dancing

Featured Festival: Denver Christkindl Market

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

“Oklahoma!” comes to Colorado

Oklahoma Candlelight men

"Oklahoma!" now playing at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Courtesy photo.

It’s time for another dinner theater review and this time I went back to Candlelight Dinner Playhouse  in Johnstown, Colorado for “Oklahoma!” I’ve been going to theater since I was just a little girl, but I had never seen a production of this famous play until last week.

Today, “Oklahoma!” is considered a wholesome family musical and is often performed at high schools and even middle schools, so it’s difficult to think of it as ground breaking, but when “Oklahoma!” hit theaters in 1943, it broke the rules. First, the musical begins with just one person singing, and this was unusual. At the time, musicals always opened with a score performed by the ensemble cast. Secondly, a ballet takes place during the play, something that had never been done before.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with dinner theater… continue reading this review by clicking here.

HeidiTown on KRFC 88.9 FM – St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Colorado

The following is the transcript from my weekly radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM in Fort Collins, Colorado. If you’d like, listen to the AUDIO HERE.

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Heidi & donkey

The Mayor of HeidiTown poses with Alma, an old lady donkey at Longhopes Donkey Shelter. Photo by Christine Forster, all rights reserved.

Hi, my name is Heidi and I’m the Mayor of HeidiTown.com, a blog about events, festivals and travel across Colorado.

Before I tell you what’s happening this weekend, I want to tell you about this month’s HeidiTown.com Gives Back recipient. Every month, I personally select a Colorado-based nonprofit organization to introduce to the community and be featured on the blog all month long.

In my work as a freelance writer in Colorado, I’ve had the opportunity to write about many wonderful organizations and realized HeidiTown was an additional platform where I can give them support.

Last month’s featured nonprofit was Freedom Service Dogs, an organization that trains shelter dogs to help military vets returning with physical disabilities or mental trauma.

This month’s featured organization is Longhopes Donkey Shelter located in Bennett, Colorado. They are one of only a handful of donkey rescues in the country. I’ve had the opportunity to visit the facility and meeting a donkey will smash all the stereotypes you once held about these animals. For more information about Longhopes go to my blog and click on the HeidiTown.com Gives Back Campaign on the right hand side of the page.

St. Patrick's Day FCAnd now, on to the weekend. It’s already mid-March and that means St. Patrick’s Day. I am more than a little excited that the holiday falls on a Saturday this year. Here in Fort Collins don’t miss the big parade downtown and after party in Old Town Square. The parade runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the party starts immediately after. Get all the details at DowntownFortCollins.com.

Speaking of things Irish, the Rocky Mountain Irish Festival, which started as the Fort Collins Irish Festival in 2008, will be returning to Fort Collins Civic Center Park this year. So mark September 28 through the 30th on your calendar and join me in a jig at this very fun event.

Fort Collins isn’t the only place to celebrate being green this weekend. Denver has a huge parade and throws a big party too, and other towns up all around Colorado will be partying, especially since it’s a Saturday – so it’s very likely there’s a St. Patrick’s Day event near you.

In Boulder you can even witness the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade at Conor O’Neills, a great Irish pub on 13th Street. To keep up on all the stuff happening in Boulder, go to BoulderDowntown.com.

Celtic Tenors by Barry McCall

Celtic Tenors, photo by Barry McCall, all rights reserved.

If you’d like a classy St. Patrick’s Day event, check out the Celtic Tenors at Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley. This international sensation tours the world, and will bring you to tears with their amazing rendition of Irish Classics. Get more information about the Celtic Tenors at Celtic-Tenors.com, and find out more about their concert at greeleygov.com/UCCC.

While in Greeley, you should check out my favorite pub in all of Colorado, Patrick’s Irish Pub on 8th Avenue. My husband and I are fans of true pubs, and this place fits the bill. If you haven’t been to downtown Greeley lately, you’ve been missing out.

Here’s a nutty event happening at Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Mesa, Colorado. It’s the 3rd Annual Dummy Jump with a St. Patrick’s Day theme. I love these crazy mountain resort events, like the Cardboard Classic in Steamboat Springs. I participated in that one and will never forget sliding down the mountain in our cardboard shotski… that event coincides with the Steamboat Springalicious Festival in April. More at Steamboat.com.

But I digress, back to the event this weekend in Powderhorn. Teams build a dummy and then it is sent off a huge ski jump. The judging criteria for the dummy jump are the best! Your dummy jump is judged on amplitude, creativity, structure and destruction on impact. You gotta love that last one. To learn more go to Powderhorn.com.

That’s all the time I have this week. I invite you to join the town’s block party on Facebook at Facebook.com/HeidiTown.comonFB, or follow my shenanigans on Twitter @HeidiTown or join the town on Google Plus. Until next week, I will see you online!

Thanks for listening and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

HeidiTown.com on KRFC 88.9 FM – What do to in Colorado, February 10-12, 2012

The following is the transcript from my weekly radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM. You can read the transcript below or listen to the audio –> HERE.

***

Hi, my name is Heidi, and I’m the Mayor of HeidiTown.com, a blog about events, festivals and road trips around Colorado.

Freedom Service dogs

Photo courtesy of Freedom Service Dogs. All rights reserved.

Before I get started on this week’s segment, I want to tell you about HeidiTown.com Gives Back. Each month a Colorado-based nonprofit of my choosing is receiving free ad space on HeidiTown.com. This month’s organization is Freedom Service Dogs out of Englewood, Colorado. Established in 1987, their mission is to train dogs to aid disabled military veterans, and all the dogs in their program come from shelters. For more information on HeidiTown.com Gives Back, visit the blog. For more information on February’s nonprofit go to FreedomServiceDogs.org.

This year, Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday, so many of you might be celebrating this weekend, and there are a couple events here in Northern Colorado that just might be the ticket for a special evening with your honey.

Why not take your special someone to Loveland this weekend? In addition to Night on the Town scheduled for this Friday, also this weekend at the historic Feed & Grain it’s Love & Light, a contemporary art, photography and light exhibition. Presented by Studio Blue Bird, Love & Light runs Friday through Sunday, and art lovers shouldn’t miss this fantastic show. Visit loveandlightloveland.com for all the details and featured artists.

Here in Fort Collins, enjoy Dancing with the Stars, presented by the Canyon Concert Ballet at the Sunset Event Center this Saturday evening. Dance styles range from swing to tango to the Lindy hop. Find out more at CCBallet.org.

And don’t forget, all the ice rinks are open around Colorado, from downtown Fort Collins to Skyline Park in Denver.

OrchidIf the winter is getting you a little down, it might be a good time to start thinking about gardening at the 53rd Annual Colorado Garden & Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. I’ve been to this event and it really is huge. The year I attended, CSU had planted an entire garden inside the convention center. The show is this weekend, and to get all the dirt visit GardeningColorado.com.

Another way to beat the winter blues is at the Denver Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show Case that runs through February 20th. More than 200 flowering orchids are on display and on the weekends there are special events surrounding this showcase. Visit BotanicGardens.org for information.

Here’s a unique event, this weekend and next enjoy the 4th Annual Cripple Creek Ice Festival. This year’s theme is “A Military Salute Carved in Ice.”  Held on Main Street, the event features ice sculptures and lots of live entertainment for the entire family. To learn more visit Cripple-Creek.co.

If you are headed up to the mountains this weekend, you might consider Copper Uncorked, a Winter Wine Festival on Friday through Sunday. This is my kind of event! They call it the most attitude-free wine and food festival in the Colorado Rockies. This is a celebration of wine, food and winter recreational activities. For more visit CopperUncorked.com.

Also in the mountains this weekend, the Winter Teva Mountain Games are in Vail… more at TevaMountainGames.com.

Cowboys in the Snow SB Winter Carnival 2011

Cowboys in the snow at Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival 2011. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

And, it’s finally here, an event you’ve heard me talk about previously, Steamboat Winter Carnival is February 8 thru the 12th. This is the 99th year of this event, so you know it has to be good, and it is!  We attended last year and had so much fun. Visit Steamboat-chamber.com for info.

And now to plan ahead”¦ for those of you looking for a fun winter road trip… the High Plains Snow Goose Festival is February 23 through 26th in Lamar, Colorado. 100s of thousands of geese fly through this area and for 10 years they’ve been celebrating the birds and the heritage of Southeast Colorado. If you enjoy nature, this is an incredible event with all sorts of wildlife tours, talks and much more. Visit HighPlainsSnowGoose.com or find the festival on Facebook.

That’s all for this week. To find out even more about what’s happening around Colorado, join the town’s block party on Facebook at Facebook.com/HeidiTown.comOnFB. You can also follow HeidiTown on Twitter or circle the town on Google Plus.

Thanks for listening!

“Anything Goes” a toe-tappin’ good time at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

Anything Goes at Candlelight 1

Photos courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse (Photos by Dave Arns/Arns Photography)

You don’t have to travel to New York City’s Broadway to see this Tony Award winning musical because it’s now playing at the Candlelight in Johnstown, Colorado. You know it’s got to be a great musical when it’s still being produced 78-years after it was written, and Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” is just that.

We started our evening by ordering the baked Brie. Served with a side of chutney, almonds and roasted garlic, it is now my favorite appetizer at the Candlelight. I’ve written this before, and I’ll likely write it again, but the food at this venue is one of the crowning achievements of this dinner theater.

The theater’s bartender puts together a special drink menu for each show, but this musical’s cocktails were all a little too sweet for my tastes so I opted for a gin martini and my husband, Ryan, ordered a beer.

For dinner we ordered from the standard menu that is included in the price of your ticket, and this menu never gets boring because they change it up a little for each show. I went with the Chicken L’Orange and Ryan ordered the Beef Pot Pie. The chicken was one of the best dishes I’ve had so far at Candlelight. Although I would have preferred potatoes instead of rice as a side, the chicken served on the bone with an orange marmalade was moist and delicious.

Ryan was quite satisfied with his potpie, a dish I’d had when we attended “Scrooge! The Musical.” The potpie has slow-roasted chunks of beef, big slices of chopped vegetables and a flaky pastry crust.

For those who are new to the concept of dinner theater, at this type of show your server is also an actor in the production, so make sure you treat them extra good when you get your bill.

On this evening Joey the Balloon Artists was visiting tables during the dinner hour and during our chat we discovered that he is playing the part of Billy Crocker during the last three weeks of “Anything Goes.” It seems everyone does double and triple duty at the Candlelight.

Anything Goes at Candlelight 2

Dave Arns/Arns Photography

One reason I love dinner theater is that it takes you way for an entire evening. On this night, I was transported to the 1930s, aboard the SS American, on its way from New York to England with some very peculiar passengers.

The first draft of this production was entitled “Crazy Week,” then it was chanted to “Hard to Get” and eventually the writing team settled on “Anything Goes.” All the names fit this nutty story. In addition to a zany love triangle, Public Enemy #13 is aboard the ship – a recipe, not for disaster, but hilarity.

Candlelight has some of the best stage sets of any dinner theater we’ve been to in Colorado, and the costumes for this particular play were fun and colorful. There were more dance numbers in this Candlelight production than some of their past performances, and they were quite good, especially the tap number during the song, “Anything Goes.”

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the entire evening, and that makes for an excellent night at the theater.

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is going into their 5th season, with upcoming shows including “Godspell,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Mame,” “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and “Guys & Dolls.”

“Anything Goes” runs through March 11, and would be the perfect show for a Valentine’s Day date. “Oklahoma” starts March 17 and runs through June 3, 2012. For tickets, visit ColoradoCandlelight.com, or call (970) 744-3747.

A Note from the Mayor:  Sadly for us, it was our cocktail server’s last show at the Candlelight. We’d gotten to know Katie Rhoades on previously visits to the venue. Ms. Rhoades may already be on her way out of town to the Big Apple, so we wish her lots of luck and hope to see her on Broadway one day.  

 

Top 5 Christmas Gifts from HeidiTown.com (2011 edition)

christmas gift red bowLast year I compiled a wonderful list of Christmas presents, and many of them weren’t actual things, but rather they were experience – the gift of theater, the gift of music and the gift of travel. See all of last year’s recommendations here.

Because events, festivals and travel are my areas of expertise, I’m staying with this theme of giving an experience rather than a thing for my Top 5 Christmas Gifts from HeidiTown.com, 2011 edition.

1) Dance lessons. While we were still dating, my husband bought us ballroom lessons, and we had a blast learning the waltz, chachacha and tango. Since then, through the years we’ve periodically taken dance lessons, and after experiencing the Big Band Christmas Ball this month, I think our next style will be swing. Dance lessons for you and your partner are often a great way to lineup a mandatory “date night” of dinner and dancing. There are lots of places to take lessons. In the past, my husband and I take classes through The Rhythm Company in Fort Collins, Colorado.

2) A train ticket. If you’ve spent any time in HeidiTown, you know I’m crazy about trains. I love train shows, train rides, miniature trains, and train depots. I’m not too fond of having to wait for a train, but that’s another story. Thankfully, Colorado has lots of great train rides to choose from. Around Colorado Springs check out the Royal Gorge Route Railroad with their fabulous lunch and dinner trains and lots of year-round special events. In the southwest part of the state there is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and just 45 minutes west of Denver, check out the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

3) Snowshoes or cross-country skis. Ok, both of these gift ideas are actually things, but I’ve received both as gifts and they provide an excellent opportunity to experience Colorado in a new way. A ski slope is fun, but have you ever noticed how crowded they tend to be? Getting out into backcountry during the winter is breathtaking. Being on a pair of snowshoes or cross country skis is a way to get away from it all, plus, both are awesome calorie burners. It’s a win/win.

4) An  overnight-er. Last year I recommended buying someone a gift certificate to a bed and breakfast, and I still think that idea is awesome, but a hotel stay is also great. Pick a fun overnight package that includes a show or dinner. The Hotel Treatro in downtown Denver often has packages that include a one-night stay and a show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. For instance, during the holiday season they have a package that includes tickets to “A Christmas Carol” playing at Stage Theater at the DCPA.

5) Babysitting gift certificates. Here’s something I’ve given as a gift and it was very well received. Give your friends or family with children coupons for you to do the babysitting for an evening. This gives them a two or three hour window to get out and enjoy the theater, or symphony or just dinner and a movie. Trust me, your friends will think it’s the best Christmas present ever.

Colorado Christmas musicals in review – Scrooge at Candlelight & White Christmas at Midtown

Two very different Christmas shows are now playing in Northern Colorado, and I have had the chance to see them.   Read my reviews and decide which one is right for your family this season. The two musicals are strikingly different, and each has strong points, so you may decide to see both.

Scrooge logo “Scrooge! The Musical” While the entire cast is talented, Brian Burron, as Scrooge, is the heart of this show. We watch as Scrooge transforms from a terrifying character into a man who is filled with a love for life, and Burron vividly emotes the difficult internal struggle his character goes through in this play… continue reading this review here.

White Christmas logo “White Christmas” From the moment go, this musical is just plain fun. The cast kicks off the production with a rousing rendition of “Happy Holidays” and “Let Yourself Go.” The young, energetic and talented cast of “White Christmas,” works hard to make sure the audience is immersed in this charming tale. I’m a sucker for a good song and dance number and this show has many… continue reading this review here.

 


Win tickets to the Big Band Christmas Ball in Boulder, Colorado

1940s WWII Ball

The Mayor of HeidiTown at the 1940s WWII Ball on June 18, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Ryan Schlaefer, all rights reserved)

CONTEST CLOSED

This past summer, one of the most standout events I attended was the 1940s WWII Ball. My husband and I didn’t really know what to expect, but by the end of the night we both agreed that this was the most fun we’d had at an event in a long time, and we go to A LOT of events.

This is the sort of evening out that creates memories, not only because it’s unique, but a lot of characters attend the 1940s WWII Ball, and they make this event the cat’s meow. From singers to swing dancers, to band members, to hosts, to regular guests who come decked out in unbelievable 1940s garb from head to toe, there’s never a dull moment.

The 1940s WWII Ball is held annually at the Boulder Airport, and features a hanger for dancing, a big stage, lots of vintage airplanes, a couple themed bars, entertainment and much more. When we saw the caliber of the dancers who were in attendance, we had no intention of dancing – we’re not really great at swing – but judging by the number of blisters on my feet the next day, we ended up spending hours on the dance floor. Big band music is just so infectious!

Big Band Christmas Ball posterNow it’s time for the 2nd Annual Big Band Christmas Ball, by the same people who brought you the 1940s WWII Ball.

Last June, HeidiTown ran a contest for tickets to the WWII Ball, and the organizers have been good enough to decide to give away tickets again through this blog. This time, you can sign up here to win a pair of tickets (an $80 value) to the Big Band Christmas Ball.

The event is on December 10, 2011, and will be held at the Boulder Elks Lodge. The night will feature the big band, The Hot Tomatoes. This band plays the WWII Ball and I can tell you for a fact that they are truly HOT – it’s hard to stay seated when the guys are playing

There will also be re-enactments from famous Christmas shows like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas.” Frank Sinatra will be there, along with the Andrew Sisters tribute act, Reveille 3. Other entertainment will include everything from ice carvers to chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Believe me, you don’t want to miss this event.   I’m not!

Guest are encouraged to dress up in 40s and 50s vintage era clothing, and although this isn’t a requirement, my husband and I dressed the part at the 1940s WWII Ball. We didn’t go all out, like some of the people there, but for some reason, it just makes the evening that much more fun.

So, if you’d like to win a pair of tickets to Big Band Christmas Ball in Boulder, Colorado, just leave me a comment below telling me your favorite Christmas movie, and you’ll be entered into the random drawing that will take place at approximately 3 p.m. Friday, November 25, 2011.

Tickets to this event make an excellent early Christmas present!  To purchase tickets to the Big Band Christmas Ball go here.

~ Contest Closed ~

Good Luck!

Two topnotch Oktoberfests in Colorado

Greeley Oktoberfest Colorado

The Polka Nuts kept the crowds dancing at the Greeley Oktoberfest 2010. Photo by R.T. Schlaefer.

For the past several weeks I’ve done a lot of chatting about Oktoberfests, and this is because I think, when done right, they are such fun and unique festivals.

There are two Oktoberfests fast approaching that I want to bring to your attention. You will not find an eighties cover band headlining these fests, because both work to provide authentic Oktoberfest experiences that embrace and emphasize Northern Colorado’s rich German heritage.

Last year I attended the Greeley Oktoberfest for the first time, and was impressed. It’s a large event, occurring over two days. This year, the festival runs this weekend,  September 23-24, 2011.

Read all about the Greeley Oktoberfest here.

The 1st Annual Berthoud Oktoberfest is being held October 1, in the darling town of Berthoud, Colorado. Located just 40 minutes from Denver and just 10 minutes south of Loveland, Berthoud is steeped in German heritage.

Read all about the Berthoud Oktoberfest here.

 

 


Oktoberfests in Colorado

Oktoberfest celebration in Colorado mug of beerGot a craving for a big beer and some polka music? You are in luck!

The Mayor of HeidiTown loves a good Oktoberfest, so I’ve created a list of all the festivals around Colorado.

From Durango to Berthoud, from Steamboat Springs to Lamar, all across the state Coloradoans will be celebrating German heritage with beer, brats and polka. Festivals run September though October.

Find out where to join in the fun by clicking here for the entire list. Prost!



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