Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors: Overview

Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors: Overview

The 2nd annual Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors takes place Thursday, September 29 – Sunday, October 2, 2016. The weekend celebration of exotic vehicles and fall foliage coincides, in part, with concerts by singer-songwriter-producer and two-time Rock ’n Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Neil Young. Young visits Telluride to play back-to-back shows (September 30 and October 1). He is joined by Promise of the Real, fronted by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie. Tickets for that event here.

Full schedule for Cars & Colors here. Tickets/passes for this event here.


The 2nd Annual Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors, September 29 – October 2, 2016, is a world-class celebration targeting automobile aficionados and lifestyle enthusiasts, set against a backdrop of Telluride’s spectacular palette of autumnal colors. Focusing on high-end restorations and vintage and exotic vehicles, Cars & Colors occupies three distinct venues over four daysTelluride Historic District, Mountain Village, and the Telluride Regional Airport.

“Cars & Colors aims to be the Pebble Beach of Colorado,” says event founder Ray Cody. “Attendees will need all four days to really see everything.”

four-day pass also provides access to Cars & Colors contests and opportunities to win big:

a $5,000 cash prize in the Million Dollar Highway Road Rally and a trip to the Porsche Driving School, sponsored by Porsche;

$500 in the Cars & Colors Medallion Hunt, sponsored by Property Management of Telluride;

And the Cars & Colors photo contest in which two winners receive a $500 cash each, sponsored by Property Management of Telluride.





In just one year, Cars & Colors Festival has gained momentum and is seeing wider and wider support.

“You have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run,” says Cody. “Around the country, people are starting to take notice. Voted as one of the Top Ten Car Shows by, and with even more cars registered for this year, the word about this car show in Telluride is spreading. After all, like fine wines, car festivals get better with age. Last year’s event was a hit. People left smiling – some with bugs in their teeth after a rousing road rally. Other lucky folks left with their wallets quite a bit thicker after winning one of the many prizes. But everyone left with one thought on their mind… ‘I can’t wait for next year.’”

Historic downtown Telluride becomes a rotating display of great cars: “Cool Cars on Colorado” is staged on Telluride’s Main Street or Colorado Avenue, Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday.

Telluride Golf Course in Mountain Village: Concours on the golf course in Mountain Village features vintage machines, top-flight restorations, international exotics, and the cream of the American classic and sports car crop.

Attendees have the opportunity to vote on their favorite exotica as follows:

American concours cars, Friday, September 30;

German concours cars, Saturday, October 1;

Italian concours cars, Sunday, October 2.

The People’s Choice Award for concours cars is sponsored by Barrett-Jackson in each of the above three featured categories; $10,000 worth of gems and jewelry is sponsored by Dolce and Omi Privé for each of the three winners.

Heritage Plaza, Mountain Village: New for 2016, a vintage motorcycle exhibit, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Vote all three days for your favorite in this category.

The People’s Choice Award in this category is sponsored by Tracks Café & Bar and announced Sunday at the Alpenglow Closing event held in the Appaloosa Room, Peaks Resort & Spa, 3 – 5 p.m.

Telluride Regional Airport: Static display of  WWII Warbirds in the hanger and on the tarmac. Look for Warbirds in the sky as they arrive Friday night and Saturday morning.

Rides offered on a limited basis for a fee.

The venue is open on Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m-9 p.m.

Distinguished guest speakers:

Lt. Col. James Harvey: Col. Harvey is America’s 1st Top Gun, winning the competition in 1949. He was also part of the original Tuskegee Airmen in WWII who flew P-51 escort missions for bombers. Col Harvey resides in Colorado. This is Col. Harvey’s second appearance at Cars & Colors. Col Harvey speaks at the airport Saturday night, October 1, 6 – 9 p.m.

Lt. Col. James Harvey, now.

Lt. Col. James Harvey, now.


Lt. Col. Harvey at his graduation.

Lt. Col. Harvey at his graduation.


Jerry O’Rourke: O’Rourke worked for the Secret Service for 22 years and was part of the John F. Kennedy Secret Service detail in 1963. He is a Telluride native and Telluride High School graduate and still resides in Colorado. This is  O’Rourke’s second appearance at Cars & Colors. He speaks at the airport Saturday night, October 1, 6 – 9 p.m. (Look for related story, including a podcast with O’Rourke.)

Retired Secret Service agent Jerry O’Rourke now.

Retired Secret Service agent Jerry O’Rourke now.


O”Rourke with President Carter, then.

O”Rourke with President Carter, then.

Joseph Tanner: Tanner was an astronaut for NASA, flying missions in Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavor. He is one of a very few in his elite fraternity to have made several “space walks.” He also made repairs on the Hubble Telescope. Tanner recently retired as a professor at CU Boulder and still resides in Colorado. He is scheduled to speak Thursday evening, 5:30– 9:30 p.m., welcome reception, Telluride Conference Center.

Astronaut Joe Tanner (retired).

Astronaut Joe Tanner (retired).


Astronaut selfie

Astronaut selfie

Telluride area Open House Tours:

Take the opportunity to tour homes in the Telluride region. The afternoon event, sponsored by Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty and takes place Saturday, October 1, 1 – 4 p.m.

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