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ColorFest 2012 27 years of hot air

From Sept. 6-9, multiple activities will define the 2012 ColorFest season.

Beginning today, Thursday, Sept. 6, two local restaurants will host wine dinners.

Nello’s Bistro has designed a wine dinner to tempt the most discriminating palate. The wines to be served will be from the Cline Cellars vineyard in California. Each course in a four-course meal, including shrimp bisque, caprese salad, tenderloin tips and creme brulee, will be paired with a different Cline Cellars wine. The cost for this wine dinner is $50.

The other restaurant to be included in the wine dinner will be Bacci’s. Wines from Italy will be paired with an amazing four-course offering, including shrimp crudo, crab cakes, creamy polenta with mushroom ragout and shaved parmesan and pork osso bucco with garlic broccolini. The wine dinner at Bacci’s is $40.

Reservations for the ColorFest wine dinners can be made by contacting the respective restaurant.

On Friday evening Sept. 7, the seventh annual Passport to Pagosa Wine & Food Festival will be held at the athletic field at Town Park. Pagosa restaurants will highlight some new items that will be added to their winter menus and also serve up current popular items. Welcome some new restaurants to the fold this year, including Coyote Moon Bar & Grill and the Back Room Wine Bar and First Crush Olive Oil Room. Returning award winners Plaza Grille, The Pines Restaurant, Alley House Grille, Ajia, Farrago Market Cafe, Old Town Market and Pagosa Brewing will be back vying for this year’s awards.

Wines from Italy, Australia, the northwestern coast of California, Oregon and Washington will be served. Compare some delicious pinot noirs and pinot grigios from all over the world. Taste some wine from the hot Charles Smith winery and Kris wineries that are just out on the market. Breckenridge Distillery will return this year with their award-winning bourbon and vodka spirits. Citizen’s Bank will again sponsor the beer table with some award-winning Pagosa Brewing selections.

The “Starry, Starry Night” evening will be highlighted by the music of Bob Hemenger.

Tickets are available online or at the Chamber for $40 in advance and $45 at the door and include food and drink tickets, a collectable wine glass and reusable plate.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, the day begins early as the hot air balloons take to the skies in the downtown area. The pilot meeting will take place at 7 a.m. in the tent at Town Park. After briefing, most pilots will go over to the area south of the Springs Resort to launch beginning around 7:30-8. Photograph some “splash and dash” maneuvers or watch as the balloons vie for prizes in the accuracy competition.

Then, beginning at noon, bring the family out to the tent at the athletic field for Kiddie Karaoke. The children will have endless music to choose from to entertain family and friends. Let the youth sing their hearts out and experience the thrill of the stage. DJ Dude will be on hand to help the next generation of musical talents enjoy their time on stage.

The regional breweries open their doors at 2 p.m. when the Brews portion of Bands, Brews, Etc. takes place. Regional breweries from Colorado and New Mexico will vie for the “People’s Choice” award and show off some award-winning brews. Breckenridge Distillery will be back, and wine by the glass can also be purchased.

The audience should be ready to get up and dance as the Getbacks and JJ Davids Blues Band will rock the park for hours. Enjoy rock, retro and summer beach dance music and rockin’ blues all afternoon. The evening ends with a Hot Air Balloon Glow at Town Park area, beginning around 7-7:30 p.m. Tickets for the Bands, Brews, Etc. event are $5 for admission to the music and $15 for admission to the beer tasting. There will also be food vendors and activities for the children.

On Sunday morning, Sept. 9, the balloon ascension moves over to the west side of town. The meeting will take place at the Wyndham tent just outside the registration area, beginning at 7 a.m. This time, the balloons disburse to various launch points due to available space. However, the skies will be filled with colorful balloons, with the backdrop of mountains and lakes making for another picture-perfect day. End your weekend with a hike or drive and see if you can discern any colors changing.

Tickets for all the events can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce or online at We welcome all our visitors to this annual event and thank our residents for supporting the ColorFest activities for all these years. Get ready for color in the skies, color with your spectacular food presentations, and autumn hues with the various award-winning brews. ColorFest is always an exciting and colorful weekend.

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