Once a sleepy time of closed shops and restaurants, the month of September has become a highlight in Breckenridge’s fall event calendar. The newest addition, the Breckenridge Wine Classic, runs in conjunction with one of the nation’s oldest film festivals, the Breckenridge Film Festival. It’s the perfect mix of culture, adventure, food and drink during one of the most underrated times of year. It all goes down Sept. 15-18, 2016.

Wine + Film + Fall colors = Perfect. Photo by Arthur Balluff

Wine + Film + Fall colors = Perfect. Photo by Arthur Balluff

With nearly 20 wine classic events and four days of film screenings, it may seem like a tough schedule to navigate. We’ve done the heavy lifting—check out our festival tips and top picks below.

BEST-OF: Film, Food & Wine Highlights

Conveniently, the folks at Film Fest and Wine Classic have teamed up to offer packages highlighting the best of both festivals. For those that want to cherry-pick the absolute best events, go with the Saturday-Sunday combo, which includes the Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting and Sunday’s Best of Fest film screenings. If you’d like to pack it all into one day, the Saturday combo is a good alternative, which includes the Grand Tasting and Red Carpet Closing Night. See the full list of packages here.

DO

Consume responsibly. At wine Classic events like the cab vs. merlot session, you’ll be led through an interactive and educational session that involves blind tastings of cabernets and merlots. (Sounds fantastic, right?) But of course, you’ll want the energy to experience the Film Fest’s Friday night Adventure Reel – a new partnership with The North Face Speaker Series features athletes as well as the acclaimed filmmakers who’ve captured stories of paddlers, cyclists, skiers and sailors. Pro tip: Plan for an afternoon nap to recharge for a night of film.

The Breckenridge Film Festival offers hands-on teen sessions and a robust Children's Program. Photo courtesy Breckenridge Film Festival

The Breckenridge Film Festival offers hands-on teen sessions and a robust Children’s Program. Photo courtesy Breckenridge Film Festival

DON’T

Forget to eat along the way. The Wine Classic makes life easy with a number of food pairings including Mexican small plates at Mi Casa, a seminar at Giampietro’s covering the how-to’s of matching food and wine, and even a Popcorn and Prosecco event that pairs bubbly with Ember’s gourmet popcorn (plus a wine-themed film screening, of course). Both of the big tasting events include gourmet small plates from town’s top restaurants; since these are sample sizes, plan on dinner.

Trends we love

“Shorts are the trend,” says Breckenridge Film Festival Executive Director Janice Kurbjun. The result is easily-digestible film blocks (screenings of several short films presented as one session) highlighting themes of comedy, suspense, morality and more. In the wine world, our favorite trend pairs activity with a food and drink reward. Hikes, yoga and mountain biking are topped off with hearty meals and cold beer or cocktails—it’s the summer version of “earn your turns.”

The Breckenridge Arts District serves as home for the Wine Classic's signature event, the Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting. Expect a sensory immersion of creativity, studios, galleries, performance spaces, historic landmarks, public art, and more. Photo by Arthur Balluff

The Breckenridge Arts District serves as home for the Wine Classic’s signature event, the Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting. Expect a combination of hands-on creativity and fine wine, beer, spirits and small plates. Photo by Arthur Balluff

Need to know

The Wine Classic is an adult-only, 21+ festival; no children or pets are allowed. If you’re traveling with family, consider the Film Fest’s free Children’s Program (Saturday) or family-friendly film blocks such as “Women Empowerment” and the adventure programming. Local babysitters can give parents free time for Wine Classic events.

More info

Visit the Breckenridge Film Festival and Breckenridge Wine Classic websites for detailed schedule information as it becomes available. Six different Film, Food & Wine packages offer discounted entry to select events at both festivals – visit the ticketing page or the calendar for details.

Mid to late September is typically prime fall color season. So why not stay awhile and check out the best fall colors in Breckenridge? See this fall itinerary for more ideas.

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