Aspen Music Festival
Aspen, Colo.>June 22-Aug. 21
It’s one of the premier events among the classical music set.
This season’s festival, entitled “Self Portraits,” features performances by Vladimir Feltsman and a recital by the Takács Quartet. But for festivalgoers, attending a concert inside the Benedict Music Tent is often the festival’s true highlight. The tent, located in Aspen’s historic West End, is an acoustic marvel that seats 2,050. Also, picnicking on the lawn is one of the Aspen Musical Festival’s great summer traditions. Other venues include the Harris Concert Hall, the Wheeler Opera House and the Music School, and visiting music students often stage impromptu concerts around the Hyman Avenue Mall. Listen for them.
Whistler Arts & Music Festival
Whistler, B.C. >July 8-10
Why Go>Whistler Village morphs into a street fair with something for everyone.
Details>Set in British Columbia’s stunning Coast Mountain Range, the always bustling Whistler Village turns summer carnival with a full schedule of events. Mother Nature contributes a bounty of fresh fruit at an open-air farmer’s market. Street performers juggle and clown around and festivalgoers can mingle with local artists, catch a film or a comedy show or take in a concert under the stars. And this year, the Whistler Children’s Arts Festival will add a whole new diversion for the younger set.
Wooden Boat Week
Lake Tahoe, Calif.>Aug. 4-11
Why Go>To see Lake Tahoe as it looked in the 1940s and ’50s.
Details>Tahoe’s North Shore towns and marinas host this classic “woodie” boating event, which has celebrated on-the-water pursuits in true Tahoe style for 33 years. Sell-out events include cruises, the Woodie Over-the-Bottom Regatta, barbecues and timed woodie rallies. At the two-day Concours d’Elegance in Carnelian Bay, you can get an up-close look at 125 wooden crafts (and vote for People’s Choice) as well see “Fins-Boats from the Fabulous Fifties.”
Park City Arts Festival
Park City, Utah>Aug. 6-7
Why Go>You’ve got bare walls that need livening up.
Details>Inside the white tents that line Main Street is an overwhelming selection of artwork-jewelry, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, furniture and more-by 200 of the country’s best artists. Expect gallery exhibits of classical paintings, plus all manner of crafts from weavings to sculpture. The juried street festival was established in 1969 by Park City’s Kimball Art Center, a nonprofit community resource featuring gallery space and a community school. Peruse the wares, then stop by the Center and learn how to make your own.
Frisco Barbecue Challenge
Frisco, Colo.>June 24-25
Why Go>Spicy or smoky? However you like ’em, they’re cooking ’em at Colorado high country’s biggest barbecue cook-off.
Details>As many as 80 of the nation’s top barbecue cookers compete for $10,000 in prizes, and the Colorado State Championship Title, at this lip-smackin’ event. But the real challenge is to make roomfor all the ribs, brisket, chicken and other mouth-watering morsels that come off their grills. Enthusiastic raves might garner you technique tips or perhaps even a recipe.
Quechee, Vt.>June 17-19
Why Go>Even if you don’t care to ride in a flame-powered wicker basket, it’s fun to watch hot-air balloons decorate the sky.
Details>This colorful, 26-year-old festival on the Quechee Village Green features 300 balloons taking flight. Hot air aside, there’s also a roster of R&B, swing and jazz performances, a craft show featuring woodworking, stained glass, quilts, photography and more by 50-plus vendors, a classic car show, a volleyball toournament, a beer garden, and plenty of hot-apple cinnamon buns, barbecue and cotton candy to go around. And if you need to come up for air, you can always hitch a balloon ride.
Sun Valley Center Wine Auction
Sun Valley, Idaho>July 21-23
Why Go>As if you need a good reason to drink wine.
Details>A fundraiser for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the Wine Auction is one of the hottest social events of the summer, raising more than $1 million last year. In addition to the kickoff Gala Wine Auction and Dinner Dance-the highlight of which is a pair of live and silent auctions-signature events include vintners’ dinners at local homes, a community Picnic Concert at the Bigwood Golf Course and a Tasting Extravaganza where you can sample 150 wines-a feat that might actually take you all weekend.
Taos Solar Music Festival
Taos, N.M.>June 24-26
Why Go>Taos is “The Solar Capital of the World”-reason enough to check out this progressive festival.
Details>Home to Los Alamos and Sandia laboratories, where solar energy is studied, New Mexico prides itself on leading the solar movement. See for yourself at this festival, which features a Solar Village and big-name performers rockin’ for the cause. The village, organized by the New Mexico Solar Energy Association, features displays of solar and sustainable energy concepts and products, such as photovoltaic panels and solar-powered communications and cars. This year’s lineup includes the Indigo Girls, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon. Performances take place on two stages, including one powered entirely by the sun. Now that’s hot.