HeidiTown Gives Back: Wine Fest & Disabled Resource Services

WineFest_logo_new colorHeidiTown Gives Back took a hiatus for a few months, but it’s back. I started the HeidiTown Gives Campaign in 2012, because I wanted to use the HeidiTown platform to help organizations that help Coloradans.

The nonprofit I’m highlighting this month is a service that exists to help folks in their most desperate time of need. No one ever wants to believes that they will need an organization like Disabled Resource Services (DSR), but we never know. In the blink of an eye a person can become disabled, whether it’s through a traumatic accident or serious illness, and DRS is there to help.

DRS assists people of any age and any disability in Larimer County to live with as much independence as their disabilities allow. Many of the people who seek the services of DRS are living in poverty and a significant number are homeless. Read how DRS changes lives on their website,

A guide dog at Wine Fest. All photos courtesy of DRS.

A guide dog at Wine Fest. All photos courtesy of DRS.

DRS’s biggest fundraiser of the year is just around the corner, and that’s where I come in. I’m using this blog post to encourage you to attend Wine Fest, a Fort Collins’ tradition for 34 years.

What’s Wine Fest?

While it’s held in Fort Collins, Colorado, Wine Fest is not a locals-only event. Seventeen percent of last year’s attendee came from outside of Northern Colorado. In fact, ticket sales show that 12 different Colorado cities were represented at the event.

Wine Fest, Fort Collins.

And people aren’t just flocking to Wine Fest to support a good cause, they are coming for the more than 500 wines from more than 150 wineries. Not wine drinker, but want to support the cause? Being that the event is held in the Napa Valley of Craft Beer, several years ago the festival organizers added craft beer tasting to the event.

Like many nonprofit fundraisers there is an auction and raffle, but in addition to those standard fundraising activities, there’s a wine luge. Yes, your Rosé will be poured into the top of this ice sculpture and will race down a serpentine route to the bottom where it will splash into a your waiting wine glass.

wine luge ice sculpture at Wine Fest in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In addition to wine, there’s also food served at Wine Fest. Catered by more than 10 of Fort Collins’ best eateries, guests will not go hungry at Wine Fest.

Wine Fest will be held Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Fort Collins Marriott Hotel in the evening. Purchase your tickets at

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

Featured Festival: Taste of Loveland, April 23

The Taste of Loveland gets bigger every year and 2015 is no exception. In fact, due to the many breweries that are involved this year, the event has changed their tag line from a “Wine & Food Experience,” to a “Wine, Beer & Food Experience.“ Several distilleries will be there too. Taste of Loveland Colorado I haven’t been to the Taste of Loveland in several years, but in the past I’ve had a ton of fun (and food) at this event. Around 30 restaurants share tastes from their menus and even the grocery store King Soopers puts out a spread of cheese that would make a cheese lover cry with delight. Taste of Loveland, Colorado. Some of this year’s participating restaurants include 4th Street Chop House, Next Door Food & Drink and Pelican Lakes Restaurant and Bar. With nearly 50 wine/beer and distillery vendors, places like Wing Shack  booth  are sure to be popular. What goes better with beer than wings? Nothing, except maybe cheese. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, B. Sweet Cupcakes has got you covered.

With so much delicious booze at this event it’s no wonder that the Taste of Loveland is working with Trunk Drivers to get folks safely home this year. This business will drive you home in your own vehicle. They will be located at the main entrance in red t-shirts. For information on pricing and reservations, visit Taste of Loveland, Colorado 2. The Taste of Loveland raises money for the Foothills Service League which helps fund efforts by Foothills Gateway, Inc. and the Namaqua Center. Foothills Gateway improves the lives of people with cognitive disabilities and their families. Namaqua Center transforms lives through recovery, renewal and respect by providing behavioral health prevention, intervention and treatment services in Larimer County.

The Taste of Loveland is April 23, 2015 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology (former HP/Agilent Complex at Taft Ave. and 14th Street). Get your tickets today at


Featured Festival spots on are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email

The top 5 reason to attend the Taste of Vail

The 25th Annual Taste of Vail is April 8-11, 2015. It is considered one of the nation’s premiere spring food and wine festivals, however, that’s not the reason you should go. Here’s why you should attend the Taste of Vail this year.

Author’s note (March 24, 2015): Unfortunately, I was not chosen to receive a media pass to Taste of Vail this year, so I will not be attending. Instead I’ll be in Durango. It’s always nice to have options!  

1. Pick your own adventure at the Taste of Vail

You get to pick and choose what to do – it’s like a Pick Your Own Adventure Game for foodies and wine lovers. Of course, you can buy the Signature Pass, which grants you entrance to the four signature events; Debut of Rosé, The American Lamb Aprés, the Mountain Top Picnic and the Grand Tasting. Or you can simply cherry pick the events you’d like to attend.

See the full schedule and start planning your Taste of Vail adventure today.

Wine on ice at the Mountain Top Picnic at Taste of Vail. The top 5 reasons to attend the Taste of Vail.

Wine on ice at the Mountain Top Picnic at the Taste of Vail.

2. Learn stuff at the Taste of Vail Continue reading

Featured Festival: Taste of Loveland

FHSL_TasteOfLoveland LogoIf you love food, and who doesn’t, you won’t want to miss the Taste of Loveland. For just $40 you’ll be able to spend hours tasting food from 30 different restaurants. Plus, you can taste beer and wine from over 40 vendors.

Yes, it’s an evening of gluttony, but you’ll be indulging for a great cause, and that makes it okay.

This year is the 9th Annual Taste and it will be held on April 24, at a new venue, the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation & Technology at 14th and Taft in Loveland, also known as the former HP/Agilent campus.

I’ve attended this event several times and I definitely recommend it. I’m a real fan of drinking and eating for a good cause and the proceeds of the Taste of Loveland benefit Foothills Gateway and the Namaqua Center. Both organizations promote programs that improve the quality of life of cognitively disabled individuals and abused and neglected children in Larimer County. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Taste of Vail (April 2-5, 2014)

Taste of Vail logoI am very excited to feature the  24th  Annual Taste of Vail  today. Last month I got to sit down with Chef Paul Ferzacca, owner of  La Tour Restaurant & Bar in Vail. Chef Ferzacca is also deeply involved with the production of Taste of Vail, and his passion for this event is palpable. After our sit down, I was more excited than ever to attend this event in April.

Taste of Vail is different from many other food and wine events because festivalgoers get face-to-face time with the wine makers and chefs. Chef Ferzacca says that some longtime festival attendees have become friends with winemakers and have even received personal invites to villas in California and beyond. This isn’t a guarantee, but it is this type of intimate experience that makes Taste of Vail so special.

I am very excited to feature the  24th  Annual Taste of Vail  today. Last month I got to sit down with Chef Paul Ferzacca, owner of  La Tour Restaurant & Bar in Vail. Chef Ferzacca is also deeply involved with the production of Taste of Vail, and his passion for this event is palpable. After our sit down, I was more excited than ever to attend this event in April. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Denver Record Collectors Expo

Old fashion record player

Nothing moves us quite like music. If you are anything like me, music is one of the most powerful memory triggers. While certain tunes take me back to college or high school, other songs take me back to a specific place and time. To this day if I hear “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray I have a vivid memory of driving through the hills of west Seattle with my girlfriend Rachel, singing at the top of our lungs.

Our relationship to music is often deeply personal, emotional and truly powerful. I cry anytime I hear “In the Arms of an Angel,” by Sarah McLaughlin because it was sung at my uncle’s funeral.

With this intense relationship i mind, it’s not surprising that people are crazy about collecting music. And records are gaining popularity again. Some claim it’s the baby boomers who long for the nostalgic items of their youth. Perhaps it’s the hipsters and their fanaticism about everything retro, but whatever the reason there is a renewed interest.

That’s why this year’s 20th Annual Denver Record Collectors Expo should rockin’. This is the Rocky Mountain region’s premiere music collector’s show because more than 40 dealers from around the country attend the one day event.

This expo will have everything from records to 45s and even CDs, and every style of music is represented. Whether you are a hardcore collector, often called audiophiles, or just a fan of music in general, there will be something for you at this event. In addition to music there will be posters and memorabilia for purchase.

So without further ado, here’s the nitty gritty:

Denver Record Collectors Expo

Sunday, April 14, 2013

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ramada Plaza

Just off of I25 at 120th

(directions here)

Admission $2

DRCE is a brought to you by Big K productions.

Big K Productions logo Denver Record Collectors Expo

Featured Festival: KRFC Birthday Bash

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been on the radio at KRFC 88.9 FM for over a year and a half now. They came to me during the summer of 2011, asking if I’d be interested in doing a community segment, and I jumped at the chance. For 80 weeks I produced nearly 100 percent new material for the five minute show. With an increasingly active travel schedule, at the end of January, I decided to cut back to two shows per month.

My show is pre-recorded and then produced by either Dianne Fishman or her assistant Mickey. They make me sound like a professional before the show airs twice a week, once on Wednesdays just prior to 6 p.m. and Fridays at 5 p.m.

It’s been a fun experience and I look forward to continuing my relationship with KRFC.

KRFC is Fort Collins’ public radio, and it is supported entirely by volunteers and individuals who make contributions via memberships or one-time donations.

This week’s featured festival is the KRFC 10th Annual Birthday Bash, taking place on April 6 at the Sunset Event Center starting at 6:30 p.m. The musical lineup includes Great American Taxi, featuring Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, Mama Lenny & the Remedy and Michael Kirkpatrick from The Holler! This is a fundraiser for KRFC, so come ready to spend some money on auction items.

10th Annual KRFC Birthday Bash

April 6, 2013

Sunset Event Center

General Admission $20

Purchase Tickets Now


Mead Roubaix Festival will be fun for entire family

Little girl on pony.

Mead Roubaix Festival (Photo courtesy of the Mead Area Chamber of Commerce).

I really enjoy sharing events like the Mead Roubaix Festival with my readers. Small town festivals are at the heart of what this blog is all about. There is just something extra charming about festivals held in little communities around Colorado.

The first Mead Roubaix Festival was held last year, and it is a combination of bike race and community fest. The bike race attracted 600 participants who made their way to Mead, Colorado, a town of about 3,000 that is one mile west of I25 and approximately 36 miles north of Denver.

Not being a cyclist, I had to look up what the word roubaix meant. It turns out it is derived from the French word rubble and has come to refer to a bike race where the riders ride a route that has paved and unpaved sections. The Mead Roubaix bike race is a 12.5-mile loop on a mixture of hard packed dirt and paved roads around the town.

Because this festival occurs in conjunction with a bike race, even if you aren’t racing you should bring along your bike because a Longmont bike shop, Bike-N-Hike, will be giving free tune ups at this event.

The day starts out at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast, and at 9:30 there’s a “Who Let the Dogs Out” doggie dash being sponsored by the business where I board my dog, Happy Tails Dog Ranch in Berthoud, Colorado. The dash includes a two-mile walk with bandanas for the dogs and goodie bags and prizes for participants. You can find info on  the doggie dash here.

Mead Roubaix 2011 racers

Mead Roubaix race 2011. Courtesy photograph.

The festival has a large Kids’ Zone where children can play all day for just $5. There’s a bungee trampoline, bounce house, obstacle course, pony rides and more. And while the kids play, mom and dad can browse local vendors’ booths and partake in refreshments in the beer garden.

I think the Mead Roubaix Festival will be a great opportunity to get the family out and start working on those summer tan lines – mine usually involve stripy feet from wearing a variety of sandals.

The Mead Roubaix Festival takes place Sunday, April 22, 2012 at Mead Town Park, 441 Third Street, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration for the bike race is currently underway at


Calling all Pinball Wizards & Groupies

Lyons Classic Pinball machine

A machine at Lyons Classic Pinball in Lyons, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

I love it when I discover a truly unique event, and the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown & Gameroom Expo definitely falls into this category.

I’ve written about the game of pinball previously on HeidiTown, and Lyons Classic Pinball is one of the Mayor’s frequently recommended activities.

I don’t know why I like pinball so much because quite frankly I’m terrible at the game, but I really enjoy pinball machine art and I’m a sucker for nostalgia. To me, pinball is a reminder of a quieter time when the local malt shop was a gathering spot and poodle skirts were all the rage. Of course, pinball is anything but quiet – walk into Lyons Classic Pinball on a Friday night and the sound of balls hitting paddles will drown out all the stress of your week and any other thought that might be in your head.

This weekend, pinball wizards will gather at the Embassy Suites – Denver Tech Center for three days of pinball debauchery. There will be tournaments for all ages and abilities, and seminars from pinball celebrities like Jack Guarnieri, Jack Askey, Brian “Destruk” Smith, John Trudeau and more.

Pinball at the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs, Colorado

This photo of a pinball machine at the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs has become a vital part of my branding. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

There will be over 100 pinball machines on display from a variety of companies and featuring many artists. The art on a pinball machine can be just as collectible as the game units themselves.

The photo to the right is of a pinball machine at the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs. It was our 2008 trip to the town that originally introduced me to pinball machine art. The blue-haired lady is my Twitter avatar and has become a vital part of my branding.

There will be over 100 pinball machines that visitors can play for FREE during this expo.

Also attending this event will be exhibitors from around the country, including pinball sellers, buyers, repairers, specialists, and more. They will be on hand to show off their wares, skills and fanaticism.

The expo is also offering a screening of the new pinball documentary called “Special When Lit.”

This expo is for the entire family and will appeal to crazed pinball enthusiasts as well as those with a more casual interest in the game.

The Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown & Gameroom Expo starts Friday, April 29 and goes through Sunday, May 1. For all the details visit them online at You can also find the event on Facebook here.


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