Well, the Food & Wine Classic is finally upon us.

For those who can afford a $1,700 weekend pass, it’s three days of top-tier food, drink and seminars. For everyone else, it’s a busy weekend in Aspen that kicks off the end of the offseason and means more traffic on Highway-82. Either way, it’s an exciting few days to be in Aspen and the prospect of skiing on Aspen Mountain just adds to the overall experience.

Just because you don’t have a pass to Food & Wine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy happenings around town this weekend. Here are a few of our top choices, sans-pass.


  • Celebrity Chef 5k
    • What: Race your favorite chefs through the streets of Aspen
    • When: 7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
    • Where: Race starts at Rio Grande Park
    • Cost: Registration is closed
  • Feeding Giants
    • What: Kick off the weekend with Americana music from Feeding Giants at Home Team BBQ
    • When: Music starts at 6 p.m.
    • Where: Home Team BBQ
    • Cost: Free
  • D'Arenberg Three Decades of Icons
    • Where: The Limelight Hotel
    • What: Join d'Arenberg's
    • 4th generation winemaker,
    • Chester Osborn, for a unique library tasting in the pop-up d'Arenberg Cube
    • When: 7 p.m.
    • Cost: RSVP to Chris Rowe, chris.rowe@obcwines.com
  • Last Call
    • What: Join Geoffrey Zakarian for signature Lamb’s Club menu items and craft cocktails
    • When: 10 p.m. - 1 a.m.
    • Where: Casa Tua
    • Cost: $150, exclusively for American Express cardholders


  • Champagne Recovery Breakfast
    • What: Grab a glass of champagne, coffee and some breakfast before heading to the tents
    • When: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
    • Where: Victoria’s Espresso
    • Cost: RSVP to Chris Rowe, chris.rowe@obcwines.com
  • Farmer’s Market
    • What: The first downtown market of the summer kicks off during F&W, featuring local produce and products
    • When: 8:30 a.m - 3 p.m.
    • Where: Downtown Aspen
    • Cost: Free to browse
  • Heritage Fire Snowmass
    • What: Three hours of heritage animals cooked over live fires, along with a variety of drinks from local vendors
    • When: 4 - 7:30 p.m.
    • Where: Snowmass Base Village
    • Cost: $150+
  • Food & Wine Collaboration Dinner
    • What: A dinner featuring big name chefs, Death & Co. cocktails and hors d’oevuvres from the Hotel Jerome Executive Chef Rob Zack.
    • When: 7 p.m.
    • Where: Hotel Jerome
    • Cost: $250


  • Farewell Feast
    • What: This year’s feast features the best new restaurants of the year
    • When: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    • Where: Hotel Jerome
    • Cost: $150
    • Bluegrass Sunday at the Sundeck
  • What: The first downtown
    • bluegrass Sunday of the summer kicks off this weekend with Laney Lou and The Bird Dogs
    • When: 12 - 3 p.m.
    • Where: The Sundeck at Aspen Mountain
    • Cost: Free (Note: Non-premier passholders must purchase a foot pass to ride the gondola at the ticket office at the base)
  • Trellis UnWINED Party
    • What: This year’s theme is “Go Big [then] Go Home.” This party features a wide variety of drinks
    • When: 5 p.m.
    • Where: Shuttle leaves from Rubey Park
    • Cost: Free

Alternatively, you could just get out of town for the weekend and go camping. Costs nothing and sounds pretty relaxing to this reporter.

Chapman is the web editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at chapman@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @Nescwick.