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Sitting on our room’s patio at the Table Mountain Inn, we felt a million miles away from the big city. This is the best part of a visit to Golden, Colorado; it is a small town that’s so close to Denver metro and the Front Range that you’ll hardly see your fuel indicator move on a drive there.

Welcome to Golden Sign HeidiTown.com

We were in town to attend the Golden Music Festival, but this 2-day itinerary works for whatever happens to bring you to Golden.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon, checked into our hotel and decided to indulge in nachos and a couple gigantic margaritas on Table Mountain Inn’s restaurant’s new patio. A great idea because it was happy hour and everything was just $5, plus the nachos were impressive.

Tour Miller Coors Brewery

After our snack, we walked the short distance to Coors for our VIP tour. This was my first-ever big brewery tour and it was an eye-opener. The scale on which Miller Coors brews beer is staggering. My husband kept referencing “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” as we gawked at huge copper kettles and ginormous two story vats of bubbly stuff. Continue Reading…

Beer at the Lyons Fork HeidiTown

Enjoying a couple beers on the patio of the Lyons Fork in Lyons, Colorado.

It’s time for another HeidiTown segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.

June has five weekends, so that’s changing up my recording schedule. After this segment, I won’t be back on the radio until July 3rd, so this week’s segment covers the rest of June.

As always, in order to get the most out of HeidiTown, I encourage you to visit the town’s block party on Facebook and subscribe to HeidiTown.com here.

Without further ado, listen NOW to the HeidiTown segment on KRFC.

Colorado Brewer's Festival

The Mayor’s husband merrily displays our tasting glasses at Colorado Brewers’ Festival.

So you’ve decided to spend a weekend in Fort Collins – a very good choice, and even better if you plan your stay around Colorado Brewers’ Festival, June 22-23, 2013. In its 24th year, this is one of the first Colorado brew fests and my favorite. With multiple music stages, lots of shade and of course, lots and lots of beer, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival ticks all the right boxes on my What Makes a Great Festival list.

Instead of giving you a specific schedule, I’m going to throw out a bunch of my Fort Collins favorites and let you organize your own fabulous weekend. So without further ado, here’s my 3-day Fort Collins itinerary during Colorado’s Brewers’ Festival.

Stay in Fort Collins

As a fan of boutique, downtown hotels, The Armstrong Hotel is my recommendation for a weekend stay in Fort Collins. This historic property is within walking distance of restaurants, museums, galleries, theaters and, of course, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival.

The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado HeidiTown.com

The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I took my husband to The Armstrong for his birthday a number of years ago, and we were delighted to find charming rooms that really are one-of-a-kind. Our room was huge and had a bright and cheery, contemporary sort of feel.  Continue Reading…

ice rink at Estes Park Winter Festival

Ice rink at the Estes Park Winter Festival in 2012. This year's event is Jan. 18-21, 2013.

After a week off, it’s time for another installment of the Mayor on KRFC 88.9 FM, community public radio in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Starting in February, these shows will occur on the 1st and 3rd week of each month. Life is just getting too crazy to do a show each and every week.

Remember, if you’d like to catch the show on the radio, I’m on at 5:55 p.m. on Wednesdays, immediately before Bikes & Beer and on Fridays at 5 p.m.

On this week’s segment I talk about what I’m up to this week – it’s ULLR FESTIVAL – and preview one of my favorite winter festivals in Colorado.

LISTEN HERE.

 

It has been an AMAZING year here in HeidiTown…

and 2013 is going to be even better.

I have so many great memories from this past year, like emceeing a freezing/cold/snowy Berthoud Oktoberfest, attending the Great American Beer Festival for the first time and speaking multiple times at Metropolitan State University. There were some real standout moments however, so without further ado, here are my Top 10 Memories from the Mayor of HeidiTown, Colorado for 2012 (in pictures):

March – MyHandleBar HeidiTown ride in Fort Collins, Colorado

 My Handle Bar Ride March 2012 HeidiTown.com

May – The HeidiTown banners are revealed

 HeidiTown Banners May 2012

June – Champagne in the gondola & dining at the top of Keystone Resort during TBEX

 Champagne on the gondola in Keystone for TBEX June 2012 HeidiTown.com

June – Being a judge at the kick-off of Loveland Loves BBQ , Bands & Brews

 Haivng a laugh with Lauren Hoff at kick off for Loveland Loves BBQ Brews & Bands June 2012 HeidiTown.com

July – Gorging ourselves on food cart delights & wine at Unwined Denver

 Cupcakes from Denver Cupcake Truck at Unwined Denver 2012

July – Enjoying a really big pretzel and German dancing with my main squeeze at the Biergarten Festival

 Biergarten festival big pretzel July 2012 HeidiTown.com

August – My first hot air balloon ride at Sweetheart Balloon Rally in Loveland

 Sweetheart Balloon Rally August 2012 HeidiTown.com

August – Ziplining at Copper Mountain & riding the chairlift with beers

 zip lining at Copper Mountain HeidiTown August 2012

October – Staying at One Steamboat Place for the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Steamboat Springs (via Moving Mountains Chalet)

One Steamboat Place Diamond Peak

December – Laughing our butts off at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum & winning on Elvis at The Rush Casino

 The Rush Casino Cripple Creek December 2012 HeidiTown.com

  Thank you to everyone who has helped make this year so special & now? Bring on 2013!

P.S. A special thank you to my husband, Ryan, the person I most enjoy taking adventures with – now and always!

A grand welcome to the market by Ms. Laura Kantwerk.

A grand welcome to the market by Ms. Laura Kantwerk. Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

It seems rather appropriate for the Mayor of a place called HeidiTown to have a connection to the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter. Full disclosure: This organization has been advertising their events with HeidiTown for a while now and it’s a match made in heaven.

This organization puts together well-organized and top-notch events that I am more than happy to slap my endorsement on. Their Biergarten Festival is a summer party my husband and I look forward to every year.

The GACC-CO’s winter event is the Denver Christkindl Market. In operation for 12 years, this year there’s a new look, but the market hasn’t lost its intimate, European feel.

Christkindl markets have deep roots in Germany where the oldest recorded Christmas market dates back to 1310 in Munich. Held in front of churches, the markets were often part of a person’s church visit. Today, these markets are still held in town squares across Germany.

Tour the Denver Christkindl Market to find unique, handmade gifts for nearly everyone on your list. I found lots of knit hats and beautiful artisan jewelry that I’d love to find under the tree this Christmas.

Pastries at the Denver Christkindl Market

Pastries at the Denver Christkindl Market.

The best part of the market, in my illustrious opinion, is the food and the beer/entertainment tent. I’d recommend coming hungry, having some delicious European-style food and a beer or two and then going shopping.

While we were visiting the beer tent last weekend, the Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock were peforming and their authentic German dances impressed the crowd, me included. Under the tent you’ll find a full lineup of entertainment on the weekday evenings and weekends.

Sipping a beer or gluehwein (spiced wine), you’ll be transported to a different time and place, and this is what I love the most about the Denver Christkindl Market and the Biergarten Festival – it’s a chance to experience a little German culture right here in Colorado. Our state is rich with German heritage, but we don’t always get a chance to see it, taste it and feel it in action. I applaud the German Chamber of Commerce – Colorado Chapter for keeping this culture alive and well.

Keep in mind that the market is a wonderful event for children – from entertainment to delicious pastries, make the Denver Christkindl Market a part of their childhood memories this Christmas.

chalet dancers at Denver Christkindl Market

Chalet Dancers from Castle Rock, Colorado.

Denver Christkindl Market

Skyline Park (16th & Arapaho)

November 23 to December 22, 2012

Sunday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Join the Denver Christkindl Market on Facebook

www.denverchristkindlmarket.com

HeidiTown is about festivals, events and destinations in Colorado, and this post falls under the “events” category. Last month, we were invited to a friend’s birthday party at one of these new drink while you paint studios that are popping up all over the country. Google “paint & drink studios” and you’ll get about 1 million results.

Ryan's painting in progress

My husband's painting in progress. Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer.

When we got invited to this party, I was not exactly excited. I am a creative person, but I am not an artist. I draw stick people and bubble flowers. The fact that I could drink wine while painting, however, made the idea more bearable.

The concept behind this type of event is to expose people to painting in a relaxed and nonthreatening environment. For the price of admission (usually between $30 and $50) attendees get a blank canvas and the use of the studio’s paint and paint brushes. A teacher stands at the front of the room and walks the group through a painting, step by step. Drinks are available for purchase – wine, beer and even cocktails at some establishments.

Our session was on a busy weekend evening and every chair in the place was full. Our birthday party of six, each a husband/wife team, had three professional artists in the mix, including a successful graphic designer, an art teacher and my husband, a furniture designer.

getting ready to paint at studio vino

My blank canvas & wine at the ready.

As someone who draws at a six-year-old level, this made the evening even more daunting, but I ordered a glass of wine, squirted paint on my paper plate palate and got ready to make some art, or something akin to art.

The painting we were to produce on this evening was called Twinkle Tree, and looked like something from a Dr. Seuss book. Once things got underway, and I started working on my second glass of wine, things began looking up, not because I was good at this – I am not – but because it was a blast.

An hour or two later, everyone in the room had completed a painting that looked more or less like Twinkle Tree. Of course, some of the artists in our group had given the tree their own amazing twist – show offs.

close up of ryans painting at studio vino

My husband's finished piece was one of the best of the night, although I may be bias.

I don’t think this is something I’d ever choose to do by myself, but with a group, it’s an entertaining way to spend an evening. The painting that I created won’t ever find its way on to the Antique Roadshow, and in fact, probably won’t even make it on my own wall, but despite my apprehension, it turns out that painting and drinking wine is a lot of fun. I highly recommend this event for your next girls’ night, birthday party or date night.

painting night with friends at studio vino

The works of art produced by our group at Studio Vino.

NOTE: We painted at Studio Vino in Loveland, Colorado. Find them online at StudioVino.biz, or join them on Facebook here.

Oktoberfest GingerbreadIt’s time for another segment of HeidiTown on the radio. If your curious about when these air, you can hear me at noonish on Wednesdays and during your drive home on Fridays around 5:30 p.m. on KRFC 88.9 FM.

Some of the info in this week’s segment will seem like old news to my avid readers, because I’ve already written about Berthoud Oktoberfest on previous occasions, but it will be new information for my radio audience.

This radio show also has some advice on traveling in Colorado during the fall. Both my birthday and my husband’s birthday are in the fall, and we tend to do weekend getaways to celebrate, so we’ve learned a lot about traveling the state during this time of year.

Listen to this week’s segment HERE.

Volkstanzgruppe Dancers at Oktoberfest in Greeley, Colorado

The Volkstanzgruppe Dancers entertained the crowd and gave free lessons. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer.

This is not the first time I’ve mentioned the Greeley Oktoberfest on HeidiTown, and long before they became an advertiser here, I thought this was one of the best Oktoberfest in Colorado. One of the reasons this fest is so successful is that the entire Greeley community is invested and comes out to the party.

This year’s fest runs Friday, September 28 through Saturday, the 29th.

Greeley Oktoberfest is a signature event in Northern Colorado, and there are lots of reasons why. Admission is free and families can come and stay all day without anyone getting bored.

There’s a full lineup of entertainment for all ages, including the always popular beer pong with giant balls and buckets. It’s a hoot and Ryan and I totally got addicted to it when we played.

This is a huge festival and it takes up nearly all of Lincoln Park in the heart of historic, downtown Greeley.

The event kicks off Friday evening, September 28, at 5:30 p.m. with the Tom Allan Grengs Polka Band. From 7:30 to 10 p.m. BeatGrass, a bluegrass band with a twist, takes the stage.

On Saturday, September 29, the festival gets underway at 11 a.m. with the Children’s Chorale, followed by the Mayor’s Proclamation at 11:45 a.m.

The rest of the day’s entertainment includes UNC Jazz, Vokstanzgruppe, Kyle Redman and Ronnie Ekhart and the Dutch Hop Makers.

Greeley Oktoberfest commemorative tasting glass 2012

The 2012 commemorative tasting glass.Photo from Greeley Oktoberfest on Facebook.

New this year, a VIP Beer Tasting Tent open on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Visitors to the tent receive a commemorative tasting glass, get to sample reserve beers and meet and greet professional brewers.  Tickets are $30, and can be purchased on the day of the event.

Lincoln Park provides the ideal setting for the event, and the best part of Greeley Oktoberfest is the ambiance. I write a lot about what makes a good festival and this Oktoberfest ticks all the boxes.

Head out to Greeley next weekend for a beer, a brat and a little polka – you won’t be disappointed.

To keep tabs on everything happening in downtown Greeley, go to www.GreeleyDowntown.com and be sure to join the Greeley Oktoberfest on Facebook.

Ten years ago, if you asked a Coloradan where Loveland was they’d point to the mountains. This is because, for many years, Loveland Ski Area was better known than the city with the same name, but that has changed.

The City of Loveland is working hard to make sure everyone knows that they are open for business, and last week I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling of Loveland’s new tourism branding and billboard on I25.

Loveland Colorado billboard on I25

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved

So why should you visit Loveland, Colorado?

Art Lovers

Loveland is located just 40 miles north of Denver, and has a renowned reputation as a sculpture community. On the second weekend of August in Loveland, there’s a huge, international celebration of the city’s most well-known commodity – sculpture. I’ve written a post about the festival here.

Benson Sculpture Garden, located near Lake Loveland, is a park where you can see many sculptures year round. Go here to see a photo gallery of pictures I took on a trip to the garden this past spring. The streets of downtown Loveland are also lined with sculptures.

Beer & Spirit Lovers

Northern Colorado is often referred to as the Napa Valley of Beer, but most people automatically think of Fort Collins when they plan a visit to the area’s breweries. Loveland, however, has its fair share of outstanding microbreweries, including Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Big Beaver Brewing Company, Loveland Aleworks, and Verboten Brewing, set to open in about four months.

For more information read my post, A Beer Lovers Guide to Hidden Gems in Northern Colorado.

Loveland is also home to an award winning distillery, Dancing Pines, and one of Colorado’s only absinthe makers, Trinity Absinthe, made by Overland Distillery.

Festival Lovers

In addition to sculpture show weekend, Loveland has an impressive lineup of festivals throughout the year. Loveland Loves BBQ, Bands & Brews, previously blogged about here, has become a well-attended regional event.

On the first weekend in August, hot air balloons take to the sky during the Sweetheart Balloon Rally & Airstream Show at The Ranch, and at the end of August, Loveland throws the corniest event in Northern Colorado. While Loveland may not officially be a “small town” anymore, the Old Fashion Corn Roast Festival captures that small town, Americana-feel with a parade, corn shucking contest, family-friendly fun and more.

The Larimer County Fair is held in Loveland and features the Gnarly Barley Festival, a beer event being held this year on Saturday, August 4. In September, Loveland throws another festival embracing their beer and distillery culture with Spirits at Sunset.

During the winter months, Loveland hosts a wildly popular snow sculpture event that will be sanctioned for the first time this year. Stay tuned to HeidiTown for details on the 2012 event, and read a previous post about the 2011 event here.

So there you have it, just a few of many, many reasons to visit Loveland, Colorado. As the city’s new tagline states, “it’s everything you love.”