AprilIt's the first month of the rest of your life. Kick it off out west at the Copper Sunsation (April 11-12, 18-19, Copper Mountain, coppersunsation.com) après-ski music festival, headlined by the Original Wailers. If music's not the elixir for all that ails you, try the Celebration Metaphysical Fair (April 17-19, Oct. 9-11, celebrationfair.com), which brings some New Age ideas to the old City Aud. Or visit the 9Health Fair (April 18-25, several locations, 9healthfair.org), which offers free or low-cost health screenings for those who qualify. Close the month on a lighter note — catch one movie, or a handful, courtesy of the locally organized Indie Spirit Film Festival (April 24-26, indiespiritfilmfestival.org), now in its second year.
MayViva la Revolution! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo early with a banquet and dancing at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, then hit up Fiesta in the Park (park, um, still to be determined at press time) for car shows, food vendors and family activities (May 1 and 3, respectively, elcinco-cs.org). For a Memorial Day weekend jammed with arts, crafts, music and local history, double up with a drive along Colorado/Manitou avenues: First visit Territory Days (oldcoloradocityshopping.com) in Old Colorado City, and then Manitou Springs' Memorial Park for the Celebration of the Arts (manitou springs.org). They both run May 23-25.
JuneThe Colorado College Summer Festival of the Arts stretches through the warm months, beginning in June with the Summer Music Festival, followed by the Dance Festival and ending with the Vocal Arts Symposium (June 8 to Aug. 9, artsfestival.coloradocollege.edu). For something less civilized, there's the Medieval-era Renaissance Festival (weekends June 13 to Aug. 2, Larkspur, coloradorenaissance.com), or the FIBArk whitewater rafting and kayaking festival (June 18-21, Salida, fibark.net). For the kids: Springs Spree at Memorial Park (June 20-21, springsspree.org). Finally, insert your own ass joke here as I reference Donkey Derby Days (June 27-28, cripplecreekevents.com), Cripple Creek's homage to burros, jennys and your co-workers.
JulyRodeos are all the rage in July, including the seventh annual Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo (first week of July, rideforthebrandranchrodeo.com), 69th annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days (July 8-11, coloradospringsrodeo.com) and the National Little Britches Rodeo Finals (July 27 to Aug. 1, Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo, nlbra.com). Not enough? OK, Victor Gold Rush Days (July 17-19, victorcolorado.com) serves up mining and more cowboys. On the 19th, one event will celebrate speed (the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, ppihc.com) and another determination (PrideFest and Parade, ppglcc.org). The following weekend brings Blues Under the Bridge, a much-anticipated KRCC outdoor concert (July 24-25, bluesunderthebridge.com), and after that we get 10,000 athletes from all over the country competing at the 2009 State Games of America (July 30 to Aug. 2, thesportscorp.org).
AugustStart August with a leisurely trip to high elevations with Woodland Park's 24th annual Mountain Arts Festival (Aug. 1-2, 686-7469). You'll be back in plenty of time to watch skinny athletes entertain slothful locals ("Dude, that guy's totally throwing up!") as they finish the annual Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon (Aug. 15-16, pikespeakmarathon.org). And what's summer without funnel cake, stock shows and perilous carnival rides? You know you'll be in Pueblo for the Colorado State Fair (Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, coloradostatefair.com).
SeptemberGet up early to watch the hot air balloons inflate, or drop by in the evening for the Balloon-Glo, all part of the much-photographed 33rd annual Colorado Balloon Classic in Memorial Park (Sept. 5-7, balloonclassic.com). Manitou's Labor Day Arts & Crafts Festival (Sept. 5-7, commonwheel.com), the last outdoor art fair, marks the end of summer. That means it's time for more indoor recreation: for instance, the Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival (Sept. 18-20, pplff.org), celebrating its 10th year of bringing international gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender films to the Springs in 2009.
October, November & DecemberThe average reader is probably a little too old for trick-or-treating, but building coffins to ride through the streets in the name of history and tradition is another matter entirely. (The same could be said for the Fruitcake Toss in January.) Haul out your vehicles for the Emma Crawford Festival and 15th annual Coffin Race and Parade (Oct. 24, manitousprings.org). The Crawford faithful may also attend her wake the day before.
November brings the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival (Nov. 6-8, rmwfilmfest.org), a cinematic stand-by that's heavy on documentaries and quality filmmaking. That same weekend, stay downtown for the Veterans Day Parade (Nov. 7, csvetsparade.org).
As the year winds down in December, get into the holiday spirit with night lights strewn about the city. The traditionally freezing temperatures the night of the 25th annual Festival of Lights Parade (Dec. 5, coloradospringsfestivaloflights.org) bring glowing floats strolling down Tejon Street. Exotic displays — and more than a million holiday lights — illuminate Winter WildLand at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3, 2010 (cmzoo.org).
January, February & MarchTime flies, and we're already back just about where we started. C'est la vie and carpe diem and Auld Lang Syne for twenty-ten. Within hours of the new year soggy, dense cakes will slice the crisp air by way of a homemade catapult at the 15th annual Fruitcake Toss in Manitou (Jan. 2, 685-5089).
Come February, let it all hang out in the most colorful fashion at Manitou's Mardi Gras Carnivale Parade (Feb. 13, 685-5089). Whether temps are comfortable or cold, bare skin is guaranteed.
In March, toast a collective Irish heritage downtown at the St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 13, csstpats.com), which is preceded by a 5K and fun run for kids. Finally: Though reps wouldn't confirm it 12 months in advance (the nerve!), we're betting the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is good for throwing the 19th annual Wine Festival sometime in mid-March as well.