Cowboys & Indians

FESTS OF THE WEST

WE’RE CERTAINLY NOT saying that the other half of this fun-loving country doesn’t know how to throw its fair share of quality parties too. But how can we not be just a tad partial to those special annual happenings here, there, and virtually everywhere out west?

From Southern California open-air art extravaganzas to the Black Hills powwows and colossal Kansas Speedway cookouts. To blue-ribbon rodeos in southern Arizona and northern Wyoming, heart-of-Montana folk fests, Colorado cold-season carnivals, and Texas cow-town cowboy tributes. The best Western festivals inspire a certain yin-yang — a playful reminder that it’s not just all of that expansive beauty and powerful solitude that naturally draw us out here. It’s the people and the occasional wild times, too.

Singling out our favorite festivals in an American West chock-full of them is some fun, but ultimately futile, business. Futile because there’s so much to choose from that every list ends up being just a little arbitrary. Fun, of course, because attending any of these standout celebrations promises good times and good memories. Some of the festivals that made this year’s list are 100 years old. Others are relatively new. At least two require some reliable winter boots. Many of them invite a very hearty appetite. All of them satisfy a

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