artists.
Fall Gallery Walk
Held in conjunction with the Durango Autumn Arts Festival, the Fall Gallery Walk is an art stroll that provides an opportunity to meet local artists and acquire unique and beautiful art.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering: October 3 – 6, 2024
The Durango Cowboy Gathering is a celebration of the Old West and its traditions through poetry and music. Events include evening performances, Saturday daytime sessions, chuckwagon breakfast, and the non-motorized cowboy parade.
Four Corners Motorcycle Rally: August 29 – September 2, 2024
What could be better than riding on two wheels through the San Juan Mountains? How about riding with a whole bunch of other motorcycle enthusiasts?
The Four Corners Motorcycle Rally will not only include plenty of opportunities to ride through beautiful Southwest Colorado but also includes flat track racing, the Wall of Death, a poker run, vendors and exhibits, and, of course, food and music.
Seasonal Events in Durango:
Durango First Friday: March through November
Durango First Friday is described as “a monthly art walk celebrating all things local” and is an opportunity to roam city sidewalks, interact with local artists, or even indulge your own creativity with hands-on workshops.
The event happens on the first Friday of every month from 4 – 8 p.m., rain or shine. In addition to works by community artists, there’s also live music and “real food.” Be sure to check their website for pop-up details.
Durango Farmers Market: May 11 – October 26, 2024
Every Saturday morning between the second week of May and the last week in October, you can visit the Durango Farmers Market to stock up on fresh produce from the local community, including the counties of La Plata, Montezuma, Archuleta, San Juan Colorado, and San Juan New Mexico. Even vendors selling ready-to-eat food must use as many local ingredients as possible.
The Durango Farmers Market is held at 259 W. 9th Street in Durango.
This is just an overview of the events in Durango. As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do, especially if you’re a patron of the arts or interested in Old West culture. Start planning your trip to Durango today and see what surprises it holds!