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

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.

FractalTribePerformer#2ByRyanBonneau (1)

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

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.

Three Awe-Inspiring Colorado Winter Festivals_CarlScofield

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

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.

Spring slopeside festivals in Colorado

Whether you ski or not, Colorado’s ski resorts put on fabulous springtime, slopeside parties that are worth a trip to the mountains. Nearly every resort has some sort of spring festival; some mountains host bands and others host competitions such as the Cardboard Classic in Steamboat Springs.

The Cardboard Classic, held during Steamboat’s Springalicious Festival, is a competition wherein teams build cardboard contraptions to get themselves down the mountain, and people get very creative. I’ve seen everything from a huge cardboard boat to a cardboard Volkswagen bug.

A number of years ago, I competed in the Cardboard Classic with some friends. We built a shotski and each of us were a different type of shot.

Cardboard Classic in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Cardboard Classic, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The Springalicious Festivals runs the first two weekends in April and you’ll find great lodging deals during the event that includes bands, a pond skimming competition and more. Continue reading

Spring is one month away: How to lift your mood during the doldrums of winter

It’s always about this time of year when Coloradans are lulled into the belief that spring is just around the corner, and then, in comes March, Colorado’s snowiest month.

Have you been wondering how you’re going to make it through the doldrums of winter? Never fear, the Mayor’s here, and I’ve got some suggestions that should put a smile on your face as the last few weeks of winter tick down.

Fantastic March festivals in Colorado

How to lift your mood during the doldrums of winter. Crystal Carnival & Skijoring Weekend in Leadville, CO.

There are two fantastic March festivals that will help alleviate your wintertime woes. First up, Crystal Carnival & Skijoring Weekend in Leadville. We attended for the first time last year (I wrote about our experience here).

Forget the X-Games, if you really want to be wowed by athletes who push the boundaries, you must visit Leadville during the Skijoring Championships, March 5-6, 2016, during Crystal Carnival. Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day in Colorado

As a natural redhead with the freckles to prove it, I love St. Patrick’s Day. And while I’ve technically got more Scottish than Irish blood running through my veins, on St. Patrick’s Day I’m all Irish, along with everyone else in the United State.

We’re heading to a private St. Patrick’s Day party on Saturday night – invited by Clan McCarthy – we’re talking homemade corn beef & hash and the whole nine yards, but I don’t have plans for Saturday during the day.

Since I’m personally trying to decide on which St. Patrick’s Day parade or party to attend this weekend I thought I’d compile a quick list of as many as I can find so that you can make an educated decision as well.

The Mayor and a Leprachaun. St. Patrick's Day in Colorado.

The Mayor of HeidiTown (that’s me) getting a kiss from a Leprechaun.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, falls on a Tuesday this year, so community parades and parties are scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Denver, Colorado on St. Patrick’s Day

Denver loves St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the city has been celebrating the holiday since 1889, but for the past 50 years a team of passionate volunteers, officially incorporated as the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, puts on a huge parade that brings thousands to downtown.

The parade kicks off at 19th St. and Wynkoop at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.   Continue reading

Featured Festival: Great Plates, Fort Collins, Colorado

Good food for a great price with proceeds going to a worthy cause, that’s what Great Plates is all about. The two-week long culinary event features 30 plus restaurants and raises money for the Food Bank of Larimer County – a substantial amount of money. Last year’s event raised $35,000 and the organizers hope to beat that amount by raising $40,000 this year.

Great Plates-logo-2013

It works like this, the participating restaurants offer up a special menu for $25. It might be a fancy three course meal for one or a two course meal for two, but you’ll only pay $25 plus tip. It’s a steal of a deal and you are eating for a good cause.

While Great Plates is the perfect opportunity to get out of your restaurant rut and try something new, it’s also an opportunity to visit your favorite joints as well. We always take advantage of the Coopersmith’s pizza and beer special on the poolside part of the restaurant. For $25 you can choose an order of nachos and large specialty pizza (El Diablo is our fav) or two topping pizza PLUS a pitcher of beer or soda.

El Diablo - Chipotle sauce, smoked chicken, roasted garlic potatoes, red onion and jalapeños on a cracked black pepper crust at Coopersmiths in Fort Collins.

El Diablo pizza at Coopersmith’s. Photo used with permission.

We also use Great Plates as an excuse to get together with friends by utilizing the special at Washington’s Sports Bar & Grill that includes four half pound hamburgers, four sides and four domestic beers, well cocktails or sodas for $25. This is the deal of the century for what I consider one of the best hamburgers in Colorado. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Fort Collins, Colorado)

St. Pats Fort Collins parade picture

Full disclosure: As a redhead with an Irish grandmother, I’m a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day. BIG.

Last year I finally attended the Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Fort Collins, Colorado, and it’s a heck of a good time.

This is one of Fort Collins’ biggest parties of the year, with half the town coming out to witness the huge parade and after party in Old Town Square. Downtown Fort Collins literally becomes a sea of green, including the beer.

A sea of green in downtown Fort Collins for St. Patrick's Day 2012 HeidiTown

When we arrived in Fort Collins last St. Patty’s Day, Ryan and I were amazed to find the streets full of parade fans, and for good reason. It’s a premiere parade, with participates sticking with the theme of green, green, green. The streets get full, so get there early to find prime parade watching territory.

Families, college kids and leashed dogs all come together to celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year.

The best part of this event, aside from the parade, are the bands that play in Old Town Square. Fort Collins keeps it authentic with Irish bands and pipe bands.

The pipers at St. Patrick's Day in Fort Collins 2012 HeidiTown

This year, stick around after the parade, stick around downtown to enjoy music with Irish bands such as Gobs O’Phun, The Commoners and TribU2, a U2 Tribute band. Guinness will be flowing along with Odells and green beer in Old Town Square. In addition you’ll find Irish food, green cotton candy, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Whiskey.

I’m not normally a fan of green beer, because it’s weird and not authentically Irish, however, last year we indulged and enjoyed our green beers.

Green beer in Old Town St. Patrick's in Fort Collins HeidiTown

This year the parade features over 80 floats and Colorado State University’s own Dr. Temple Grandin is the parade Grand Marshall.

Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Fort Collins, Colorado

March 16, 2013

Parade route & more info can be found at

HeidiTown Gives Back: Disabled Resource Service (DRS), Fort Collins, Colorado

WineFest_logo (1)It’s the first Monday of the month and that means it’s time to introduce the recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back. Each month a different Colorado-based charity is picked to receive free ad space on and a blog post about their organization.

I chose  Disabled Resource Service (DRS) this month because their biggest event of the year is on March 22, 2013, and I wanted to help them spread the word.

Because of DRS’ huge wine fest held annually in Fort Collins, they’ve been on my radar for a number of years. The organization helps people with all types of disabilities how live in Larimer and Jackson counties. The goal of DRS is for people with disabilities to achieve maximum independence.

Annually, nearly 6000 people benefit from their services. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Leadville Ski Joring Weekend (Leadville, Colorado, March 2-3, 2013)

Skijoring in Leadville at Crystal Carnival

Skijoring competition during in Leadville, Colorado. Photo by Steve Sunday. (

One of my favorite memories is waking up to six inches of fresh snow on my birthday, October 10, 2007. We were staying in Leadville, Colorado the highest town in the United States at 10,000 feet above sea level.

This small town provides a uniquely Colorado experience for several reasons. First, there’s no place like Leadville and when I say it’s one-of-a-kind, I mean it. Colorful characters, both past and present and colorful stories, both historical and modern day, plus lots of snow – that’s Leadville in a nutshell.

Leadville Ski Joring Weekend is March 2-3, 2012. Ski joring is the Scandinavian word for ski driving, and in Scandinavia individuals would ski behind reindeer as a method of transportation. More than a half century ago, two men from Leadville witnesses ski joring in Steamboat Springs and brought it back to Leadville where, in 1948, it became a serious competition.

Today, the Leadville Ski Joring completion is considered the preeminent event in the sport and has a $1,000 purse. If you’ve never watched skijoring, you in for a treat – watch the video from PLUM TV at the bottom of this post to get a taste of what it involves.

The event poster gives all the details on the ski joring events taking place in downtown Leadville. Click image to enlarge.

Leadville Skijoring poster 2013

For families that choose to make a weekend out of the event, Leadville has much to offer in the way of wintertime fun. There’s the groomed, free Dutch Henri Sledding Hill where families can either bring their own sleds (no metal allowed) or rent tubes for $7 on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hill is open every day from dawn to dusk.

There is also the 30,000 square foot outdoor Leiter Ice Skating Rink, an affordable way to spend the afternoon. Skate rentals plus skate time is just $3.25 for children and $4.25 for adults. Ice rink is open 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday and includes a warming hut, snack bar and sound system.

The Mineral Belt Trail is free, and is 12 miles of groomed trail for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In fact, Leadville has a total of 50 miles of cross country skiing trails, including 12 kilometers of groomed trails on the golf course.

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. This is the only federally chartered non-profit museum and if mining sounds boring to you, it did to me too. However, this museum is really impressive. My husband wanted to go and I tagged along, and I was so glad that I did.  Find them online at

Leadville Ski Joring Weekend

March 2-3, 2013


Top 3 places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Colorado

This is a holiday rooted in Christianity, but today it’s better known for green beer and corn beef and cabbage. March 17 is the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death in the fifth century and the Irish have celebrated this date for over a thousand years. While Irish Catholics observe the holiday by attending church, Americans observe this holiday by going to the pub.

As you already know, the Mayor is a huge fan of St. Patrick’s Day. And I don’t just like the green beer. I really enjoy some authentic Irish tunes and an excellent Irish whiskey. It’s easy to find a party on St. Pat’s, but not easy to find one that actually feels Irish.

Here are my picks for best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Colorado.   If you have a favorite, please share it in the comment section.


Patrick’s Irish Pub

901 8th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80631

Mulligan’s Pub & Restaurant

2439 S. College Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Mike O’Shay’s Restaurant & Ale House

512 Main Street
Longmont, CO 80501



St. Patrick’s Day in Fort Collins, Colorado

The Mayor celebrates St. Patrick's Day a top a Colorado mountain.

The Mayor celebrates St. Patrick's Day a top a Colorado mountain. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer. All rights rserved.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I’m not exactly sure why. Despite having Irish roots my family never celebrated St. Pat’s and we aren’t even Catholic. Maybe it has something to do with being a redhead. I’ve always felt as though it’s a holiday dedicated to those of the ginger persuasion.

Maybe it has something to do with my love of Irish music, Irish whiskey, and nearly everything else associated with the Green Isle. Whatever the reason, I really, really love St. Patrick’s Day!

So without further adieu here’s what’s in store for you this St. Patrick’s Day in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is schedule for Saturday, March 12 at 10 a.m. The parade starts on Walnut Street, turns south on College Avenue then east on Magnolia Street, then north on Remington.

This parade been a popular Fort Collins tradition for two decades, and volunteers make the entire event happen. Crowds of thousands line the streets to cheer on their favorite floats. The St. Patrick’s Day themed floats will be judged by a community panel to determine who wins 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Other green events will be going on around Northern Colorado as well. On Saturday, March 12, Boomer Music Co. on South Mason is hosting Another Jig Will Do: Celtic Music Workshops with Steve Eulberg. Learn to play the mandolin, mountain and hammered dulcimers and guitar. The workshops are followed by a free Ceilidh, also known as an Irish jam session. For more information call (970) 223-2424.

Also on Saturday the McTeggart Irish Dancers will make a stop at Gulley Greenhouse & Garden Center on South Shields. Watch these high steppers strut their stuff from 2-2:30 p.m.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, many of Fort Collins’ breweries will be celebrating the holiday with festivities. Check each individual breweries event calendar for more information.

Lots of area restaurants will be featuring corn beef and cabbage on their menus on the 17th, and many area bars will be serving green beer.

If you know of another St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Fort Collins or Northern Colorado, please share it in the comment section.

Check back with next Monday for the Mayor’s picks for the Best Places to Celebrate St. Pat’s in Northern Colorado.

This post also appearing at Beet

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