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Tents are up, trucks are unloading, and that energetic June buzz is back: the 39th annual Aspen food and wine classic is here.

The three-day premier culinary event brings together new and returning industry leaders to celebrate and share their experiences and innovations through talks, tastings, parties and more. And as experts from different fields of culinary and hospitality come to town, Aspen’s own industry experts open their doors to outsiders and insiders, whether they have a Food & Wine pass or not.

Tickets for the 2022 F&W Classic sold out the same day they were released, priced at $1,800 for the Consumer or Trade Pass and $4,000 for the Food and Wine package.

Those who go on the weekend with a pass have access to all official Food & Wine programs, including over 40 workshops, entrance to the tasting pavilion and invitations to other private events, depending on the type of pass.

However, the three-day celebration is not limited to the ticket to the Grand Tasting tent.

The Aspen community has long resigned itself to the influx of visitors, vendors and activities associated with the event. For more than three decades, food and wine-inspired events have been springing up in restaurants, retail outlets, hotels and other locations in and around narrow city blocks. Whether it’s partnering with new brands to host events or using busy weekends to showcase local talent, the city of Aspen becomes part of the Food & Wine spirit and experience.

Riding on the wave of hospitality, many shops, hotels and restaurants across the city are hosting events this weekend that are free and open to the public. From daytime tastings to weekend happy hours and nightly dance parties, here’s some information on some of this year’s events, available to everyone for free.

Retail

Western clothing store Kemo Sabe is a popular destination for tourists any weekend of the summer, and in the past, this luxury store has stepped up its food and wine weekend game. This year, Kemo Sabe will take its retail and hospitality experience to the next level by keeping its doors open to the public with free booze offerings and live artistic events beginning today and running through Sunday.

Throughout the weekend, there will be a stand in front of the store with alcohol and lemonade, where they will sell spiked lemonades from Woody Creek Distillers for free. The basalt distillery has been spotted on the stand at the Grand Tasting Pavilion for the past years, and this year it is switching to camp in Kemo Saba for the entire weekend. The store also has a full bar upstairs that caters to VIP customers.

Kemo Sabe will be hosting a group of artists, makers and designers in-store over the weekend to hand engrave belt buckles, designer bags, tool leathers and more – all done onsite for shoppers to experience, said Shannon Asher. , Marketing Manager. for Kemo Sabe.

Asher explained that even though they have put on a lot of show shows and collaborated with many distilling companies for outdoor events, nothing has been done for this caliber.

“It will be an amazing showcase of the work of these artists in the store at the same time – they will be creating on site at the moment,” Asher said. “Everyone can go to Kemo Saba and see these artists in their element and in their craft.”

Brands showcasing their craft at Kemo Sabe at Food & Wine Weekend include Grit Buckles, Leather and Vodka, Jake 2 Jake Knives, Mercury Leather Works and Reads Jewelers.

Rag & Bone, located on the corner of Hyman Walk, also has a history of hosting free food and wine parties on weekends. Last year, local artist Kelly Peters worked at the store to create custom jeans designs for incoming shoppers. In 2019, Rag & Bone opened a CBD cocktail bar, coinciding with the first year that cannabis companies were included in the official F&W Classic programs.

This year, Rag & Bone is once again hosting free and open to all events. On Friday and Saturday from noon to 6:00 pm, the bartender will prepare free cocktails from spirits donated by Woody Creek Distillers and Doña Vega Mezcal, both alcohol companies from Roaring Fork Valley. Local DJ Bridger Haasy will play live sets at the shop both days from 12:00 to 16:00.

This weekend, florists from all over the city will be in the store creating boutonnieres and floral arrangements that people will pin to shirts and hats or braid into their hair.

Rag & Bone manager Bridget Spillare said everyone is welcome to the store this weekend and she hopes the vibrant atmosphere will remind people how special Aspen is during the summer.

“A big part of what we want to do is make sure everyone has a good weekend and feels like we’re back to normal, let’s have some fun,” Spillare said. “We want everyone to come to the store, have a good time and just remember Aspen as the place you want to go back to – the place you want to be.”

Last winter, Miron Crosby, the custom-designed shoe store that opened a store in Aspen, Texas, made its first appearance in the city and is also kicking off the weekend with open doors. Show programs and musical accompaniment from DJ Haasy are held in the store today from noon to 17:00. They will serve snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, including the main Texas combo Topo Chico-lime.

Hailey Martin, store manager at Miron Crosby Aspen, said the place would be “a refreshing place to come and warm up.”

“We’re still a bit new to the city and we just want as many people to trip over as possible,” Martin said. “I think Food & Wine will bring a lot of locals to the store as well as visitors – it will be a great mix of people and we just want to have fun with everyone and introduce people to the store and the brand.”

This weekend, the Aviator Nation store brings its brand to the full by hosting a free Saturday afternoon disco from 4pm to 8pm at the top floor lounge and bar for anyone aged 21 and over. Located on Mill Street across from the tasting pavilion, the 70s-inspired store invites locals and visitors through its doors and up the stairs to enjoy music, dancing, and complimentary seltzer and wine products from Colorado-based Carboy Winery.

Restaurants

Harper and Hudson, a newly opened clothing store connected to an outdoor patio, offers a full service bar and 24-hour restaurant throughout the weekend with DJ sets on Fridays and Saturdays and complimentary drinks from Rumor Rose and Lift Vodka.

Owner Jeff Murke said Harper and Hudson’s patio is open to everyone, and especially the local community.

“When the food and wine comes in, there is a local vibe here,” Murke said. “Most of your tourists will sit in tents and your locals will hang out here.”

The French Alpine Bistro will be serving free Entourage Rosé drinks at Creperie Corner Friday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm. The event also marks the launch of a special “buy one, get one free” pink drink at French Alpine bistro “happy hour”. every day throughout the summer season.

Down the street, Mi Chola hosts an informal and casual free tasting of Sombra Mezcal at 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon.

Weekend happy hours also begin. In collaboration with Martini & Rossi Fiero, the Aspen Pie Shop will host Friday-Sunday afternoon happy hours from 4pm to 6pm, offering free samples of orange vermouths as well as the restaurant’s regular menu.

Hotels

Jerome’s “Grey Goose Al Fresco Spritz” returns to the courtyard on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The Little Nell partners with two spirits brands to offer complimentary cocktails on the Element 47 patio during the afternoons and early evenings Thursday through Sunday. From 14:00 to 17:00, the Aperol spritz cart is open, serving sparkling wine and carbonated cocktails to showcase the Italian orange aperitif. Next up is the Gray Goose espresso martini cart, serving a signature caffeinated cocktail from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

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