Rapids and Grass fest busts onto the scene in Buena Vista  

Photo: Scott Peterson

Photo: Scott Peterson

By Mary Anderson

Buena Vista, a town of just over 2,700 people, may have used to just be a stop on the way to some of the bigger mountain towns. But now, this hidden gem near the Continental Divide has become a destination of adventure for river-lovers and adventure-seekers alike. With activities ranging from white water rafting and kayaking to camping and a hot springs, there is something for any and all outdoor enthusiasts. And now, there is something for beer-lovers too as the town looks to host its first-ever craft beer and music festival June 30 through July 2.

“We have seen how many people in BV and in the Ark Valley love good beer and the ability to try new things. A beer festival seemed like a perfect extension and something that the town is ready for,” said Sarah Haughey, owner of The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar in Buena Vista.

But this is no ordinary beer festival. At a unique venue right on the Arkansas River with views of the Collegiate Peaks and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, the event is about more than just craft beer. “This festival is really a celebration of Colorado, combining craft beer, bluegrass music, and the outdoors,” Haughey said.  

The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar will kick off the weekend with a welcome party Friday afternoon followed by free live music in the evening at South Main Square. 

On Saturday, the beer festival gives participants the opportunity to sample beer from more than 40 breweries, including some out-of-state vendors like Arizona Wilderness and Pueblo Vida that do not frequent many festivals. There will also be live acts featuring bluegrass, soul, and Americana as well as food for purchase from local food trucks. 

Photo: Scott Peterson

Photo: Scott Peterson

Sunday, the event flows to an end with the Freedom Float starting at South Main Square. Participants will float down seven miles of the Arkansas River, including a section of Class 3 whitewater, ending at Riverside Grill where drinks and food are available for purchase before a shuttle takes you back to the starting point. 

Ticket options include partial (festival only) for $40 or full (festival and float) for $70, with camping by the river included in both.

For more information, including the full list of breweries and bands, visit https://rgfest.com.