November

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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Featured Festival: Denver Christkindl Market 2015

I love visiting Denver during the holidays. The city literally twinkles with Christmas cheer, especially the Denver Christkindl Market. As many of you know, we’re longtime lovers of this European-style Christmas market that sets up shop in Skyline Park in downtown Denver each holiday season.

Christmas lights at the Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

The market is a throwback to Christmas days of old. It’s fashioned after traditional European Christmas Markets that have a long history dating back to the Middle Ages, according to Wikipedia and other online sources.

Denver’s market isn’t quite that old, but it has become wildly popular over the last several years. The word has gotten out and visiting the market has become a tradition for many families, including mine.

Visitors to the market will find themselves transported to another place and time. Purchase a hot pretzel, sugary or salty, and browse the artisan stalls.

Beautiful sweaters at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Last year we bought my niece a brightly lit hanging paper star that she immediately asked “Uncle Ryan” to hand from her bedroom ceiling. Several years ago we purchased a beautiful German lace scarf for my mother. It is dyed a deep red and she cherishes it.

stars at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Eventually visitors to the market will find themselves in front of the Entertainment Tent. This warm and festively decorated tent serves as a waypoint for visitors. Here they can enjoy a beer, gluehwein, German mulled wine or schnapps. German music and dancers are on the Entertainment Tent stage throughout the festival. See the entertainment lineup here.

dancing kids at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Last but not least, visitors to the market can purchase a variety of European-inspired cuisine. From wienerschnitzel to hot pierogis – there’s something for every taste at the Denver Christkindl Market. My favorite is Chef Neuhold’s smoked salmon served with hot German potato salad. I get it every year at the Market and at the Biergarten Festival in Morrison every summer.

Heidi serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market. HeidiTown.com

This year, market guests can win prizes each day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Just be sure to pick up a free raffle ticket and you’ll potentially win a wonderful gift from one of the market’s vendors. A different gift will be given away each day.

Denver Christkindl Market

Skyline Park, 16th St. Mall & Arapahoe St., Denver, Colorado

FREE ADMISSION

November 20 through December 23, 2015

Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Closing at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day

DenverChristkindlMarket.com

Join the Market on Facebook

Follow the Market 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.

Holiday happenings in the Mile High City

I’m a small town girl at heart, but I love visiting cities during Christmastime and Denver is a great Christmas city. A stroll through downtown Denver during November and December is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

In addition to the lights and horse and carriage rides, Denver has two wonderful Christmas traditions; the Denver Christkindl Market and the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. It’s easy to do these two things on the same outing.

Heidi serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market. HeidiTown.com

Heidi (not the Mayor of HeidiTown) serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market.

The Denver Christkindl Market is a longtime tradition in our family. We do a good portion of our Christmas shopping there and enjoy a German dinner under the Entertainment Tent. The ice rink, located across the street, is a wonderful excursion for the little ones, or even a date night, although watch out for kiddos, they’re abundant. Continue reading

Fall beer festivals in Colorado

Fall Back Beer Fest 2014. HeidiTown (1)The Great American Beer Festival may be over, but that doesn’t mean Coloradans stop celebrating craft beer. We celebrate all year long.

Here are a few fall beer festivals that are sure to tickle your taste buds.

Fall Back Beer Festival, Estes Park, October 31, 2015

FallBackBeerFest.com

Ryan and I attended this event last year and it was one of our favorite festivals of last year. Held at the new Estes Park Events Center & Pavilion, what sets this festival apart are the educational seminars and home brewing demonstrations.

This is a Sip & Learn type of beer festival and I highly approve of this type of format. Of course, you can just come and drink, but I’d encourage you to take advantage of the free seminars. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Denver Christkindl Market 2014

The Denver Christkindl Market is underway at Skyline Park in downtown Denver and this lively European style Christmas market has become a tradition in our house and something we eagerly look forward to every holiday season.

Why do we love it?

Truly Unique Shopping

Tired of strolling the mall for the perfect gift? The Christkindl Market has vendors selling goods that you won’t find anywhere else. I’m not much of a shopper, but even I love browsing the Christkindl Market.  Last year I found a gorgeous German lace scarf for my mother and colorful nesting dolls for our niece. Need a cuckoo clock? They’ve got those too.

Denver Christkindl Market at night

The Denver Christkindl Market comes alive after dark. Twinkling lights add to the festive mood. Photo courtesy of the German American Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter.

Unique Food & Drink

As fun as it is to shop at the Denver Christkindl Market, I really go for the food and drink.  Glühwein, a traditional German mulled wine, is my favorite and it flows freely under the Entertainment Tent at the market.  My husband, Ryan, prefers the German beers that are also sold under the tent. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Fall Back Beer Fest, Estes Park

Fall Back Beer Festival LogoThink the beer festival season is over? Think again. Beer festivals have become a year round tradition here in Colorado and there’s a great one just around the corner.

When I preview a beer event, I try to find something unique about the festival. After all, beer events are, on the whole, quite similar. You go, you taste beer, you chat up the brewers and taste more beer and that’s about it.

So while investigating Fall Back Beer Fest, I wanted to know what set this festival apart and I discovered that it’s the opportunity for learning.

Fall Back Beer Fest in the village of Estes Park, Colorado features 100+ beers being poured by the brewers themselves. This in itself is unique. With beer events taking place nearly every weekend, the brewers have to pick and choose where they will go and at today’s Colorado beer fests you won’t always find the brewers in attendance.

This is a bit of a shame because I find that talking to the brewers truly enhances my beer festival experience.

the proper beer glass for the proper beer

Learn what beer style should go in what beer glass in the Elite Brands of Colorado seminar.

However, I think what truly sets Fall Back Beer Fest apart is the seminars. If you are a home brewer, this will be the one fest you don’t want to miss this fall/winter. After all, this event coincides with the American Homebrewers Associations Annual Learn to Brew Day. To help celebrate a number of AHA sanctioned homebrewing clubs will be at this festival and will be brewing publicly.

There are several seminars including one by my longtime friend, Napa of Beer. They will offer a 5 Senses Class that will help you explore the tasting process and gain appreciation for the scientific process of brewing.

There’s also a class on proper beer glass + beer type beer pairings. Bob Gregg of Elite Brands of Colorado will also host a pour off to see what seminar guest can pour the best glass of beer. There are other learning opportunities too such as seminars about the world of yeast, the world of hops and beer food pairings.

Downtown Estes Park and the Continental Divide as seen from the ruins of William Byer's cabin. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

So come to Fall Back Beer Fest ready to drink (and learn) about good beer. I’ll be there, and I’m looking forward to spending a little extra time in Estes Park. In fact, you’ll find me devouring some trout pizza at Poppy’s after the event.

Fall Back Beer Fest

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Estes Park Events Center & Pavilion

VIP Admission: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

General Admission: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Dinner with the brewers: 5:30

Buy tickets at: FallBackBeerFest.com

Join Fall Back Beer Fest on Facebook

Noteworthy: A FREE Shuttle will take festival goers to and from the event complex to downtown Estes Park.

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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.

Three ways to celebrate fall in Colorado

I love fall, and I adore fall in Colorado. We may not have the reputation of places like New England or Wisconsin, but autumn in Colorado is quite grand, and perhaps it’s been overlooked for too long.

Monarch Pass on September 21, 2014. HeidiTown.com

Monarch Pass on September 21, 2014.   Shot through the car window with my phone because we were in a big hurry to make it to civilization so that we could watch the Bronco game. I really should have stopped and taken a photo with my real camera.

The usual way to celebrate fall in Colorado is to go leaf peeping. Every online and print publication has articles about it; I published my 3-part Colorado fall travel series  earlier this month.

I decided to find some additional ways that you can experience and celebrate all the wonderful things Colorado has to offer during this season of change.

1. EAT. This is the time of year to taste the bounty of Colorado’s summertime harvest and there’s no better place to do that then at The Living Farm Café in Paonia, Colorado. I previously wrote about my experiences at this café and farm here. Continue reading

Getting my geek on at Rocky Mountain Con Cosplay Contest

Cosplay contestants at Rocky Mountain Con 2013, in Denver, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Cosplay contestants at Rocky Mountain Con 2013, in Denver, Colorado.

Note from the Mayor: Rocky Mountain Con 2014 is October 25-26.

Okay, I’m just going to go ahead and admit it – I’m a bit of a geek. It’s not a full-time gig for me, but I dabble in Geekdom. Raised on Star Trek and various British sci-fi shows, such as Red Dwarf, there was no way I could have reached adulthood without having a little geekiness rub off on me.

The thing that sealed the deal, however, was marrying my husband, Ryan. He’s not your stereotypical geek – he doesn’t work on computers all day and he loves to watch and play sports, however, he’s a child of the 80s. He spent a lot of time in the mall’s arcade as a kid, he’s a brilliant artist who spent most of his time in school sketching fantasy characters, he spent time playing Magic (the card game) as a young man, he absolutely adores game of all kinds, from video to table, Lord of the Rings is his favorite book, and I think you get the picture. Continue reading

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