Featured Festival: NoCo Mini Maker Faire 2016



1. A person or thing that makes or produces something

“A cabinetmaker”

          Synonyms; creator, manufacturer, constructor, builder, producer, fabricator, inventor, architect, designer

         “The makers of fine furniture”

2. God; the Creator


I have a real affinity for makers. After all, my husband designs and builds furniture, so “making stuff” plays an important role in our lives.

A decade ago, the first Maker Faire was held in California. Since then, the movement has grown, and today there are maker faires across the world. A Maker Faire is a celebration of arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the DIY mindset.

The 4th NoCo Mini Maker Faire, held in Loveland, Colorado, continues to grow, and with growth comes change. This year, the event is being held in a new location, inside the First National Bank Building at The Ranch Events Complex.

More than 100 Makers converge on Loveland for this event, which kicks off with an adults-only party on Friday, October 7, called Sparks & Spirits. Cocktails will be provided by local distillers and entertainers include Rubens Tube fire and music, interactive light art from Solid State Depot and Mystica body paint.

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Maker Faire Mystica body paint

One of my favorite gin makers, Golden Moon Distillery, will be there, along with a nice lineup of other Colorado makers of fine spirits such as Syntax Spirits from Greeley. Distiller, Heather Bean, makes small-batch vodka, whiskey and rum from grain-to-glass using all Colorado ingredients.

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Maker Faire Sparks & Spirits fire art

The Noco Mini Maker Faire is an family affair. On Saturday and Sunday, children are more than welcome and in fact, encouraged to attend. A maker faire is an excellent place for a inquisitive child. 

Featured Festival NoCo Mini Makers Faire is for children too

Attendees will be inspired, awed and intrigued. Some makers are students, while others are adults. Exhibits include everything from social robotics from Robauto to creative music makers, Serenity Forge. In addition, there will be several community art projects including a Chalkboard Art Car where guests can give voice to their creative expression. And fresh from Burning Man, no one will be able to miss the 30-foot DaVinci Flying Machine.


Attendees can expect to spend hours strolling through the event, chatting with makers and getting hands on with various projects and games.

A maker event is where the left and right brain merge to create amazing, innovative and beautiful things.

NoCo Mini Maker Faire

October 8-9, 2016

Location: The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland, Colorado

Advanced ticket prices $10 adults, $6 child/student

Sparks & Spirits, Friday evening, October 7

Advanced ticket price $50

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

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Montrose, Colorado, a small town with big offerings

One of the best parts of my job as the Mayor of HeidiTown is visiting a town that I’ve never stayed in before. So I was overjoyed when the folks in Montrose contacted me and asked if I’d like to cover their Oktoberfest.

Ryan and I arrived to town on a late Friday afternoon and after checking into the Hampton Inn we headed downtown.

A sunset in downtown Montrose, Colorado.

While the population of Montrose is less than 20,000, they have a fairly good size downtown area. We walked around a bit, noting the large number of independent shoe stores on Main Street. The good folks of Montrose must really like nice shoes, which is great because I do too. I ended up buying a pair of adorable clogs at D’Medici Footwear & Clothing before the weekend was over.

We ate dinner at Horsefly Brewing Company, a brew pub with one of the best patios in Colorado. We enjoyed this brewery and patio again on Sunday morning at the Montrose Oktoberfest’s special brewer’s brunch with Stray Grass, a super fun band from Grand Junction. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Fall Back Beer Fest, Oct. 31, 2015

Have you ever wondered what craft beer pairs best with candy corn? You can find out this Halloween at Fall Back Beer Fest in Estes Park, Colorado.

Fall Back Beer Festival LOGO

The event falls on All Hallows’ Eve this year and therefore a Halloween candy/beer pairing is on the festival agenda.

We attended Fall Back Beer Fest last year and we had a blast. In fact, it was one of two truly stand-out beer festivals of 2014 (Winter Park Beer Festival was the other one).

Fall Back Beer Fest 2014. HeidiTown (7)

One of the reasons this was a stand out beer festival was because there was an excellent selection of small craft breweries – several that were new to me – plus, I enjoyed the Fall Back Beer Fest’s educational workshops, which often involved drinking beer while learning.

Fall Back Beer Fest 2014. HeidiTown (15)

Lauren Hoff, Napa Beer Girl, talks about beer sensory at Fall Back Beer Festival in 2014.

Fall Back Beer Festival is a celebration of beer, but it’s also a celebration of the folks who make beer. The festival takes place on American Homebrewers Association’s Annual Learn to Homebrew Day. The festival organizers invite a number of AHA sanctioned homebrewing clubs and individual brewers to come and brew live at the festival.

Fall Back Beer Fest 2014. HeidiTown (12)

In addition to lots of craft beer to taste, festival goers can attend a variety of seminars by beer industry experts, visit with local hop farm owners, watch demonstrations from equipment fabricators, participate in giveaways, enjoy the candy/beer pairings, listen to live music, and more.

Children are allowed at this event and there are plans for trick-or-treating and a “hedge” maze – not sure what this means, but the event’s Facebook page says it’s “fit for a beer fest!”

Fall Back Beer Fest 2014. HeidiTown (13)

In addition, the Oskar Blues Brewery Silent Disco will be at this year’s Fall Back Beer Fest. If you haven’t experienced a silence disco, you’ve missed out on one of life’s funniest experiences.

How does Fall Back Beer Fest get its name? It’s always held on the weekend that we turn back our clocks, which gives you an extra hour to party this Halloween.

Fall Back Beer Festival

October 31, 2015

VIP Admission 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

General Admission 12 to 4 p.m.

Estes Park Events Complex

1125 Rooftop Way, Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Tickets are $30 to $65 (buy now & save money!)

Fall Back Beer Fest on Facebook

Follow @fbbf_estespark

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What to do on Halloween in Colorado

Want more than a simple “boo” + “gotcha” experience this Halloween? I’ve compiled a list of Colorado Halloween activities that go beyond the traditional haunted house visit. These outings will tickle not only your spine, but also your mind.

There are cemetery and ghost walks from Fort Collins to Leadville. I have written about the cemetery tour with Roger Pretti in Leadville here. It’s a fantastic tour and leaves the visitor with a good understanding of what life was like when Leadville was a rough and tumble mining town.

Leadville Cemetery Tour with Pretti.

Cemetery Tour in Leadville, Colorado.

In Fort Collins you can go on Haunted Fort Collins Ghost Tours. They offer everything from a Haunted Pubs Tour to a Horse & Buggy Ghost Tour.

There are many ghost tours available in Denver from the Capitol Hill Ghost Tour to the Denver Underground Ghost Tour. Type “Denver ghost tours” into google and you’ll get a lot of hits. 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

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: NOCO Mini Maker Faire, Loveland, CO

Artists, techies, authors, scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, free thinkers – MAKERS are all these things and more.

The first official Maker Faire was held in the bay area of California in 2006. It included more than 100 exhibiting makers. The maker movement quickly grew. Today there are maker faires across the world, including right here in Colorado.

There will be more than 130 makers at the NOCO Mini Maker Faire in Loveland, Colorado this October.

NOCO Mini Maker Faire photo 1

All photos courtesy of NOCO Mini Maker Faire and taken by Lucky Brake, Ltd.

Living Ink will be at the faire. These makers have created an ink that allows you to write, sketch, draw or paint your story over time. Their product writes like a pen, but your words or art will disappear after a few minutes and when placed in a greenhouse your masterpiece will come alive.

Living Ink is just an example of the type of creative folks that will be sharing their inventions and creations with attendees at NOCO Mini Maker Faire. This two-day event will include demonstrations and speakers.

This year,  NOCO Mini Maker Faire  introduces  Makers After Dark. This adult-only evening takes place on Friday, October 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. and features 20 craft distillers, gourmet snacks and larger than life demonstrations by a select group of makers. Think robots, fire and lasers. Tickets are $50.

flame breathing robot at NOCO Maker Faire

I spoke to Montanya Distillers about Makers after Dark while I was in Crested Butte earlier this month and these makers of delicious rum are super excited to be part of this event.

The Maker Faire has been called the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth,” and parents are encouraged to bring along their children to the main event on Saturday and Sunday. Watch your children be amazed and inspired.

NOCO Mini Maker Faire children

NOCO Mini Maker Faire

October 10-11, 2015

Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation & Technology

815 14th Street SW, Loveland, Colorado 80537

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days

Advance tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children.

Click here to purchase tickets

NOCO Mini Maker Faire on Facebook

Follow on Twitter @NOCOMakerFaire

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Featured Festival: Montrose Oktoberfest, Oct. 3, 2015

Meet me in Montrose this October for the…

Featured Festival Montrose Oktoberfest, October 3, 2015. 3If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably driven through Montrose on your way to somewhere else. The fact is, Montrose is smack dab in the middle of a lot of cool stuff and there are a lot of good reasons to stop here for a few nights.

The Black Canyon National Park is a mere 21 minutes away. There are three museums in town and two breweries. Then there’s the Montrose Water Sports Park a few minutes from Main Street. There’s more in Montrose, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Featured Festival Montrose Oktoberfest, October 3, 201Featured Festival Montrose Oktoberfest, October 3, 2015. HeidiTown.com5.

Montrose Oktoberfest 2014, photo provided by the fest.

I’m heading to Montrose for the 10th Annual Montrose Oktoberfest. This fest, hosted by the Black Canyon Home Brewers Association as a benefit for All Points Transit, takes place at the Umcompahgre Event Plaza in historic downtown Montrose.

The event is, first and foremost a celebration of beer. Fifteen breweries will attend this year including local breweries Colorado Boy and Horsefly Brewing Company. Out of town breweries include Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Ska Brewing, Rockslide Brewery and more.

A brand new Winegarten has been added for 2015. This is where local wineries and cideries will share tastes of their wines and ciders.

Entertainment will be provided by Ascending Giants, Good Times Music Company and event headliner, Eleanor Tallie.

Grab a bratwurst or pretzel and enjoy polka dancing performances by Dance Around at 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Featured Festival Montrose Oktoberfest, October 3, 2015. 2

Don’t miss the photo booth where you can “dress up Oktoberfest-style” and share the pictures with your friends online. There will also be a Best Dressed Costume Contest and other games and prizes provided by vendors.

If you are coming to town for this event, check out the Montrose Oktoberfest Stay & Play Discounts on their website. Three hotels in town are offering packages.

Montrose Oktoberfest

October 3, 2015

1 to 6 p.m.

Umcompahgre Event Plaza

Advanced tickets $20 / $25 at the door

Purchase tickets HERE

Montrose Oktoberfest on Facebook

The mission of All Points Transit is to provide safe, reliable transportation by promoting accessibility and independence for seniors, persons with disabilities and the general public in our service area

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Celebrate nature festivals at Colorado’s state parks

I learned recently that Colorado Parks & Wildlife is involved in many nature festivals throughout the state. From birding excursions to festivals celebrating elk, these events take place all year and in every corner of Colorado.

Here are a few events happening this summer and fall that I think should be on your radar. Make sure that you have updated your state’s park pass before going; you wouldn’t want to be left out.

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, July 13-19, 2015

This event has been on my bucket list for a long time. I love photographing wildflowers and the array of flowers that can be found in the Colorado Rockies in the summertime is truly astounding.

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. Gothic Mountain photo by Doug Beezley

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. Gothic Mountain, photo by Doug Beezley.

This event has been occurring annually since 1986, and has become much, much longer than a week. Today, the entire summer is filled with CBWF events and more than 200 classes offered by instructors, tour guides and volunteers. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Loveland Art Studio Tour

Loveland has been a Mecca for art and artists since the 1970s, and while sculpture has been the traditional medium of choice in the town, a shift towards other art mediums has occurred over the last several years. This isn’t to say that Loveland’s sculpture community is going way – that practice has deep, strong roots, but today, Loveland is a place where many different sorts of artists to hone their craft.

Reclaimed steel & glass. By JADE ART.

Reclaimed steel & glass. By JADE ART. Photo courtesy LAST on Facebook.

There is no better way to see this art renaissance in action than during the 6th Annual Loveland Art Studio Tour in October. This free event is an opportunity to explore Loveland’s artistic culture and soak up the ambiance of this creative community.

The official Loveland Art Studio Tour runs October 11 & 12 and 18 & 19. These two weekends give visitors a chance to visit more than 35 studios where numerous local artists will display their works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. The real bonus, in my opinion, is that the artists will be available to chat with you.

Anglea Canada Hopkins, artist.  Photo by Erik Stenbakken, 2009. Courtesy of LAST on Facebook.

Anglea Canada Hopkins, artist. Photo by Erik Stenbakken, 2009. Courtesy of LAST on Facebook.

My best memories of visiting art galleries during my travels are the times when I got to meet the artists and talk with them about their work. I know that talking to an artist and about his or her work adds a new level of significance to the art piece that I am viewing. Sometimes these powerful insights into the mind of an artist can change your entire perspective on their work. Perhaps you’ll find time to ask artist Kerri Ertman what she had in mind when she created this whimsical skeleton piece.

Happily Ever Ever by Kerri Ertman. Courtesy LAST on Facebook

Happily Ever After by Kerri Ertman. Courtesy LAST on Facebook

The organizers of the Loveland Art Studio Tour realize that art isn’t just for grownups, and in fact, exposing children to art can instill a lifelong love, even if that child is like me and can only ever draw stick figures. This is why, in addition to the art studio tours, visitors can visit several other Loveland landmarks where their children can experience hands on art projects at no cost.

CreatorSpace at 125 East 5th Street will have multiple activities including a cardboard challenge, robots and simple circuits. Stop at the Timberlane Farm Museum at 2306 East First Street to visit the animals and create a corn husk doll with your kids. Osborn Farms at 1230 South Boise is where your child can pick a perfect Halloween pumpkin.

Belgian Horse at Timberlane Farm Museum HeidiTown

Belgian Horse at Timberlane Farm Museum.

Life is short – it’s time to add a little art into it by visiting Loveland this October. Be sure to pick up a Loveland Art Studio Tour brochure when you arrive in town. It has a map and coupons for deals around town such as $2 off a bottle of wine at Mrs. Torrelli’s Wine Flat. You can pick up the brochure at Lincoln Gallery, Independence Gallery, Schissler Academy, Lola’s Fresh Patina and Artworks.

Loveland Art Studio Tour

October 11-12 & 18-19, 2014

Loveland, Colorado

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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.

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

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