This fest has fireworks and fire arts, ice sculptures and light shows, bands and singers and so much more. No wonder Loveland Fire & Ice Festival won the Downtown Colorado, Inc. Governor’s Best Festival Award 2016.
The amount of things to do at the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival will make your head spin. It truly has a little something for everyone. Whether you like live music or are looking for entertainment for the kids — toddler or teens — this festival has got you covered.
In addition to the festival’s fireworks show that occurs every evening throughout the three day festival, and ice sculptures that dot the downtown landscape, there is a new event happening at this year’s Loveland Fire & Ice Festival.
It’s the brand new Brewing & Distilling Arts event. In addition to a carved ice bar that will be on display, local craft beers, ciders, wines, sangria and specialty moonshine will be available to taste via a token system.
The Brewing & Distillery Arts events, which happens daily throughout the event, is sure to liven up this already joyous festival. Check here for specific times and token sale information.
At its core, Loveland Fire & Ice is a family festival. Children will enjoy a carousel and carnival games. There are also carriage rides available to both families and sweethearts.
If you love live music, you won’t want to miss this festival.
The musical lineup on the event’s Main Stage is filled with bands that will keep festival attendees dancing in the streets of Loveland to the sounds of classic rock, blues and pop.
There will be three more places to listen to music over the weekend including the Cleveland Performance Stage, Lincoln Performance Stage and Jefferson Performance Stage. The festival’s website has a complete lineup of performers on each stage on their Attractions page.
Visitors can also shop at Loveland Fire & Ice Festival in the event’s Marketplace featuring multiple vendors and exhibitors.
Should all this excitement make you hungry, visit the Food Truck Food Court which will host 13 different vendors selling everything from coffee to waffles.
Loveland Fire & Ice Festival is an extravaganza of fun and an affordable way to entertain the entire family.
Loveland is located just 52 miles north of Denver, 58 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is just minutes from Fort Collins. It’s easy to join in the free fun in downtown Loveland this February.
Loveland Fire & Ice Festival
February 10-12, 2017
Loveland, Colorado (downtown)
(with the exception of some ticketed events)
Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
Mermaids, knights in shining armor, craft beer and belly dancing? I am so there! And I will be, because I’m attending the 5th Annual Pagosa Renaissance & Pirate Festival on July 19-21, 2013.
This festival is a fundraiser for the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, and the town’s 1700 residents have truly embraced this event. Last year more than 2400 people attended the Pagosa Renaissance & Pirate Festival in Town Park.
“It has grown so magically,” says event organizer, Stacy Kirby.
She has worked hard to keep the festival as authentic as possible, and although we all know that there weren’t mermaids during the renaissance period, Pagosa Springs has one for their magical weekend. Despite her mermaid, Kirby does insist all vendors and performers must fit with the theme of the festival, and as many of you know, authenticity is one of my measures of a good fest.
This 3-day event turns Town Park into a renaissance village, presided over by sitting royalty. Thunder Mountain Colorado Living History will be there to make sure things stay true to the renaissance theme. This nonprofit is a historical, educational, restoration and re-enactment organization dedicated to re-creation of history and cultural events. In Pagosa, they re-enact the renaissance and teach children what the period was all about.
Crafted with families in mind, children will be endlessly entertained from the moment they arrive at the festival and are given their quest. This quest involves solving eight riddles throughout the day in return for small prizes. Once he or she collects all eight prizes they will win a custom made pirate mug or pirate name tag.
Other children’s entertainment includes Sarah the Mermaid, the Salida Circus, weapons practice and more.
In addition to the many activities and vendors, there will be music, magic and theatrical performances throughout the weekend. Pandora Celtica will close out each day of the fest at 6 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
The Pagosa Renaissance & Pirate Festival is a family friend event that costs only $3 for adults and $2 for youths and children under 48″ are free. Visit the event website for other information.
We are looking forward to exploring Pagosa Springs during our stay, and these adventures will result in follow-up blog posts about this trip. In the meantime, if you want to join us at the Pagosa Renaissance & Pirate Festival, go to VisitPagosaSprings.com to start planning your trip.
I love trains. If you’ve been a fan of HeidiTown for any length of time you are already aware of my train obsession. I’m not into the technical stuff, but I like the experience of train travel and the nostalgia that comes with it. Train travel forces us to slow down and look around; something we should be doing on a daily basis.
While in Durango last month, Ryan and I had an opportunity to ride the famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. We boarded on a brisk morning at the end of April. I was gripping my camera and probably sporting a rather silly grin, because I’d been looking forward to this ride for a very long time.
We were happy to discover that a tour group of Brits were in our car. We love the British, and they did not disappoint – proving to be a very entertaining lot.
I suppose this is where I should tell you a little bit of the history. Durango was developed as a railroad town by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1880. The railroad arrived in town the next year, and construction on the line to Silverton began that fall. By July of 1882 the tracks to Silverton were completed and the train began hauling both passengers and freight. If that seems fast, it was.
After WWII, the Silverton line was nearly shut down, but thanks in part to a slew of 1950s westerns filmed in the area that featured the train, tourist began flocking to Durango. Today, the train provides year-round service. The locomotives used to pull the train are 100% coal-fired, steam-operated, and circa 1920s.
As soon as the train left the station we moved to one of the open-gondola cars, as did most of the Brits. The open-gondola cars are excellent during warmer months, although you will be covered in a thin layer of coal soot by the end of the day, and by the end of our excursion I’d made the decisive decision never to work in a coal mine.
This week’s a little screwy, but that’s okay. Radio is not an exact science and neither is blogging. This post usually goes up on a Monday, but this week it’s being posted on a Friday, but that’s okay too because most of what I talk about in this segment are festivals in mid-April.
As you know, my radio segments on KRFC 88.9 FM are now recorded and aired every other week instead of weekly.
In this week’s segment I discuss great events happening in mid-April. In fact, the second week in April is so busy you’ll need a couple clones to do everything. I also share a bit about my trip to Ouray, Colorado.
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.
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.
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.
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
We arrived in Grand Lake on a snowy Friday. The area had received three straight days of heavy snow, which made our first stop at On the Trail Rentals, even more fantastic. I previously wrote about this experience.
We were booked at the Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging & Events, soon to be world famous because on March 25, they will be featured on the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible. Much to my delight, because I’m a fan, the crew of Hotel Impossible was filming on the weekend we were in town.
We were staying in The Tree House, a huge two bedroom apartment overlooking the lake and just a short distance from the Western Riveria’s lake front property. It has a full kitchen, a living room and dining area with a fireplace. The master suite features a walk in closet the size of my first apartment, and the bathroom has Jack & Jill sinks.
We thoroughly enjoy the purple and pink sunrises from our big front window each morning, and we had a front row seat to the fireworks show on Saturday night. I was in town covering Grand Lake Winter Carnival, one of the best little winter festivals I’ve attended in Colorado.
Scheduled for a guided snowshoe trek in Rocky Mountain National Park, we got up early on Saturday. The Fat Cat had been recommended to us by the bartender at The Lariat. They serve a $12 breakfast buffet on the weekend and the selection included Scotch eggs, a personal favorite. A table heavy laden with desserts caught our eye. It looked like something right off the pages of Bon Appetit Magazine.
My husband, Ryan, is a big fan of desserts. Big. He looked at me, eyes full of excitement and asked, “Do you think that’s part of the buffet?”
It was. The Fat Cat will now always hold a special place in my Ryan’s heart, and mine too. We ended up there twice during our stay. We met and chatted with Sally, the owner, and felt like we’d discovered a home away from home. That’s how I feel about Grand Lake in general – it is genuinely comfortable.
At 9 a.m. we arrived at the Kawuneeche Visitors Center for our ranger led snow shoe outing with Ranger Barb. This was one of the best mornings ever, in part because Barb’s husband cut the trail for us. The scenery was breathtaking and it felt like we were snowshoers in a postcard. Barb is a gifted guide and amusing storyteller. Ranger led hikes at RMNP are free, but you must make reservations by calling 970-586-1223.
After our hike we sped back to Grand Lake to enjoy Winter Carnival activities. During winter carnival the businesses along Grand Avenue sponsor snow sculptures and this year’s theme was Alice in Winterland, resulting in especially whimsical creations.
The bed races are the Carnival’s most famous event. Eager festival goers were already lining the streets when we arrived and I noticed right way that Grand Lake is probably one of the most dog friendly towns in a state full of dog friendly towns.
The bed races lived up to the hype. It was a seriously entertaining event and since Hotel Impossible was in town they entered a team complete with their own camera crew caught here in our video of the races.
After the events were complete we made a quick trip out to Grand Lake Brewing which had moved out of town since our first visit. Their taster trays are huge and the staff is really nice. Back in town, we walked from The Tree House to Pancho & Lefty’s, another one of our favorite places in Grand Lake. It’s a super fun place that I mentioned in previous posts here on HeidiTown.
After a rather impressive fireworks show that we watched from our porch, we dined on delicious handmade pizza at the Grand Lake Bowling Alley.
The next morning, after filling up at The Fat Cat once more, we headed out to the picturesque Grand Lake Nordic Center for a morning of cross country skiing. The club house is beautiful and with 35 kilometers of groomed trails, you could easily spend a day here.
Sadly, we couldn’t. We had to head back home, but we’ll miss Grand Lake, and can’t wait to go back.
Author’s Note: Don’t miss the historic Daven Haven Lodge while you’re in town. It’s been open since the 1930s, and has had just three owners over the years. For a delicious steak, or all you can eat shrimp on Friday nights, make a reservation at the Daven Haven.
See more photos from this trip on Instagram at @TheMayorofHeidiTown.
HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE featuring the Western Riviera airs Monday, March 25 on the Travel Channel.
It’s time for another HeidiTown segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.
This week I cover food and wine events in Fort Collins, a unique festival high, high, high in the Rocky Mountains and much more.
Hear me on KRFC 88.9 FM on Wednesdays prior to the Bikes & Beer Show at 6 p.m. and on Fridays at 5 p.m.
OR, listen HERE!
Throughout childhood I watched the Iditarod with pure excitement. I remember watching the late Susan Butcher dominate the race during the late 80s and early 90s. It was a sport that crossed gender lines and pitted human nature against Mother Nature, and Mother Nature sometimes won.
I was also a fan of the Iditarod because growing up in the Pacific Northwest I had several connections to people who ran the race; not close associations, but close enough to make me feel connected in a small way.
After reading the book “The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs & Men in a Race Against an Epidemic“ by Gay Salisbury, I developed a renewed interest in this race that had mesmerized me as a child. The book, published in 2005, is a nonfiction account of the 1925 diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska. Unable to reach the town by plane, sled dogs were used to race lifesaving serum to the people of Nome. At the time, this event captivated the nation and inspired the annual Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
This long intro illustrates just how much I’ve always wanted to try dog sledding, so when I got the opportunity at Sled Dog Rides of Winter Park this past weekend, I jumped at it. I was in town covering the Grand Park Dog Days of Winter, a sanction sled dog race, so it was the perfect fit.
Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park is located just three minutes outside of Fraser, or 12 minutes from Winter Park Resort. My husband, Ryan, and I arrived on a snowy and blustery Friday afternoon. Ryan’s uncle, Dean, joined us as well.
As we were guided to the area where the dogs are tied, all was quiet, but not for long. When the dogs realized that sleds were being set up the howls began. It was as if they were all saying, “Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!”
Ryan and I were bundled onto one sled, while Dean rode alone. Because our combined weight was significant, our team consisted of 12 excited dogs.
Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park has around 80 dogs, mostly Alaskan huskies. An Alaskan husky is a husky that has been bred with a variety of other breeds, so they all look a little different. Our team had one crazy Siberian husky named Yukon, while the rest were Alaskan huskies. Yukon is the dog in the video below that seems to be bouncing around and looking everywhere except forward.
Snuggled into a large blanket aboard our sled, we watched as our team was hooked up. This is quite a process and I kept thinking of the phrase, “herding snakes.” When the team was ready our musher, Laura, hopped on the back of the sled and we were off. The fast start was somewhat unexpected, and I was startled and tingly with delight all at the same time.
Laura informed us that we were sledding in less than ideal conditions. With fresh snow and wind, the groomed trail was constantly being covered with snow, making the dogs’ job more difficult.
Even with a heavy sled and deep snow in places, our team ran their hearts out. As we flew through Grand County’s beautiful countryside Laura kept us entertained with stories and answered our many questions; her knowledge made this ride not only fun, but educational.
While going through a deep drift our sled slowly turned over and we had to bail. Ryan was especially excited about this little incident because he felt it made a better “dog sled ride story.” However, it’s not nearly as dramatic as it sounds. Once the sled was good and stuck, Laura had us roll off the side so the dogs would be able to pull the sled out of the drift. After that we got back on and were off again.
The ride took about 45 minutes and we covered around 3 miles. Dog sledding is exhilarating, and for dog lovers like me, there’s the added bonus of getting to meet the dogs after the outing.
Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park operates winter and summer. During the summer the dogs pull visitors in modified golf carts or on specialized scooters. You can visit Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park at DogSledRidesofWinterPark.com or check them out on Facebook here.
See more photos of this dog sledding trip here. My husband took the following video or our dog sled adventure at Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park.
(NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: You’ll need to go to HeidiTown.com to see video)
Below is one of my favorite Instagram from this dog sledding experience. This was one of our “wheel dogs” (meaning he was directly in front of our sled). I love that face! Follow me on Instagram @TheMayorofHeidiTown.
This trip sponsored in part by the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber.
On a trip to Grand Lake, Colorado, primarily to attend Winter Carnival, we had the opportunity go snowmobiling thanks to On the Trail Rentals. My first and only snowmobiling experience up until this point had been riding behind my husband on an old sled over some less than ideal terrain. The snowmobile didn’t have any shocks and it left a terrible trail of environmental pollution.
Thankfully, On the Trail Rentals is known for buying brand new snowmobiles every season, and I found out that riding a brand new snowmobile rocks.
I was a bit apprehensive about driving my own snowmobile, but after Ryan and I went over the map and safety regulations with owner, Nick, and geared up in a helmet and goggles, I started to feel a little more confident.
I felt even better when I saw my yellow snowmobile. Yellow was the color of my first car, and I’m rather fond it, so I liked my sled immediately and we were soon best friends.
It turns out that snowmobiles are super easy to operate. I was a little worried about this, but the machines are fully automatic and they operate like a jet ski – just squeeze and go. After taking a few spins around the field at On the Trail Rentals, we ventured out onto the 33 miles of groomed trail (that’s not counting the play areas along the route).
We were riding through six inches of fresh snow – in fact, it had been snowing bucket loads for three days straight before we arrived in Grand Lake.
“Perfect for snowmobilers,” said Nick at On the Trail.
And it was. We were in pure snowmobile bliss.
If you read my article about Ski School, you’ll know I’m not a braggart and I am always honest with you about my abilities or lack thereof when it comes to any type of sport. It just so happens that I was born to ride a snowmobile. My natural skills even impressed my husband, and that’s hard to do because he’s naturally good at just about everything, and I am not.
Driving a snowmobile is exhilarating and the 33 mile loop was scenic and diverse. We first traveled through miles of open area that looks over the snowy landscape of beautiful and rugged Grand County. We took our sleds for a quick spin in the first play area, where we practiced turns and took great photographs.
Back out on the main trail it started to snow as we climbed. There weren’t a lot of other snowmobilers on the trail, so despite the noise of our machines, it felt like we were really out in back country. We climbed and climbed and the road grew a bit narrower as we found ourselves surrounded by a forested area heavy with snow.
I enjoyed being able to drive through different types of scenery and terrain. It was good practice for a newbie and I could work on things like turning and navigating deep snow. I’ll admit, in one of the play areas I got stuck and Ryan had to spend 20 minutes dragging out my sled – a good reason to bring a strong guy or gal along when you go snowmobiling.
Other than getting stuck once, I’d give myself an A for the day and On the Trail Rentals gets an A+ for their phenomenal snowmobiles.
After this experience, my number one recommendation to my female readers out there: Don’t ride behind your man, ladies. Get your own sled! You won’t regret it. If I can drive one of these machines, anyone can!
Here is a fun video my husband took on our snowmobile adventure at On the Trail Rentals.
I’ve been a fan of dog sled racing since I was just a little girl. Growing up in the far northern reaches of Washington State – let’s face it, it was practically Canada – there were quite a few Alaska connections around my community. This meant that throughout my childhood I had roundabout connections to the Iditerod, and therefore I never missed the race on television.
Since moving to Colorado in 2000, it’s been on my bucket list to make it to one of the many sled dog festivals that are held in the Rocky Mountains. This February I finally get my chance, not only to fulfill my childhood dream of riding in a dog sled with Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park, but also to witnesses sanctioned sled dog races.
I’ll be attending the Grand Park Dog Days of Winter over Presidents Day weekend in Grand Park, Colorado, just outside of Winter Park.
This is a two-day event, sanctioned by the International Sled Dog Racing Association. Races will offer slots for sled teams of four, six and eight dogs, a three-dog junior division and one and two-dog skijoring, where the mushers, wearing cross-country skis, are pulled by their dogs.
A skijoring clinic will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m. and people are encouraged to bring their dogs and give it a try. Harnesses and gear will be provided, but you need skis and a willing dog. In addition to the races there will be vendors and other entertainment at the race site.
In addition to the spectacle of the dog sled races, the area will be bustling with activity over Presidents Day Weekend. On Saturday night, visitors can experience Winter Park Comedy Night at Winter Park Resort. Learn more about winterparkcomedynight.com.
Grand Park Dog Days of Winter
Grand Park, Colorado
(between Winter Park & Fraser)
Feb. 16-17, 2013
Official event poster (click to enlarge):