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FEATURED FESTIVAL: Front Range Rally, a Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival

If you like craft beer and food, you won’t want to miss Front Range Rally, one of Northern Colorado’s biggest and best beer festivals. I’ve been attending this event for a number of years and it’s one of our favorite Colorado beer festivals. 

The nitty gritty details

There are currently 44 breweries signed up to attend Front Range Rally in Loveland, Colorado. There are also nine vendors featuring other beverages such as cider, mead and spirits.

Most of Loveland’s local breweries will be in attendance, as well as a few Denver and out-of-state breweries including Melvin Brewing out of Jackson, Wyoming, who won a GABF gold medal for their IPA.

Front Range Rally beer shot Grimm

Loveland’s own Grimm Brothers Brewhouse at Front Range Rally. Photo by Emily Sierra Photography.

This event also features ten food trucks with offerings varying from barbecue to pizza to cheese curds and deviled eggs. Please note that food is not included in the price of your ticket and must be purchased separately.

I recently indulged in the deviled eggs from Yolk’n Around and I can tell you that they are delicious. I recommend the bacon/avocado. I also love, love, love the bacon wrapped jalapenos from Bedrock BBQ (you’d better bring them, Lance!), and you can never go wrong with wings from the Wing Shack.

Front Range Rally Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, Mayor of HeidiTown

Hey, that’s me! Chowing down on wings at Front Range Rally. Photo by Emily Sierra Photography.

In addition to the beer and food, Front Range Rally always welcomes great musicians to their festival stage.

It’s good to be a VIP at Front Range Rally

Tap & Handle is catering the VIP section at Front Range Rally this year and they will provide four beer and food pairings. This means that while general admission tickets do not come with food, VIPs tickets do.

Front Range Rally VIP area

VIPs getting exclusive tastings at Front Range Rally. Photo by Emily Sierra Photography.

VIPs also get an hour extra at the festival (early entry at 1:30), access to the VIP Lounge which features exclusive beer varieties, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, shaded seating and my favorite, access to a private VIP only restroom.

I believe that splurging for VIP tickets at this festivals is well worth it. Plus, your money goes to a good cause.

Drink for a good cause

One hundred percent of the net proceeds from Front Range Rally go to the Food Bank for Larimer County. That’s right folks, this event, which takes a small army to organize and produce – is entirely run by volunteers.

The Food Bank for Larimer County distributed 9.2 million pounds of food in 2016 to low-income residents throughout the county.

By buying a ticket to Front Range Rally, you are helping support this great, local nonprofit.

Front Range Rally

May 20, 2017

2:30 to 7 p.m. (GA) / 1:30 to 7 p.m. (VIP)

2600 N. Lincoln Avenue in Loveland, Colorado

General Admission $40 / VIP $65 / DD $10

Purchase Tickets Here

FrontRangeRally.org

Join Front Range Rally on Facebook

Follow Front Range Rally on Twitter

#FrontRangeRally

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Featured Festivals spots on HeidiTown are paid advertisements. If you’d like to have your festival or event considered for a feature contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com. Learn more about marketing with HeidiTown here. Thank you!

Skip the Christmas Parade, Get Drunk with Elves – Colorado’s Unique Holiday Events

I started writing for a small Colorado newspaper in 2006. A year later, I started HeidiTown, as well as my magazine writing career. Therefore, I have written dozens of articles and posts about Santa Claus coming to town and Christmas parades.

Skip the Christmas Parade, Elf Crawl Littleton

Photo courtesy of City of Littleton.

I realize that it’s important to get the word out about these traditional holiday happenings, however, I’ve grown tired of writing about them. With that in mind, I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of any unique Colorado Christmas events happening over the next month and a half and I got a few fun responses that I shall share here.

First up is Elf Crawl in downtown Littleton, Colorado. If you haven’t been to Littleton’s downtown, it’s adorable. I actually used to live in the area and we’d occasionally catch shows at Town Hall Arts Center. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Fall Back Beer Fest 2016 in Estes Park

Destination beer festivals are just plain fun, and that’s one thing that sets Fall Back Beer Fest apart. This event is an opportunity to drink good beer in the fantastic Town of Estes Park.

fall-back-beer-festival-logo

The other thing that sets Fall Back Beer Fest apart is that it’s about more than drinking beer – this festival encourages attendees to learn about beer – the beer making process, hops, tasting and more.

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A workshop on beer by Lauren Hoff at last year’s Fall Back Beer Fest.

Plus, this festival always takes place on the day that Daylight Saving Time ends, so you get an extra hour to recover, or to keep partying.

Want to Learn How to Homebrewing?

Fall Back Beer Fest is an excellent beer festival for anyone interested in homebrewing. The festival coincides with the American Homebrewers Association’s “Learn to Homebrew Day.”

Since the beginning, Fall Back Beer Fest has partnered with AHA to be an official Learn to Homebrew Day event location. Local AHA clubs come to Fall Back Beer Fest and brew onsite during the event. This is your opportunity to talk with them, learn about the club and learn about the brewing process.

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Each year, the AHA and the festival give away several homebrewing starter kits to random guests. The idea is to get people excited about all aspects of beer, which seems to be the unwritten mission of Fall Back Beer Fest.

The Rest of the Fest

Fall Back Beer Fest is hosting forty craft breweries this year including some new-to-this-fest brewers such as Wonderland Brewing Co. from Broomfield.

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This was a new-to-me brewery that showed up at FBBF last year.

In the past, a lot of brewers show up at this event – they like destination beer festivals too. This is nice for festival goers because they can meet and chat with the brewers, a rarer and rarer opportunity in the beer festival world, especially during the summer when breweries are stretched thin by the sheer number of festivals occurring on any given weekend.

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In addition to the beer, The Wooks, a Kentucky rhythm and bluegrass band and 2016 RockyGrass band contest winners, will be providing entertainment at Fall Back Beer Fest. Festival food will be supplied by a variety of food trucks, including Umami Mobile Eatery from Fort Collins.

Estes Park for the Win

Estes Park is a wonderful place to visit in the fall. Last year, for Fall Back Beer Fest, we stayed at The Rustic Acre. Their vacation homes are perfect to share with friends and are within easy walking distance of the fest. Read about our getaway here.

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A large held of elk, including babies, walk through Rustic Acres last year when we stayed during Fall Back Beer Fest.

Visit this page, for a list of Estes Park hotels that are offering weekend discounts for folks attending Fall Back Beer Fest 2016.

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Last year, the fine ladies from Feisty Spirits showed up with their bier schnapps. You just never know who you’ll run into at FBBF.

I’ve attended Fall Back Beer Festival for a number of years now and count it among my favorite beer festivals in Colorado. Hope to see you there!

Please note that Hwy 34 from Loveland to Estes Park is closed due to construction this fall and winter. Those driving from Cheyenne and Northern Colorado to FBBF will need to take the route through Lyons via Hwy 66.

Fall Back Beer Fest

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park Events Complex

*shuttles available from downtown

VIP Presale $60 / at the gate $70

GA Presale $35 / at the gate $40

DD Presale $10 / at the gate $10

Purchase Tickets Here

FallBackBeerFest.com

Join this fest on Facebook

Follow this fest on Twitter

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

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Telluride Blues & Brews in Review & Gondola Stories

I don’t always write a festival recap, but after returning from an outrageously fun weekend at Telluride Blues & Brews, I thought a review was in order, especially since I know some of my readers have contemplated attending this event, but haven’t done so yet.

Telluride Blues & Brews in Review & Gondola Stories

Ryan and I sailed into Telluride at 4 p.m. on Friday. We checked into Peaks Resort & Spa, my favorite hotel in Telluride, and boarded the gondola. Since we were staying in Mountain Village and Telluride Blues & Brews is in town park, we rode the gondola a lot during our 3-night stay, which resulted in a few stories.

Telluride Gondola Stories

The free gondola runs between Mountain Village and the town of Telluride, and I’m well acquainted with it. I love this gondola ride because 9 out of 10 times, I engage in a fun conversation with other riders. I think this gondola inspires conversation because at 15 minutes in length, it’s just long enough that people start to feel comfortable with the strangers around them. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Telluride Blues & Brews 2016

If you’re looking for great music in a splendid Colorado location, look no further than the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival on September 15-18, 2016.

The Town

Telluride represents the good life no matter how you interpret the phrase. Whether “the good life” means communing with nature, first-rate shopping, high-end dining or simply taking in a indescribably beautiful sunset – you’ll experience it in Telluride.

Downtown Telluride, Telluride Blues & Brews Featured Festival

All photos in this Featured Festival provided by Telluride Blues & Brews & used with permission.

Attending Telluride Blues & Brews represents an opportunity to stay in Telluride for a few days. Many festival-goers camp, but there are lots of hotels to choose from, both in town and in Mountain Village, just a free gondola ride away.  

There are loads of music festivals in Colorado, but very few are held in one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the earth.  It just takes one visit to know why Telluride gets on all the “best small town” lists.

The Music

The festival features internationally renowned musicians as well as national acts. There’s blues, funk, jam bands, indie, rock, gospel and soul performances.

Telluride Blues & Brews stage shot. Featured Festival

Do you know Joe Walsh? Maybe you recall his band, The Eagles? I grew up in a household where The Eagles were revered so seeing and hearing Joe Walsh will be a true thrill. He plays the main stage on Friday night (9/16).  I’m also looking forward to Jason Isbell who also plays Friday night of the festival.

Other main stage performers include Gary Clark, Jr., The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band featuring Rick Vito, Anders Osborne and Shakey Graves. See the entire band line up for Telluride Blues & Brews here

Telluride Blues & Brews night shot. Featured Festival

And the music never stops at Telluride Blues & Brews. Check out the late night schedule.

The Beer

World class beer in a world class destination – it just doesn’t get any better. No wonder brewers like to attend this one instead of sending employees to do the beer pouring (I got that bit of info straight from the mouth of a Fort Collins brewery owner).

Telluride Blues & Brews. Brew festival. Featured Festival

Of course, beer will be served throughout the festival, but you don’t want to miss the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 17 from 12 to 3 p.m. Fifty-six microbreweries will bring along 170 styles of beer. I triple dog dare you to try them all.

Hope to see you there, HeidiTown citizens!

23rd Annual Telluride Blues & Brews

September 15-18, 2016

Telluride, Colorado (click to see festival map)

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

Tickets to various TBBF16 events range from $20 to $199 for a *3-day pass

*limited availability

TellurideBlues.com

Join this fest on Facebook

Follow this fest on Twitter

#TBBF16

#TellurideBlues

Telluride Blues & Brews festival 2016 poster

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

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Featured Festival: San Juan Brewfest 2016

As most of my regular readers already know, beer festivals are a dime-a-dozen here in Colorado. So how does one decide which festival is worthy of their patronage? Check with me! Today I’m here to tell you that San Juan Brewfest (August 27) rocks, and here’s why.

San Juan Brewfest 2016 logo

Durango rocks

Durango’s cool factor is off the charts. It’s brew-factor is also off the charts. There are six breweries and two distillers in this town of 16,000, making it an easy place to find a good drink.

Durango from Fort Lewis College. Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest 2016. HeidiTown (2)

Also, with restaurants such as El Moro Spirits & Tavern, Ken & Sue’s and Jean Pierre’s, Durango is winning the foodie game hands down. Very few towns of this size have this many gourmet food offerings.

Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest festival shot. HeidiTown (6)

In addition to food and drink, Durango offers an array of activities such as biking the Animas River Trail, floating the river, riding the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and so much more.

The Animas River Trail. Highlights of a weekend in Durango, Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest. HeidiTown.com

San Juan Brewfest rocks

San Juan Brewfest is awesome because it’s an excuse to hang out for a day or two in Durango, but there’s more.

The best part, is that San Juan Brewfest is top-notch, and I can tell you from personal experience that its park venue is one of the best in Colorado for one big reason and that’s shade. August festivals get hot and shade becomes a major priority and festival bonus. 

Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest  HeidiTown (4)

Secondly, because Durango is in Southwest Colorado, the San Juan Brewfest attracts a number of breweries from New Mexico that you won’t see at most Front Range beer festivals. This year, there are breweries coming from as far as Oregon, California and Wisconsin. See the entire list here.

Featured Festival San Juan Brewfest elevated ipa.  HeidiTown (1)

In all, fifty-four breweries and distilleries will be at the event along with three bands (see band lineup here).

VIP rocks

Last year, we went to San Juan Brewfest as VIPs which rocked. This year’s VIP package includes access to a brewer party on Friday night at Steamworks Brewing Co., one-hour early entrance to the beer festival, VIP area with a catered lunch and private bathroom, and a festival t-shirt. This is a GREAT VIP package and there are a few VIP tickets left.

Featured Festival San Juan Beerfest. Cheers shot. HeidiTown.com

Durango has a laid-back vibe that I love and so does San Juan Brewfest. I’d encourage you to make this festival your last summer hurrah.

San Juan Brewfest

All proceeds of San Juan Brewfest benefit United Way of Southwest Colorado

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Buckley Park at 12th & Main in downtown Durango

VIP, 12 to 5 p.m. / Upgraded GA 12:30 to 5 p.m. / GA 1 to 5 p.m.

Tickets, $30 to $70

(this is a 21 & over event)

SanJuanBrewfest.com

San Juan Brewfest on Facebook

Join this fest on Instagram

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

Featured Festival: Annual Biergarten Festival, 2016

Have you noticed that everyone is visiting Germany this year? It’s wildly popular with Millennial travel bloggers in love with Berlin, and Colorado brewers looking to immerse themselves in the beer brewing traditions of the old country.

Biergarten Festival, Morrison, Colorado 2015. HeidiTown (14)

If you are anything like me, however, you can’t afford a plane ticket to Germany (today’s summer airfare from Denver to Frankfurt nonstop is $1600/person).

Thankfully, Coloradans don’t have to fly to Germany to experience German culture.

Ryan and I have been attending the Annual Biergarten Festival for the better part of a decade and our secret summer festival is no longer a secret. People love the Biergarten Festival for its beautiful setting, laid back ambiance, friendliness and authenticity.

Biergarten Festival, Morrison, Colorado 2015. HeidiTown (17)

Attending this festival really does feel like going to a summer party in the rolling green hills of Germany (without the travel price tag).

I’ve been writing about this festival for years and I always tell my readers about the wonderful German dancing, outstanding German beer (Paulaner, of course) and delicious German food. This year, I have a couple new items to tell you about.

Biergarten Festival 2015. HeidiTown.com

Festival organizers have added a Stein Hoisting Contest, so it’s time to start warming up those brawny arm muscles boys and girls. I hear that doing the Wood Chopper Dance is a great way to practice. This contest of strength takes place Saturday (7/9) at 4 p.m.

Another new event is the 1st Annual Dachshund Race on Sunday at 2 p.m. If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch a dachshund race, you’ve missed out. Come prepared to be amused. 

Want to sign up for the Stein Hoisting or Dachshund Race? Email jacobson@gacc-co.org.

Biergarten Festival, Morrison, Colorado 2015. HeidiTown (21)

Of course, all the usual suspects will be in attendance such as Rick Borger & the Average Band, Peter Kron, the Chalet Dancers, TEV Edelweiss Schuhplattlers and the Rhinelanders.

The beer continuously flows and the music never stops at Biergarten Festival, which is one reason I consider this to be one of the best summer festivals in Colorado. If you’ve been meaning to make it to Biergarten Festival, this is the year to make it happen.

Annual Biergarten Festival

July 8-10, 2016

July 8, 4 to 10 p.m. / July 9, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. / July 10, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

TEV Edelweiss Club

17832 Highway 8, Morrison, Colorado

$5/day adults

$3 children 12 & under (age 5 & under free)

Pets welcome

Biergartenfest.com

Join Biergarten Festival on Facebook

Follow Biergarten Festival on Twitter

The Mayor of HeidiTown at Biergarten Festival. Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, writer, blogger, small business owner.

I hope to see you at the Annual Biergarten Festival this year! Prost!

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

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Featured Festival: Hops & Harley, 2016

Hops-and-Harley-website-379x400I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with Hops & Harley from the beginning. This festival is not just a fun dog-friendly event, but it raises awareness for a cause that is close to my heart, National Mill Dog Rescue.

Who is Harley?

National Mill Dog Rescue saves commercial breeding dogs from puppy mills, and Harley, the festival’s namesake, was a spokesdog against puppy mills until he passed over the rainbow bridge earlier this year.

This pint-sized chihuahua spent the first ten years of his life in awful conditions as a breeding dog at a puppy mill in the Midwest.

Featured Festival Hops & Harley photo by Emily Sierra

This is Harley.

After Harley was rescued, he spent the last five years of his life saving puppy mill dogs and educating people about the horrors of puppy mills. Harley become the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog in 2015, making him a world famous celebrity dog. He touched hundreds of thousands of lives over the years and through Hops & Harley, his legacy lives on.

Hops & Harley

Featured Festival Hops & Harley photo by Emily Sierra - dancing

There will be dancing.

This festival takes place annually in Fickle Park in Berthoud, Colorado. Hosted by City Star Brewing, it’s a dog and beer lovers extravaganza. City Star serves up their award-winning craft brew while bands play on the main stage. There are food trucks, dog-centric vendors, childrens activities, a dog agility course and more.

Featured Festival Hops & Harley photo by Emily Sierra - dog agility

See if your dog has what it takes!

Well-behaved dogs are not only welcome at Hops & Harley, their presence is encouraged. A number of National Mill Dog Rescue rescue dogs show up at the festival (many NMDR rescue dog owners fly in or drive hundreds of miles to attend).

Brewery Dogs Beer Tasting Event

Brewery Dogs Beer Tasting at Hops & Harley is a new event this year. While the main festival is free, this is a ticket event.

Featured Festival Hops & Harley photo by Emily Sierra - CSB

There will be craft beer.

The Brewery Dogs Beer Tasting tent will feature 15 breweries pouring their dog-related brews such as City Star’s Harley’s Honey Wheat, Copper Kettle’s Charlie’s Golden Strong and High Hops’ Brown Dog IPA. A few of the dogs that inspired these tasty beers will also be under the Brewery Dog Beer Tasting tent.

Featured Festival Hops & Harley photo by Emily Sierra - random dog

Your dog wants to go to Hops & Harley!

This event takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. during Hops & Harley and tickets may be purchased here.

And here’s what I think is the best part about this festival: One hundred percent of the proceeds of Hops & Harley, and the new beer tasting event, will go to National Mill Dog RescueNothing is more fun than festival-ling for a good cause!

Hops & Harley

Saturday, June 25, 2016

11 to 6 p.m. (free)

Brewery Dogs Beer Tasting 2 to 6 p.m. (ticketed, $20)

Fickle Park, Berthoud, Colorado

CityStarBrewing.com/hops-and-harley

#HopsandHarley

brewery dogs at Hops & Harley 2016

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

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Featured Festival: Front Range Rally, May 28, 2016

Coloradans have lots of choices when it comes to beer festivals. On any given summer weekend there are three or more beer festivals taking place across the state. So how do you make a choice about which beer festival deserves your hard earned money? That’s where I come in. I attend a lot of beer festivals and while some are struggling to remain relevant, other are thriving.

Front Range Rally is thriving

Front Range Rally rainbow shot

Photos by Emily Sierra Photography. Used with permission.

Front Range Rally is not just another beer festival. The FRR team works tirelessly to make sure attendees have a great experience each and every year. I’ve sat in on FRR committee meetings and this team really does care. Plus, the festival raises money for a worthy cause and that helps keep this festival at the top of its game.

Upslope at Front Range Rally

Front Range Rally is a craft beer and food truck festival that takes place annually on the last Saturday in May in Loveland, Colorado.  More than sixty breweries will be represented at the festival this year and ten food trucks have already signed up. In addition to breweries, several cideries and distilleries will be at the fest.

Front Range Rally features a large variety of craft brews. Melvin Brewing from Jackson, Wyoming will be there, as will Perrin Brewing Company from Michigan. While Colorado’s craft breweries are awesome, I love having the opportunity to taste a few out-of-state beer at a festival.

Splurge on VIP

I don’t always promote purchasing VIP tickets to a beer event unless VIPs get treated well and FRR does a bang up job. VIP tickets include the usual – one hour early entry to the fest – but this VIP package also includes access to exclusive beers, a buffet of ribs and coleslaw, seating in the shade and best of all, a private restroom. No waiting in lines for VIPs.  

Front Range Rally VIP pic

Drink for a good cause

Front Range Rally benefits the Food Bank for Larimer County. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the festival go directly to this nonprofit that distributed 8.9 million pounds of food to low-income residents throughout Larimer County in 2015.

I hope that you will join me in Loveland this May!

Front Range Rally

May 28, 2016

2600 N. Lincoln Avenue, Loveland, CO

General Admission 2:30 to 7 p.m. ($40)

VIP entry at 1:30 ($60)

Purchase tickets at FrontRangeRally.com

Join this festival on Facebook!

Front Range Rally cornhole pic

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

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Summer festival fun in Winter Park

Many Coloradans grew up skiing at Winter Park and it holds a special place in many hearts, but have you visited the town during the summer? It may have “winter” in the name, but it’s a fantastic summer festival town with one of my favorite festival venues, Hideaway Park.

Winter Park Beer Festival 2015. HeidiTown.com

Last weekend, my friend, Karen, and I headed up to Grand County to attend the Winter Park Beer Festival at Hideaway Park.

We pulled into town at 2 p.m. on Friday and settled in our spacious Hi Country Haus condo. This is a great place to stay if you are attending a festival because it’s within walking of Hideaway Park and everything else in downtown Winter Park. Continue reading

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