by Christine Benedetti

So you’ve heard that the Food & Wine Classic is the best thing since stemless martini glasses. But, you don’t have a way to get into events because passes to the three-day festival have been sold out for months. That’s OK, because many of the weekend’s activities occur outside of those enigmatic white tents in Wagner Park. Here are a few ways to indulge without feeling the FOMO (fear of missing out).

Run with the chefs

PHoto by Hugh galdones 

Culinary celebrities who spent the previous night kicking off the festivities sacrifice sleep for sprinting — or jogging in most cases. On Friday, June 16, the Food & Wine Charity 5-kilometer race starts at the crack of 7 a.m., and chefs like Marcus Samuelsson take the course with hundreds of other runners who burn off calories before three days of indulgence. Onsite registration is available for $30 in advance and $40 day of, with proceeds benefitting the Wholesome Wave foundation.

munch on meat

If more than 3,500 pounds of heritage-breed meat paired with unique drinks, all enjoyed on the flanks of Snowmass, sounds like an afternoon delight, then Heritage Fire, June 17, is for you. More than 50 chefs and butchers will gather to serve everything from whole pigs to oysters and squab. Tickets start at $125, and if you can’t find your way to Base Village, just follow the smokey scent.

In lieu of Heritage Fire, on Thursday, June 17 check out Rustic Grind featuring heritage breed meats made from animals responsibly raised in Colorado. The evening includes libations such as Bourbon Punches and Smoked Old Fashioneds from Breckenridge Distillery, Courvoisier Slushes and premium wines. All you can eat/drink from 6:30 - 8:30pm for just $40.

Go To the Farmers' market

While the Saturday market is completely separate from the Classic, it’s still an essential part of the Aspen summertime itinerary. From fruits, veggies, honey and kettle corn to eggs from Rock Bottom Ranch, the market is the ultimate foodie experience. Plus, most stands let you sample the goods before buying. Rock Canyon Coffee will keep you energized and Avalanche Cheese Company will give you a new appreciation for goats. Just don’t fill up on Woody Creek Cellars wine or you might go home with an Aspen Animal Shelter puppy.

Attend auxiliary events

Photo by Adam Larkey

Some of the weekend’s best parties aren’t even exclusive. Wineries, distilleries and brands are continually trying to grab people’s attention, and throwing incredible parties to do it. Most of these happen off-site in rented homes and hotel rooftops. Like the champagne parties at Chair 9... Presented by Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot, and featuring an electrifying DJ with electric violinist Kat V of Chicago. Mingle with culinary greats, wine industry notables, and Aspen’s jet set. No cover, no list, no reason not to stay up late with The Little Nell. Happening Thursday and Friday from 10:30pm - 1AM.

If all else fails, buddy up with a local or rub elbows with industry type and get invited to one of the many Food & Wine parties of the weekend.

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