Festivals

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Featured Festival: Rio Frio Ice Fest in Alamosa, Colorado

Where can you watch a fire and ice bonfire, run a 5K on a frozen river, celebrate a 167-year-old mountain expedition, take a polar plunge and so much more? At the Rio Frio Ice Fest in Alamosa, Colorado in the beautiful San Luis Valley.

Featured Festival, Rio Frio Ice Fest & Rio Frio on Ice 5K race. HeidiTown.com

A lot of HeidiTown stories came from our 2016 trip to Rio Frio Ice Fest, and I guarantee if you attend, you’ll have more than a few stories to tell too.

And if you want an even better story, participate in this festival. This will not only provide you with stories, but also bragging rights. After all, how many people can say they’ve ran a 5K on a frozen river? Let alone on the famous Rio Grande River.

The Rio Frio Ice Fest kicks off on Friday, January 27 with a party at the Grover Theater. This year’s festival theme, Tropical Beach, will be alive and well at this fête and throughout the weekend.

Saturday is chockablock with events starting with the Rio Frio on Ice 5K at 9 a.m.

Register for the Rio Frio on Ice 5K here.

Rio Frio on Ice, 5K at the Rio Frio Ice Fest in Alamosa. HeidiTown.com

The Rio Frio on Ice was my first 5K (read about my entire experience here). I’ve been known to start a lot of things on ice. My first-ever climbing excursion was also on ice. And while the elevation kicked my butt (Alamosa is at 7,500 feet above sea level) I had a blast, and best of all, I did not come in last in my age category.

You don’t have to run during the entire length of the Rio Frio on Ice – I walked and jogged the course, but if I can finish this race, you can too.

Overall Winners of the 2016 Rio Frio on Ice 5K, Amy Carpenter and Enrique Salcedo. HeidiTown.com

Overall Winners of the 2016 Rio Frio on Ice 5K, Amy Carpenter and Enrique Salcedo.

After the 5K, it’s time to celebrate your accomplishment. Attendees can enjoy all sorts of activities in downtown Alamosa such as live ice sculpting, contests such as a kids’ costume event with a Tropical theme, an evening fire and ice bonfire and Grub n’ Pub, a ticketed dining and drinking tour of the town. Ryan and I loved Grub n’ Pub so much that I wrote about it.

Grub & Pub in Alamosa during Rio Frio Ice Fest. HeidiTown.com

Rio Frio Ice Fest doesn’t end on Saturday. Stick around on Sunday for the pancake breakfast, Fremont Parade, Polar Plunge and Fremont Haunt, a coffin race with a twist. The Fremont Expedition (1849) lost a lot of men along the Rio Grande River in the San Luis Valley as they tried to make their way back to New Mexico. The Fremont Haunt competition re-enacts a portion of these tribulations.

Fremont Haunt coffin race at the Rio Frio Ice Fest in Alamosa. HeidiTown.com

Fremont Haunt, 2016

Rio Frio Ice Fest represents an opportunity to explore Alamosa and the surrounding area. It also offers attendees the opportunity to experience first-hand what Alamosa has to offer. It’s a truly immersive event, and I think this is what makes it so great. You don’t just see Alamosa, you experience it to the fullest during Rio Frio Ice Fest.

Featured Festival Rio Frio Ice Fest, Fire & Ice Bonfire. HeidiTown.com

Fire & Ice Bonfire at Rio Frio Ice Fest.

Rio Frio Ice Festival

Alamosa, Colorado

January 27-29, 2017

Register for the Rio Frio on Ice 5K here.

RioFrioIce.com

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Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

These Colorado Winter Festivals Will Make You Feel like a Kid Again

I love things that make me feel like a little kid again; things like magic, 50 pound bags of popcorn at Costco and fresh snow. There’s something nostalgic about being truly awed, and as we get older that feeling happens less frequently.

Three Awe-Inspiring Colorado Winter Festivals, Kids Ski Joring Leadville CO 5 - by Lake County Tourism Panel

Crystal Carnival & Ski Joring Weekend in Leadville. Photo provided by the Lake County Tourism Panel.

However, these three Colorado winter festivals are sure to amaze even the most stoic adult. And if you bring along the kids, they’ll have memories to last a lifetime.

Telluride Fire Festival

January 20-22, 2017

TellurideFireFestival.org

The fire arts seem to have gained popularity over the last five years or so. Fire performers combine the entertainment style of Cirque de Soleil with the power of combustion. It’s sort of like magic because most of us have no idea how they do what they do.

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Photo provided by Telluride Fire Festival. Photo by Ryan Bonneau.

Telluride Fire Festival is in its third year. It takes inspiration from Burning Man, and has been created by an incredible group of dedicated people in Telluride.

I attended the first-year event and I can tell you from personal experience that Telluride Fire Festival will make you feel like a kid again. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, spontaneous fire performances occur around town. From art cars to fire-breathing sculptures, it’s truly spectacular. Best of all, these events are free.

Additional ticketed events and workshops take place at various venues around town throughout Telluride Fire Festival. Explore their event calendar to learn more.

International Snow Sculpture Championships

Sculpting Week – January 24 to 28, 2017

Viewing Week – January 28 to February 5, 2017

GoBreck.com

I had heard about this Breckenridge event for years before I actually attended it in 2015, and I can honestly report that it lived up to the hype. The sheer scope of these snow sculpture is astounding, but then when you see the detail the artists are able to render in snow, it’s downright incredible.

Walking among these giant, snowy effigies gives me that spine-tingly excitement that’s a reminder of childhood.

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International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. Photo by Carl Scofield.

I recommend attending the International Snow Sculpture Championships towards the end of the sculpting period when the artists are finishing up their sculptures. Watching the sculptors work gives real insight to the difficulty of this competition. I also encourage you to visit once at night too. Darkness adds a certain level of magic to this event.   

Crystal Carnival & Ski Joring

March 3-5, 2017

LeadvilleTwinLakes.com

Last, but certainly not least, I can almost guarantee that you’ll verbalize some “oohs” and “ahhs” at Crystal Carnival in Leadville. The ski joring competition at this festival is one of the most hair raising events I’ve ever witnessed in person and I’ve watched ice climbing.

Three Awe-Inspiring Colorado Winter Festivals, Ski Joring Leadville by Lake County Tourism Panel

Crystal Carnival & Ski Joring Weekend in Leadville. Photo courtesy Lake County Tourism Panel

The ski joring competition at Crystal Carnival is the real deal. This isn’t a stunt performance for the crowds. These are real cowboys, cowgirls and skiers who come to Leadville to compete for real cash prizes and bragging rights.

Leadville’s main street, Harrison Avenue, is transformed into a snowy raceway for the ski joring competition that occurs throughout Crystal Carnival weekend.

I recommend checking the schedule and arriving early so you can get a good spot to watch, preferably around the jumps.

Other events take place during Crystal Carnival including a night mountain bike ride in the snow called the Mineral Belt Mayhem, and there’s usually an evening dance at the local Elk’s Club with a live band. However, the highlight at this festival is definitely the ski joring, so don’t miss it.

Best of HeidiTown 2016, Colorado Festivals & Travel

I used to call this annual post “Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights,” but I’m going to change it up this year because everyone loves a “Best Of” list, right? It’s a hard post for me to compose because every year seems to bring with it many incredible Colorado experiences. This makes it hard to boil an entire year down to ten major highlights, but every year I do it.

Trinidad, it's not what you think

Having a blast at Cardango, the ArtoCade’s evening, adults-only party.

This was a big year. I turned forty and we traveled a lot – to every corner of the state and the middle parts too. One of the major highlights was visiting Trinidad, Colorado (1) for ArtoCade, an art car extravaganza. This town blew us away. I love being surprised (in a good way) about a new place and I’m truly excited about the future of this friendly, quirky community.

Best of HeidiTown 2016 Colorado Travel & Festivals. Trinidad, Colorado

Trinidad, Colorado. so much potential!

Another standout experience was staying at a Never Summer (2) yurt near Cameron Pass last winter with our old dog, Xena. We’d never stayed in a yurt, let alone during winter and it was terrific. I loved the smell of the wood burning stove and the feeling of total peace as I snuggled into our yurt’s queen bed. I didn’t even mind having to use the outhouse, something I usually hate with a fierce passion. Continue reading

Fort Collins for Christmas

Considering a holiday getaway this month? Fort Collins is an excellent Colorado Christmas town. Downtown sparkles with thousands of lights and from Old Town Square to Oak Street Plaza Park, the atmosphere is merry.

Fort Collins for Christmas

This past weekend, we did one-night getaway in Fort Collins to experience the city’s holiday offerings. Before exploring the festive scene we checked into the Fernweh Inn & Hostel on Mulberry, just blocks from the excitement of downtown Fort Collins.

Some people, including my husband, Ryan, have an aversion to any place with hostel in the name. The word makes him worried that he’s going to have to share a bathroom or wash dishes to earn his keep.

Fort Collins for Christmas, the Fernweh Inn & Hostel in the snow

Fernweh is a modern-day, American hostel which offers private rooms as well as bunk rooms. Our private room, “The Loft,” was a virtual suite because the space occupied the entire upstairs of this historic, Victorian home. There was a full bathroom in the room complete with large, soaking bathtub and multiple beds, making it perfect for a family or friends. Continue reading

Brewery Lights Delight in Fort Collins, Colorado

Looking for something unique to do with the entire family this holiday season? Look no further than Brewery Lights at the Budweiser plant in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Brewery Lights Delight in Fort Collins, Colorado

Last week, I was invited to opening night at Brewery Lights which takes place Thursdays through Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. through December 30, 2016.

Ryan and I arrived early for a meet and greet with the Budweiser Clydesdales. One of the teams was in town for the weekend, and Clydesdale handler, Zane, introduced us to Frankie. At just four-years-old, Frankie stands 19 hands tall and is about 2000 lbs. He nuzzled us, looking for treats, and seemed to personify the breed’s reputation as “gentle giants.” Continue reading

Skip the Christmas Parade, Get Drunk with Elves – Colorado’s Unique Holiday Events

I started writing for a small Colorado newspaper in 2006. A year later, I started HeidiTown, as well as my magazine writing career. Therefore, I have written dozens of articles and posts about Santa Claus coming to town and Christmas parades.

Skip the Christmas Parade, Elf Crawl Littleton

Photo courtesy of City of Littleton.

I realize that it’s important to get the word out about these traditional holiday happenings, however, I’ve grown tired of writing about them. With that in mind, I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of any unique Colorado Christmas events happening over the next month and a half and I got a few fun responses that I shall share here.

First up is Elf Crawl in downtown Littleton, Colorado. If you haven’t been to Littleton’s downtown, it’s adorable. I actually used to live in the area and we’d occasionally catch shows at Town Hall Arts Center. Continue reading

44 Days of Fall in Colorado

We have 44 days of fall left, but the beautiful fall drives are over, so how do we continue to celebrate this shoulder season? I’ve got a few suggestions.

A Late Fall Getaway in Colorado

November isn’t a big getaway month for most people, but the “shoulder season” is a wonderful time to travel in Colorado. There are less cars on the roads, and unless you’re traveling on Thanksgiving, you’ll find some great hotel deals over the next 44 days.

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An elk herd near Estes Park, Colorado.

We have a tradition of doing birthday getaways in our house and since my husband’s birthday is in November, we’ve done quite a bit of fall travel in Colorado. Denver is actually one of my top picks for this time of year because the city dresses up beautifully for the holidays and it’s fun to stroll a brightly lit up downtown. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Fall Back Beer Fest 2016 in Estes Park

Destination beer festivals are just plain fun, and that’s one thing that sets Fall Back Beer Fest apart. This event is an opportunity to drink good beer in the fantastic Town of Estes Park.

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The other thing that sets Fall Back Beer Fest apart is that it’s about more than drinking beer – this festival encourages attendees to learn about beer – the beer making process, hops, tasting and more.

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A workshop on beer by Lauren Hoff at last year’s Fall Back Beer Fest.

Plus, this festival always takes place on the day that Daylight Saving Time ends, so you get an extra hour to recover, or to keep partying.

Want to Learn How to Homebrewing?

Fall Back Beer Fest is an excellent beer festival for anyone interested in homebrewing. The festival coincides with the American Homebrewers Association’s “Learn to Homebrew Day.”

Since the beginning, Fall Back Beer Fest has partnered with AHA to be an official Learn to Homebrew Day event location. Local AHA clubs come to Fall Back Beer Fest and brew onsite during the event. This is your opportunity to talk with them, learn about the club and learn about the brewing process.

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Each year, the AHA and the festival give away several homebrewing starter kits to random guests. The idea is to get people excited about all aspects of beer, which seems to be the unwritten mission of Fall Back Beer Fest.

The Rest of the Fest

Fall Back Beer Fest is hosting forty craft breweries this year including some new-to-this-fest brewers such as Wonderland Brewing Co. from Broomfield.

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This was a new-to-me brewery that showed up at FBBF last year.

In the past, a lot of brewers show up at this event – they like destination beer festivals too. This is nice for festival goers because they can meet and chat with the brewers, a rarer and rarer opportunity in the beer festival world, especially during the summer when breweries are stretched thin by the sheer number of festivals occurring on any given weekend.

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In addition to the beer, The Wooks, a Kentucky rhythm and bluegrass band and 2016 RockyGrass band contest winners, will be providing entertainment at Fall Back Beer Fest. Festival food will be supplied by a variety of food trucks, including Umami Mobile Eatery from Fort Collins.

Estes Park for the Win

Estes Park is a wonderful place to visit in the fall. Last year, for Fall Back Beer Fest, we stayed at The Rustic Acre. Their vacation homes are perfect to share with friends and are within easy walking distance of the fest. Read about our getaway here.

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A large held of elk, including babies, walk through Rustic Acres last year when we stayed during Fall Back Beer Fest.

Visit this page, for a list of Estes Park hotels that are offering weekend discounts for folks attending Fall Back Beer Fest 2016.

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Last year, the fine ladies from Feisty Spirits showed up with their bier schnapps. You just never know who you’ll run into at FBBF.

I’ve attended Fall Back Beer Festival for a number of years now and count it among my favorite beer festivals in Colorado. Hope to see you there!

Please note that Hwy 34 from Loveland to Estes Park is closed due to construction this fall and winter. Those driving from Cheyenne and Northern Colorado to FBBF will need to take the route through Lyons via Hwy 66.

Fall Back Beer Fest

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park Events Complex

*shuttles available from downtown

VIP Presale $60 / at the gate $70

GA Presale $35 / at the gate $40

DD Presale $10 / at the gate $10

Purchase Tickets Here

FallBackBeerFest.com

Join this fest on Facebook

Follow this fest on Twitter

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Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

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Telluride Blues & Brews in Review & Gondola Stories

I don’t always write a festival recap, but after returning from an outrageously fun weekend at Telluride Blues & Brews, I thought a review was in order, especially since I know some of my readers have contemplated attending this event, but haven’t done so yet.

Telluride Blues & Brews in Review & Gondola Stories

Ryan and I sailed into Telluride at 4 p.m. on Friday. We checked into Peaks Resort & Spa, my favorite hotel in Telluride, and boarded the gondola. Since we were staying in Mountain Village and Telluride Blues & Brews is in town park, we rode the gondola a lot during our 3-night stay, which resulted in a few stories.

Telluride Gondola Stories

The free gondola runs between Mountain Village and the town of Telluride, and I’m well acquainted with it. I love this gondola ride because 9 out of 10 times, I engage in a fun conversation with other riders. I think this gondola inspires conversation because at 15 minutes in length, it’s just long enough that people start to feel comfortable with the strangers around them. Continue reading

Featured Festival: NoCo Mini Maker Faire 2016

Maker

Noun

1. A person or thing that makes or produces something

“A cabinetmaker”

          Synonyms; creator, manufacturer, constructor, builder, producer, fabricator, inventor, architect, designer

         “The makers of fine furniture”

2. God; the Creator

noco_mmf_logos_logo

I have a real affinity for makers. After all, my husband designs and builds furniture, so “making stuff” plays an important role in our lives.

A decade ago, the first Maker Faire was held in California. Since then, the movement has grown, and today there are maker faires across the world. A Maker Faire is a celebration of arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the DIY mindset.

The 4th NoCo Mini Maker Faire, held in Loveland, Colorado, continues to grow, and with growth comes change. This year, the event is being held in a new location, inside the First National Bank Building at The Ranch Events Complex.

More than 100 Makers converge on Loveland for this event, which kicks off with an adults-only party on Friday, October 7, called Sparks & Spirits. Cocktails will be provided by local distillers and entertainers include Rubens Tube fire and music, interactive light art from Solid State Depot and Mystica body paint.

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Maker Faire Mystica body paint

One of my favorite gin makers, Golden Moon Distillery, will be there, along with a nice lineup of other Colorado makers of fine spirits such as Syntax Spirits from Greeley. Distiller, Heather Bean, makes small-batch vodka, whiskey and rum from grain-to-glass using all Colorado ingredients.

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Maker Faire Sparks & Spirits fire art

The Noco Mini Maker Faire is an family affair. On Saturday and Sunday, children are more than welcome and in fact, encouraged to attend. A maker faire is an excellent place for a inquisitive child. 

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Makers Faire is for children too

Attendees will be inspired, awed and intrigued. Some makers are students, while others are adults. Exhibits include everything from social robotics from Robauto to creative music makers, Serenity Forge. In addition, there will be several community art projects including a Chalkboard Art Car where guests can give voice to their creative expression. And fresh from Burning Man, no one will be able to miss the 30-foot DaVinci Flying Machine.

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Attendees can expect to spend hours strolling through the event, chatting with makers and getting hands on with various projects and games.

A maker event is where the left and right brain merge to create amazing, innovative and beautiful things.

NoCo Mini Maker Faire

October 8-9, 2016

Location: The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland, Colorado

Advanced ticket prices $10 adults, $6 child/student

Sparks & Spirits, Friday evening, October 7

Advanced ticket price $50

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

MakerFaireNoCo.com

Join this event on Facebook

Follow @NocoMakerFaire on Twitter

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Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

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