‘Tis the season for holiday-themed festivals and while craft shows and Christmas parades abound, here are a few unique events where you get to join in the fun.
Crowds of Santas Spotted in Breckenridge and Crested Butte, Colorado
There’s something particularly amusing about being surrounded by hundreds of Santas; boy Santas, girl Santas, tall Santas, short Santas, fat Santas, skinny Santas, pantless Santas (it happens). Here are two Colorado mountain festivals for folks who love Santa Claus and who like dressing up like the fat old fellow.
Race of the Santas, Breckenridge, Colorado
December 2, 2017
I’ve attended this event and can personally give it two white-gloved thumbs up. Race of the Santas is part of the Lighting of Breckenridge, a beautiful weekend tradition that involves the conversion of Breckenridge from a charming Victorian town to a charming Victorian town covered in holiday lights.
The Race of the Santas is seven blocks (0.75 miles) and contestants must dress like Santa. Some Santas who enter this race are serious runners while others, the Santa’s with a flask tucked into their black boot, are just there to have a good time.
You must register for this race by Friday, December 1, 2017. The race takes place on Saturday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m. Santa suits are for sale at the Breckenridge Welcome Center and Vertical Runner, a local running store. Contestants may also wear their own Santa costume.
Click here for more information on the Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas. If you’ve never visited Breckenridge during the holidays, it’s truly magical.
Santa Ski Crawl, Crested Butte, Colorado
December 9, 2017
Be part of history in Crested Butte this December and help break the World Record for the most skiing Santas at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. You can ski, snowboard or snowblade, but you must be dressed as Santa. This fifth annual event will attempt to break the record they set in 2015 which was 827 skiing Santas. Will YOU be number 828?
In addition to the event, this is a festive weekend to be in Crested Butte. There’s a Santa Pub Crawl for drinker Santas as well as $25 lift tickets for skier and riders decked out in full Santa suits (valid 12/9/17 only).
This is also the weekend of Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Light up the Night and annual Christmas Tree lighting, so it’s a good time to be in town. Register for the race here.
Santa Stampede, Littleton, Colorado
December 16, 2017
Okay, so this is less of a fest and more of a race, but I thought I’d throw it on this list for good measure.
This 5K and 10K winds along the banks of the South Platte River in Littleton, Colorado, just southwest of Denver. The entire family is encouraged to join in this Colorado Runner Events race. All runners get a Santa hat with registration, but participants are encouraged to dress up as well.
The race’s start and finish grounds are located at Hudson Gardens and will feature more than 20 vendors. There will be a festive, holiday atmosphere. To register for this family-friendly fun run go here.
While most Friday festival posts are sponsored, this is not a sponsored post.
If you’ve been following HeidiTown for any length of time, you’ve probably met our German Shepherd, Xena. As Xena got older and had more health issues, we started looking for ways to include her on our trips. However, I was astonished to discover that many so-called “dog-friendly” hotels do not allow dogs over 45 pounds.
A lot of HeidiTown citizens have fur kids that exceed this weight limit – our Xena is 75 lbs – so I made it my mission to find a few awesome Colorado hotels that were large dog-friendly. Here’s the list I’ve put together of some truly fantastic hotels that do not discriminate against large breed dogs. If you know of others, please leave a note in the comment section. Continue reading
Breckenridge is a town we know well and many of my readers do too. So on our last trip, we decided to do some things in Breckenridge that we’d never done before. That included the fat bike tour that I wrote about earlier this month.
New Hotel in Breckenridge
It also included staying at a brand new hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott. It’s not only new to us, this hotel is new to Breckenridge, having opened this winter on the south side of downtown. Its location is ideal for easy exploration of Breckenridge on foot.
The Residence Inn has cool, contemporary interior design, but retains mountain touches and odes to Breckenridge’s past. The best part of this hotel, for me, was the pool. If there were a “Best View from a Mountain Pool” award, this one would surely win. Continue reading
I love riding bikes. I know this because at the end of a ride my teeth are covered in bugs and grit from smiling widely during my outing, but that’s okay – totally worth it. Riding a bike is one of the last things that genuinely makes me feel like a kid again.
This past weekend, I got to experience the best of both worlds during a fat bike tour with Ridden – I rode a bike that made me feel ten again and I took full advantage of being an adult because our bike ride destination was Breckenridge Distillery and Broken Compass Brewery.
We met up with our tour guide, Ashley Mahs at Ridden, a cool downtown sports shop selling new and used gear and providing rentals. Ridden started offering guided fat bike tours this winter, and participants get to ride brand new Borealis fat bikes that are made in Colorado Springs. Continue reading
I love things that make me feel like a little kid again; things like magic, 50 pound bags of popcorn at Costco and fresh snow. There’s something nostalgic about being truly awed, and as we get older that feeling happens less frequently.
However, these three Colorado winter festivals are sure to amaze even the most stoic adult. And if you bring along the kids, they’ll have memories to last a lifetime.
Telluride Fire Festival
January 20-22, 2017
The fire arts seem to have gained popularity over the last five years or so. Fire performers combine the entertainment style of Cirque de Soleil with the power of combustion. It’s sort of like magic because most of us have no idea how they do what they do.
Telluride Fire Festival is in its third year. It takes inspiration from Burning Man, and has been created by an incredible group of dedicated people in Telluride.
I attended the first-year event and I can tell you from personal experience that Telluride Fire Festival will make you feel like a kid again. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, spontaneous fire performances occur around town. From art cars to fire-breathing sculptures, it’s truly spectacular. Best of all, these events are free.
Additional ticketed events and workshops take place at various venues around town throughout Telluride Fire Festival. Explore their event calendar to learn more.
International Snow Sculpture Championships
Sculpting Week – January 24 to 28, 2017
Viewing Week – January 28 to February 5, 2017
I had heard about this Breckenridge event for years before I actually attended it in 2015, and I can honestly report that it lived up to the hype. The sheer scope of these snow sculpture is astounding, but then when you see the detail the artists are able to render in snow, it’s downright incredible.
Walking among these giant, snowy effigies gives me that spine-tingly excitement that’s a reminder of childhood.
I recommend attending the International Snow Sculpture Championships towards the end of the sculpting period when the artists are finishing up their sculptures. Watching the sculptors work gives real insight to the difficulty of this competition. I also encourage you to visit once at night too. Darkness adds a certain level of magic to this event.
Crystal Carnival & Ski Joring
March 3-5, 2017
Last, but certainly not least, I can almost guarantee that you’ll verbalize some “oohs” and “ahhs” at Crystal Carnival in Leadville. The ski joring competition at this festival is one of the most hair raising events I’ve ever witnessed in person and I’ve watched ice climbing.
The ski joring competition at Crystal Carnival is the real deal. This isn’t a stunt performance for the crowds. These are real cowboys, cowgirls and skiers who come to Leadville to compete for real cash prizes and bragging rights.
Leadville’s main street, Harrison Avenue, is transformed into a snowy raceway for the ski joring competition that occurs throughout Crystal Carnival weekend.
I recommend checking the schedule and arriving early so you can get a good spot to watch, preferably around the jumps.
Other events take place during Crystal Carnival including a night mountain bike ride in the snow called the Mineral Belt Mayhem, and there’s usually an evening dance at the local Elk’s Club with a live band. However, the highlight at this festival is definitely the ski joring, so don’t miss it.
A Note from the Mayor: This article first appeared in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor where I work as a reporter-at-large. The original title was “Explore Colorado.”
Colorado is a beautiful state. Even the towns that dot the Eastern Plains have their own sort of nostalgic charm. However, there are a few towns that really sparkle when blanketed with a fresh layer of snow. Here are the towns that I consider to be three of the most picturesque winter towns in Colorado.
Coloradans have a long time love affair with Crested Butte. And while it’s not quite the same quaint place it once was – according to Zillow the median home price is $995,000 – it still retains an authenticity that residents and visitors love.
Crested Butte sits on the border of where ranch land merges with the mountains. The town, which is located a short (free) bus ride from Crested Butte Mountain Resort, is full of colorful Victorian buildings, many of which house fantastic restaurants.
The town was incorporated in 1880, and had a population at that time of 400. In addition, approximately 1000 miners lived in the surrounding area. One of Crested Buttes’ most popular winter festivals, Al Johnson Memorial Uphill/Downhill Telemark Ski Race, is a celebration of Al Johnson, a mail carrier who traveled between the mining communities in the Crested Butte area in the late 1800s. Continue reading
New festivals crop up every summer in Colorado and it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I try. Here are five new ones that will appeal to a variety of different tastes.
Tequila & Tacos, Winter Park, July 9, 2016
Winter Park is a wonderful summer festival town and when Tequila & Tacos came across my radar, I immediately saved the date on my calendar.
Located in one of Colorado’s best festival venues, Hideaway Park, this new event is a celebration of one of my husband’s favorite things (tequila) and one of my favorite things (tacos) – so, yes, we have to go.
As you might expect, Tequila & Tacos includes tequila tasting and taco tasting, plus, live music provided by The Rick Lewis Project.
Keystone River Run Village Art Festival, July 30-31, 2016
Keystone is another great summer festival town. River Run Village is well-laid out for fun fests such as Wine & Jazz Festival and the Mountain Town Music Festival. This art event is the newest festival in the Keystone Festivals summer lineup.
There will be 80 artists at this juried, outdoor event. Admission is free.
Vertex Festival, Buena Vista, August 5-7, 2016
This new “camping” festival is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Colorado. The Vertex Festival website states, “Vertex merges the best of worlds to create a present-day frontier where anything is possible. Diverse music, exhilarating outdoor adventures and artful fun and games bring people together for an enduring shared experience.”
Vertex includes lots of live music, field trips, art events and more. If you’re looking for an event that will inspire creativity in a fantastic destination, Vertex may be the festival for you.
Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, August 12-13, 2016
This festival makes me want to start singing, “these are a few of my favorite things!”
Hotchkiss, Colorado is in Delta County, which is our state’s hidden gem. The region is bountiful and offers everything from vineyards to farm stays, and this festival is a celebration of those things, plus arts and crafts. Events include music, demonstrations and of course, wine, hard cider and lots of delicious, farm fresh food.
Breckenridge Wine Classic, September 15-18, 2016
A new wine event is coming to Breckenridge, Colorado. This festival brings together food artisans, wineries, breweries, distilleries, epicurean purveyors and locally made products. There will be cooking demonstrations, seminars and other opportunities for wine education. Events will take place at various venues around town.
The Breckenridge Wine Classic is for discriminating wine aficionados and it is also for those who may be new to the wine world.
If you know of any new festivals in Colorado this summer that aren’t listed here, please leave me a note in the comment section.
Last year I finally got the opportunity to attend the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. I’d known about the event for years and wondered if it would live up to the hype.
We were booked at the Village at Breckenridge and our room overlooked the parking lot in which the snow sculpting teams were working on their creations.
We were lucky enough to stay for long enough to watch the sculptures as they were carved into their various final compositions.
As we watched the sculptures take shape over several days I was blown away by the size and intricacy of each piece. The photographs I had seen of this event, while amazing, just simply hadn’t done it justice. Seeing this event in person is truly astounding.
This year’s event International Snow Sculpting Championships run Jan. 18 through February 7, 2016. The ideal time to visit, in my opinion, is Jan. 26-30 while the sculptures are being created, especially Jan. 29 when the teams work late into the night to finish their pieces. Watching the sculptures come to life, so to speak, is quite astonishing. Continue reading
If you’ve been paying attention, by now you probably know that I was invited by GoBreck to judge the 50th Annual Ullr Festival parade last week in Breckenridge, Colorado.
After looking through our parade photos, taken mostly by my husband, Ryan, I just had to share a few of our favorites with you.
Here are photos from the Ullr Festival parade on Thursday, January 10, 2013:
If there had been a prize for “cutest float,” this would have won it.
This is a good time to tell you that it was COLD out! Really, really cold.
The Ullr Festival parade is way more entertaining than your average 4th of July parade.
It’s fun being a judge! My hands were cold, but my helmet was AWESOME!
This gal was having A LOT of fun!
There are lots of viking women at Ullr Festival in very little clothing.
This float by Grand Lodge took home first place & won $1000.
The Good Times Adventures Snow Globe float was my favorite & they won 2nd place.
Floats full of shiny, happy people.
One of my favorite photos from Ullr Festival parade.
A huge thank you to GoBreck for asking me to participate in this wacky week of fun in Breckenridge, Colorado!!!
After a week off, it’s time for another installment of the Mayor on KRFC 88.9 FM, community public radio in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Starting in February, these shows will occur on the 1st and 3rd week of each month. Life is just getting too crazy to do a show each and every week.
Remember, if you’d like to catch the show on the radio, I’m on at 5:55 p.m. on Wednesdays, immediately before Bikes & Beer and on Fridays at 5 p.m.
On this week’s segment I talk about what I’m up to this week – it’s ULLR FESTIVAL – and preview one of my favorite winter festivals in Colorado.