Immerse yourself in the red rocks of Western Colorado, savor a glass of cabernet, and bite into the sweetest, juiciest peach the world has to offer at Palisade Peach Fest, a celebration of one of Colorado’s richest, agricultural hubs.
Palisade’s agricultural boom began in the early 20th century, when settlers, impressed by Palisade’s mild climate and unique terrain, built irrigation canals to support young crops. Paving the way for Palisade’s reputation as Colorado’s breadbasket was the peach, which this Western Slope town would ultimately become famous for.
Today, Palisade’s agricultural history is celebrated at the annual Palisade Peach Fest. Not only is it one of Colorado’s original agricultural festivals, it is also a world recognized event that draws thousands of visitors. The festival takes place on the third weekend of August, when peaches are at their peak. Here, senses are ignited by the sweet smell that permeates Palisade’s Riverbend Park. The aroma is so thick, you’ll taste it on your tongue, and your mouth will water. It’s then that you’ll realize what it means to be in the heart of peach country and that there’s hardly anything else like it.
Palisade Peach Fest officially kicks off Thursday night with “Peach Night at the Rockies” (Grand Junction Rockies, that is). On the same evening, the Peach Queen is crowned, free peach ice cream is scooped, and towns folk get down at the much anticipated street dance. The following morning, Riverbend Park’s gates open and the festival’s activities go into full swing.
Take part in a peach orchard tour, shop dozens of fruit stands, and dine with Feast in the Fields, a five course meal that honors local food and wine as well as the talents of local chefs. Live music, including bluegrass, acoustic, rock, and reggae, begins Friday afternoon and runs through Saturday evening. Peach contests draw a crowd, declaring the perfect peach recipe and the fastest peach eater. Additionally, there’s a peach parade, Jake’s Jungle for Kids, peach cuisine demos, and horse cart rides. As a celebration of locally grown food and locally produced products, Palisade Peach Fest is also the perfect place to stock up on jams, butters, salsas, wines, and crafts. And while peaches are the star of the show, the festival also shows off all of the produce grown in and around Palisade—produce that’s ripe for pies, canning, and drying.
Come to Palisade Peach Fest to partake in a true local food economy, listen to great music, and taste the perfect peach. I promise, it’s a flavor and sweetness you’ll never forget.
For more information on Palisade Peach Fest, visit www.PalisadePeachFest.com
Where to Stay:
Wine Country Inn – (970) 464-5777
Visit Wine Country Inn and experience the romance of the vineyards at Colorado’s first wine-themed hotel. Stroll through the working vineyards that surround the Inn. This Victorian style hotel sits in the middle of 21 acres of vines that produce grapes, which are crushed and bottled as their signature label wines.
Vistas and Vineyards – (970) 464-7478
Nestled in an agricultural buffer east of Grand Junction and just west of the Town of Palisade, Vistas and Vineyards has a beautifully landscaped yard with many flowering trees, shrubs, and roses, a bocce court, patio, and deck. This relaxing environment will beckon you outside with your favorite beverage to enjoy great conversation with the owners and other guests.
Wine Valley Inn – (970) 464-1498
Wine Valley Inn is a relaxing, luxury inn set in the heart of Palisade’s fruit and wine country. With many repeat guests, this award winning inn offers the amenities you desire and the lifestyle you came to Palisade to experience.
Where to Eat:
Palisade Café 11.0 – (970) 464-2888
An authentic small-town cafe with wood paneling on one side, brick on the other, local art on the walls, and food made from scratch. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Inari’s – (970) 464-4911
A quaint neighborhood bistro in the heart of Colorado’s orchard and wine country featuring an eclectic and seasonally changing menu and select wine and beer that compliments the cuisine.
357 Bar and Grill – (970) 464-2226
A family friendly sports bar with TVs, a juke box, and a daily happy hour from 3pm to 7pm.
Where to Imbibe:
Palisade Brewing Company – (970) 464-1462
Palisade Brewing Company brews innovative American style beer with respect to the traditional roots of craft brewing. They are constantly pushing to keep up with the evolving palette of the craft beer community in Colorado. Food menu includes starters and sandwiches.
Any One of the Many Wineries
Where to Camp:
From Fruita on the west end, to Island Acres on the east end and three stops in-between, this is one park split into five sections. To visit the park, follow the Colorado River west from Debeque Canyon to Fruita, and enjoy five uniquely different river and lake based outdoor recreation opportunities. Camping is offered year-round at the Island Acres section and the Fruita section. Coin showers and laundry are available from early spring through fall. Reservations are recommended because many weekends in summer fill-up fast. Consider camping during the week and off-season while visiting one of the many attractions or events.
RV Ranch – (970) 434-6644
RV Ranch is just minutes away from award winning wineries of Grand Valley as well as historic downtown Grand Junction, with its acclaimed outdoor sculpture park, diverse restaurants and museums. A short drive away is Colorado National Monument’s unforgettable scenery and miles of hiking trails. Or, you can spend days at Grand Mesa with its expansive views, four wheel drive roads, skiing, fishing and hiking.
About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.
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photo credits: GJ Sentinel, Lucky Eight Events, The Coloradoan