Under the tent: On your marks | AspenTimes.com

Under the tent: On your marks

Kelly J. HayesThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Any day that begins with a run and ends with dessert is a good day. Especially if that day takes place here in Aspen.If you are reading this after 7 this morning, I’m afraid you have already missed the Food & Wine Classic Charity 5K with Bobby Flay and assorted other celebrity chefs. They are the folks in the tall, white hats who are running through the West End.But if you happen to be an early riser, you can still register between 6 and 7 at Rio Grande Park for Friday morning’s run, which starts at 7:15. It’ll cost you just $30, and you’ll get a swag bag and be a part of the very first edition of what the folks at Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Food & Wine hope will become a longtime tradition. You’d better hurry.Now, about those desserts. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who have already bought a ticket to the Last Bite Dessert Party Friday night at the Hotel Jerome, you might be out of luck for that, too. Another new event on the Food & Wine weekend calendar, this one features Bravo “Top Chef” host Gail Simmons and a host of pastry performers who are putting out the best and the sweetest of dessert concoctions. Local chefs such as the Viceroy’s Ashley Jenkins (who has been getting raves from Snowmass sweet tooths) and Susie Jimenez, fresh from her stint as a television chef, will be primping the prettiest petit fours, cupcakes and cookies that this valley has ever seen. Tickets have sold out for the 10 p.m.-to-midnight extravaganza, but you might have a friend with an in. If so, be sure to pack a toothbrush.For those who are ticketless for the above events, there is always an opportunity to run the Rio Grande Trail by your lonesome and sample some sweets at the Aspen Candy Co. on the Cooper Avenue mall. The Candy Co. girls will host a special Food & Wine event from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Friday with the Two Haute Cowgirls, who will be showcasing their specialty-flavored popcorns. No tickets are necessary.The seminars and the Grand Tastings also get rolling Friday. In the tent, look for the Best New Chefs booth. For the first time, two of the honorees will be cooking inside the tents during each of the Grand Tastings. This is a great opportunity to sample food from folks who might be legends by the time this thing celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2017.