Brace yourselves: the busiest weekend of the summer has arrived. In the West End, the Aspen Ideas Festival is winding down just as the Aspen Music Festival and School’s 2016 season begins. Meanwhile in Snowmass, soul searchers are "finding their true north" at Wanderlust with guided hikes and free music on Friday and Saturday nights. The options on the activity and cultural calendars are endless, so here we arm you with an agenda for this weekend to help you navigate the sea of schedules—unparalleled among any other mountain town.
Friday, July 1
Carbondale’s First Fridays
5 p.m., Downtown Carbondale
Want to escape the commotion of the core? Head Down Valley for First Friday in Carbondale to explore art galleries, sample bites from food trucks and browse local boutiques. Don't miss tonight's 15th Annual Mt. Sopris Music Fest with local musicians playing live all over town and Anderson Ranch Arts Center's presentation of “From Our Valley to the World,” a photographic exhibition by four National Geographic photographers (6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.) at the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities and Colby June's unveiling of her new Bone Collection at The Launchpad (6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.).
Movies at the Museum
8 p.m., Aspen Art Museum
This year’s theme of picture-perfect roof deck summer series is all about dance, so you can’t miss the quintessential tale of rock n’ roll rebellion. But then again, watching any movie under the stars in a bean bag chair with free popcorn is pretty much perfect. Admission is free too!
Saturday, July 2
Aspen Antiques, Jewelry & Fine Arts Fair
10 a.m.—6 p.m. (daily through July 10), Aspen Ice Garden
Now in its 13th year, the extended showcase kicks off Saturday for treasure hunting among an eclectic selection of booths from around the world offering all manner of baubles, paintings, and other collectibles from Art Deco estate jewelry to rare U.S. flags.
Wilderness Workshop’s 3rd Annual Wildfest
5—10 p.m., Owl Farm
Wilderness Workshop’s annual family-friendly celebration goes Gonzo this year with a new venue—the late Hunter S. Thompson’s Owl Farm in Woody Creek. Live music from Jimmy Ibbotson of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Smuggler Mountain Boys will set the stage for headliners the Shook Twins (8 p.m.) of Portland, Oregon, who play Red Rocks Amphitheatre later this summer. The Slow Groovin’ BBQ truck will be parked all night selling food, along with a cash bar, Kids’ Zone, communal mural creation station, and a wind-down fire-dance at the end of the night.
Sunday, July 3
9 a.m., Clark’s Market
Set the alarm and head straight to the just gorgeously renovated grocery store for their annual holiday sale ($15.99 each!). Folks line up way early to take their pick from thousands of live Maine lobsters flown in for the Fourth.
The rapids are raging, so take an easier cruise down the North Star Nature Preserve on a standup paddle board. Aspen Bike Tours & Rentals has all the gear you need and also provides a shuttle service to the put in for an additional fee. Need some guidance? The Aspen Kayak & SUP Academy is the go-to for perfecting your paddling.
9 p.m., Belly Up Aspen
The boys from this beloved DJ collective are back in town for a two-night run with Denver-based opener Late Night Radio.
Monday, July 4
Aspen’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July
11 a.m.—9:15 p.m., Downtown Aspen
It doesn’t get more “Main Street USA” than right here in town, so scope out a spot and camp out as the antique cars, firetrucks, horses, musicians and more march through down. The celebration brings over 20,000 locals and visitors together and continues all day with a “Birthday Carnival” in Paepcke Park, AVSC’s picnic in Koch Park, and a free concert at the Benedict Music Tent by the Aspen Music Festival and School’s band. The only way to end the festivities? Aspen’s Fireworks Extravaganza, which starts at 9:15 p.m. (weather permitting) over Aspen Mountain. We can’t give away the secret spot, but we like hiking up somewhere around Smuggler for prime viewing.