The Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors is taking to the skies this year, as the event will host an air show at the Telluride Regional Airport Saturday from 10-11 a.m.
Festival founder Ray Cody explained airplanes have been part of the event since the beginning five years ago, but this is the first time there will be an air show.
“We’ve added a different element this year. At the airport, we have highest elevation air event on Earth as part of our show,” he said proudly. “We’re testing the waters with it. … (Aviation) has always been a part of it, but it’s been static displays. We’re going to have an air show over Telluride.”
The Telluride Airport Board will host a free pancake breakfast before the aerial display from 8-10 a.m.
“(Airport manager) Kenny Maenpa and the airport board are the ones helping facilitate this. The airport board has been overwhelming in their support for our event,” Cody said. “They understand what we have in Telluride.”
The event, which has become a fall staple as the leaves typically change color just before the festival weekend, has grown in the half decade since Cody organized the initial Cars & Colors. He explained over 200 cars will be at this weekend’s festival, compared to 32 the initial year.
“We have a tiger by the tail. We have one of the finest automotive-motorcycle-aviation events in the whole world, and it’s not because of our car show or motorcycles or planes, it’s because of the venue that we host it in. It’s the most beautiful place on the planet,” he said.
Cody also credits festival director Christine Gamage and Cars & Colors cofounder Anita Cody with organizing everything perfectly each year.
“They run a great car show. I don’t have anything to do with it. I go to car shows for a living,” he said.
Cody’s being humble, as he literally travels around the country in the official Cars & Colors bus several months out of the year recruiting the best of the best from automotive shows.
“I travel from Pebble Beach to Amelia Island and all points in between,” he said. “I live in that darn bus about 25 weeks a year. I love it.”
The festival has certainly gained a reputation for attracting high-end cars and motorcycles. The BBC featured the festival in an episode last year and has been featured in several automotive publications.
“Throughout the span of four days, vintage, exotic, and high-end restoration vehicles are showcased throughout town. Classic and vintage motorcycles or airplanes more your taste? They’ve got those too. With four distinct Concours venues, there is something cool for everyone,” Jetset Magazine wrote.
“Our goal is not about size, it’s more about quality. The cars that we want here are the best cars in the world. We have the best cars in the world coming to Telluride. Telluride has gained the attention of those cars,” Cody said.
He added that there are plans to make the festival a weeklong regional event. This year, Corvette aficionados organized a cruise and car show on Main Street Monday and Tuesday. There’s a welcome reception, as well as the Taste of Mountain Village, Thursday from 5:30-9 p.m. in Heritage Plaza. The annual free community car show, Cool Cars on Colorado, is Friday from 4:30-7 p.m. and Saturday from 10-3 p.m. Gary Patterson, Shelby American president, will be the guest speaker at Saturday night’s Hanger 29 event at the airport from 6-9 p.m.; an event for pass and ticketholders. Other events that require a pass or ticket include the motorcycle concours and all contests. For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit carsandcolors.com.