Family-Friendly Annual Events in Steamboat Springs

Events Filled with Local Flare

Part of the reason why we love Steamboat Springs so much is their welcoming Western Cowboy culture. Steamboat has preserved its western culture of ranching and pioneers by continuing to showcase it through their cultural celebrations held annually. The events that Steamboat puts on every year are packed with wild performances and jaw-dropping displays of cowboy culture combined with adrenaline-pumping mountain activities. 

Steamboat ski carnival
Steamboat winter carnival
Cowboy Downhill

Iconic Winter Events in Steamboat

Winter Carnival

Winter Carnival is perhaps Steamboat’s most famous and largest community event. The event is hosted by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and is a celebration of the joy that the winter season brings to Steamboat Springs. The 5-day carnival is packed with events like skiers being pulled by horses down Main Street, the famous “Lighted Man” exhibit in which fireworks are fired out of a skier’s backpack, and ski-jumping through a fiery hoop on Howelsen Hill. The carnival typically attracts around 8,000 people and requires a small entrance fee. This event is a celebration of the deep Western Cowboy heritage of Steamboat as well as the present-day influence of mountain sports like skiing and snowboarding. 

Cowboy Downhill

Cowboy Downhill is another event that celebrates Steamboat’s Western heritage and present-day mountain culture. This event invites professional rodeo cowboys and bull riders to the slopes of Steamboat Resort to race in a “stampede.” The cowboys race down the slopes wearing their chaps, cowboy hats, and jeans on a racecourse that includes a slalom, a jump, a lasso challenge, and saddling a horse. This family-friendly event is free sponsored by Bud Light and free for all that wish to watch. 

Off-Season Events

The Hot Air Balloon Rodeo is a favorite summer event for Steamboat locals and tourists alike. This event starts at the crack of dawn and invites attendees to watch as hot air balloons cast off into the Yampa Valley skyline during the early morning hours. Traditionally, onlookers will view the event from their lawn chairs as they sip on their morning coffee, eat some breakfast, and enjoy the view. Afterwards, the Farmer’s Market opens up in full-force and local vendors dish out pastries, coffees, breakfast burritos, local produce and other local artisan products. This event is a true collaboration of the local community and is free to anyone. 

Rocky Mountain Mustang RoundUp is an event that occurs annually on Father’s Day weekend and invites over 450 Ford Mustang owners to gather in Steamboat to display their cars on Yampa Street. The cars compete in a Show N’ Shine competition in which judges choose winners for several different categories. This weekend isn’t just about viewing Mustangs, though! There are also autocross events for children and adults as well as a scenic mountain tour around the countryside of Steamboat Springs. This is a fun and free event for car enthusiasts and for Father’s Day weekend. 

OktoberWest is Steamboat’s rendition of the famous Oktoberfest event that happens around the world. But, Steamboat puts a Colorado twist on the event with the addition of an “I Love Beef Cook-Off” and free live music and entertainment all over town. This event is a celebration of the end of summer and the oncoming winter. Attendees love to explore the diverse Colorado craft beer scene in the pop-up beer garden and vote for their favorite dishes in the beef cook-off competition. 

Steamboat Springs is a special place because of the Western heritage that they have been able to preserve and share through their incredible annual events. Every year they welcome tourists and locals alike to join them in the festivities and to learn more about Steamboat’s unique local culture. It is not often that you see ski jumpers hurtling through a fire-lit hoop or an early morning sky dazzled with hot air balloons across the luscious Yampa Valley. We hope that you are able to visit Steamboat for one (or all!) of these events in the near future! 

rocky mountain mustang roundup
Hotair Balloon Rodeo Steamboat