‘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.
Each year I compile a list of my top ten highlights and each year it gets harder. This year was no exception. From birding festivals to wine festivals to festive Christmas outings, 2015 was chockablock with amazing Colorado experiences.
I truly hope you took inspiration from my travels and had a few Colorado festival and travel highlights of your own this year. At the end of this post feel free to leave a comment telling me a few of yours.
Without further ado, here are my top ten highlights of 2015 in no particular order.
The gift of a tomato in Crested Butte
Coloradans adore Crested Butte and before I visited this fall I wondered if the town would live up to the hype. Not only did it live up to my expectations, it exceeded them. The Crested Butte story I will tell for the rest of my life is that of the gift of the tomato. I’d only been in town a few hours when, while riding the free bus from town to the resort, a man gave me a beautiful heirloom tomato. Where else but in Crested Butte does a person receive the gift of fruit from a perfect stranger? No wonder folks adore this quintessential Colorado town.
Snow Sculpture Festival in Breckenridge
I’d been reading and hearing about the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge for years and in 2015, I finally attended. I discovered that there’s a good reason this event gets so much attention – it’s amazing. We were blown away by the spectacle of huge snow sculptures coming to life over the two day period while we were in town. This is an event that should absolutely be on your Colorado bucket list. Continue reading
Holiday weeks such as this one are notorious for low blog engagement, and that’s okay. I hope everyone is out enjoying the 4th of July and the extra, extra long weekend!
The HeidiTown Gives Back post about National Dog Mill Rescue went up on Monday, so today I’m sharing my radio segment. My 5 minute show airs twice a month on KRFC 88.9 FM, public radio in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can hear me on air at 5:55 p.m. on Wednesdays and 5 p.m. on Fridays.
This week I give you a sneak preview of my trip to Winter Park for The Village Uncorked and the SolShine Music Festival. Plus, a look ahead at the big, second weekend in July when huge festivals are happening up and down the Front Range of Colorado.
Listen to this week’s show HERE.
Mayor’s note: I’ve written a three-part series on Doing Durango. Part one, published on 5/15, was all about beer and part two published on 5/29/13 was all about food. The final post is all about the touristy activities you shouldn’t miss.
When I visit a new place, I usually try to blend in with the locals, but I’ll be honest, sometimes being a tourist is a lot of fun. We did a lot of stuff in Durango that locals love to do, but we also got to play tourists on our nearly week-long stay.
Ride the Train in Durango
I’ve already written about our excursion on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad here, and it is, without a doubt, the top tourist activity in the area. In addition to the standard train ride they have special train rides, like the Dinosaur Train this month, package excursions and more. Go to Durangotrain.com for more.
Don’t miss the Durango Train Museum located at the train depot. It’s free to tour and has an expansive model train set up that kids (and adults) will enjoy.
An Historical Walking Tour of Durango with the Victorian Aid Society
As part of the conference I was attending, I got to participate in an historical walking tour of downtown Durango guided by the Victorian Aid Society. Anyone can book a tour with this organization, just go here. They even have a Facebook page.
I’ve been on a few historical walking tours and this one is top notch. I wish I’d written down the names of our guides, but thankfully I got pictures. These gals were wonderful storytellers, and that’s what makes a good tour. I don’t just want dates and names, I want the inside scoop, the nitty gritty, the lowdown – and these ladies deliver all that and more.
Take a Horse & Carriage Ride in Durango
I’ll be honest. I have never wanted to go on a horse and carriage ride. It just seemed way too touristy. However, when I was offered a ride by Dean of San Juan Sky Outfitters, I decided to take him up on it, and Ryan and I were so glad that we did.
Even though I’d never been on a horse and carriage ride, as soon as I boarded, I knew this going to be a ride like no other. First of all, Dean and his haflingers are real characters. Haflingers are small horses known for longevity and their excellent disposition. This ride so memorable because of Dean and his horses.
We boarded the carriage in front of the beautiful Strater Hotel and took off fairly quickly as the haflingers were excited, after all, we were their first passengers of the season.
Our 40 minute tour of historic downtown Durango was exhilarating and humorous. Dean’s stories were slightly different versions than those told by the ladies of the Victorian Aid Society, which only added to the entertainment level. Let’s call Dean’s version of the same stories told by the VAS, the “Cowboy Version.”
You do not need reservation in advance. Just show up and jump aboard. Or you can sign up for a carriage tour with Dean at the Strater Hotel.
Want more info on Durango? Go to Durango.org.
Special thanks to the General Palmer Hotel for hosting us during part of this trip. Room 301 was a wonderful place to relax after a busy day of exploring Durango.
This trip was sponsored in part by Durango.org.
I love music. I grew up in a family where guitars were played on a nightly basis and a singalong accompanied by the piano was commonplace. I don’t, however, go to a lot of music festivals. There are two reasons for this, and the first reason is that they tend to be pricey. Second, like beer festivals, there are a lot of them. They happen all the time, especially in the summer, all over the state. I just can’t keep up.
I’ve known about the Golden Music Festival, formerly the Summer Solstice Music Festival) for a few years. The event features folk, Americana and bluegrass. I have a soft-spot for singer/songwriters and I love acoustic guitar – if you throw in a fiddle, I’m in heaven. When Visit Golden invited me to attend this 3-day music festival over Father’s Day Weekend, I jumped at the chance.
I am happy to report that tickets to this event are very reasonably priced. A 3-day admission to the fest is just $35. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $25, and to attend just one day is $15. The best part? Children under 12 are free.
The event is a yearly fundraiser for the Golden History Museum and is held at the natural amphitheater at Clear Creek History Park, a beautiful setting right downtown. Picnics are allowed, but alcoholic beverages may only be purchased onsite.
I know this is an event that will appeal to lots of music-loving fathers out there. I hope that you will join me!
I plan to dance.
Golden Music Festival
June 14-16, 2013
Clear Creek History Park
GO HERE for band line-up & to purchase tickets
Mayor’s note: I’m going to write a three-part series on Doing Durango. Part one, published on 5/15 was all about beer. Today’s post is all about food and the last post in the series will focus on touristy, fun activities you shouldn’t miss.
In Durango you are just as likely to see a man in a cowboy hat as a guy with sleeve tattoos and ear gauges, and you can be certain that both will be more than happy to stop and help you with directions. This town is friendly and locals will eagerly give you their two cents on the best spots in town to eat and drink.
Dining options abound in Durango. From vegan and gluten free options to menus dedicated to the meat lover in all of us. Nearly every eatery has a top quality wine menu and large craft beer selection; it’s definitely a foodie sort of town.
After spending the good part of a week in Durango, here were our dining highlights, and the places I’d recommend.
Breakfast in Durango
This one is a no-brainer. No less than five people had recommended this place to me when they found out that I was going to be visiting Durango. Ryan and I are big fans of diners, and this one is authentic.
With only a few tables, most of the seating is at the long diner-style bar, and they cook and prepare the food right there in front of you. You see everything, from 12 eggs sizzling on the large flat grill to ladles full of Durango Diner’s famous green chili being generously poured over nearly every plate.
Our verdict? Continue reading
Mayor’s note: I’m writing a three-part series on DOing Durango. Part one, focuses on the Durango brewery scene. Part two will focus on food. Part three will focus on touristy, fun activities you shouldn’t miss.
If I had to use just one word to describe Durango, Colorado, it would be “chill.” People are friendly and the pace of life is a few clicks slower than along the Front Range of Colorado. It’s not surprising that this town of 17,000 has five breweries, because nothing says “chill” like relaxing on a sunlit patio with a cold craft brew in hand.
We visited in late April and for the first several days of this trip I was attending a conference, but for the last couple days we played like locals and that meant drinking some really good beer.
I have been behind the scenes at a number of breweries, but have never had on an official tour until we visited Ska Brewing in Durango. Our tour guide was Holly and we were joined by a pair of brewery owners from Fruita. Continue reading
Collections at museums often represent snapshots from different places and different people. To find a collection of historical artifacts from one family is rare. To find them at the farm where the family lived for more than 100 years is even rarer.
This is what makes Timberlane Farm Museum in Loveland, Colorado so special.
The farm has been in the same family since 1860, when Judge W.B. Osborn and his wife Margaret acquired a 160 acre homestead in the Thompson Valley. Over the years the farm grew, but today just 17 acres remain, but also remaining are thousands of stories and hundreds of genuine artifacts from one of the first families of Loveland.
A visit to Timberlane Farm Museum brings Loveland history and Larimer County history alive – literally. I was greeted by the moo of cows as I exited my car at the farm on a snowy April day.
Located at 1st Avenue and Denver Avenue, hundreds of Lovelanders drive by Timberlane Farm every day, but few know much about the place. The museum was established six years ago as a nonprofit by Louise Osborn Gardels, the great granddaughter of Judge W.B. Osborn. Now 90-years-old, Gardels lives in Loveland and plays a vital role at the museum.
This living history museum truly breathes life into Loveland’s history from the mid-1800s to the 1940s. I’m not going to give everything about the farm away in this post because you should go on a tour and get the real story. I will, however, share with you a few of my favorite things from my tour. Continue reading
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.
As you know, Ryan and I did a lot of traveling this winter and every trip has a special place in our hearts. Grand Junction, however, has a special place in our stomachs. If you are a fan of eating and drinking, you’ll want to get out a pen and paper and take notes on this post.
We’d driven by Grand Junction and Palisade a number of times over the years, but had never stopped, so we had no idea what we’d been missing.
So without further ado, here’s a two-day Grand Junction/Palisade itinerary, influenced greatly by our March trip.
Before heading out to Grand Junction, call and make dinner reservations at Bin 707 Foodbar. Arrive Grand Junction and check into your hotel. We stayed at The Clarion. It’s a simple, freeway hotel, but they provide a free shuttle to downtown and there’s a nice little bar at the attached restaurant, Pantuso’s Ristorante.
Utilize free shuttle ride to downtown. If you are a little early, browse Art on the Corner and do a little shopping. We were impressed without how busy downtown Grand Junction gets on a Friday night – every restaurant was packed and the sidewalks were bustling with people.
Bin 707 Foodbar is a little slice of culinary heaven in the heart of Grand Junction. They serve up locally sourced food in a contemporary, yet comfortable environment. Engage your knowledgeable server to learn about the menu.
We started with an assembly of charcuterie and artisan cheese. Charcuterie is the craft of salting, curing and smoking meat. There was a rich pate made in-house with fresh herbs, prosciutto cut so thin you could see through it and headcheese made by the Chef of Bin 707. All the cheeses were from Colorado including the Ashley from MouCo Cheese Company in Fort Collins, a personal favorite.
We didn’t stop with the cheese and meat plate. We ordered up fried oysters served with aioli sauce, roasted beet salad (a customer favorite) and grilled cheese flatbread with arugula salad. I felt like I was on an episode of Top Chef and I gave everything top scores.
We paired our food with local wine and ended our meal with two unique deserts. I’m not a big desert person, but my beet ice cream was sweet and earthy at the same time, an amazing combination. Ryan ordered the Momofuku Crack pie, and they might actually spike it with an illegal substance because it’s that freakin’ good.
We got up early, had the free breakfast buffet at The Clarion and then headed to Powderhorn Resort for a morning of skiing. The resort is about 45 minutes from Grand Junction. However, if you’re making this trip during the spring or summer, head to the Colorado National Monument to some morning hiking and bighorn sheep hunting. Hunt with your camera, of course. I wrote about our experience at the Colorado National Monument in a previous post here.
After burning some calories, it’s time to start eating and drinking again. Grab a quick lunch at Pablo’s Pizza in downtown Grand Junction and now it’s time for wine.
Start with Two Rivers Winery & Chateau in Grand Junction; the Syrah and Cab were my favorite here. Afterwards, make the 20 minute drive to Palisade where you can hit multiple wineries within walking or biking distance of one another. We started at Grande River Winery, one of the original wineries on the Western Slope. Just next door is Talon Winery and St. Kathryn Cellars. Talon has traditional wines while St. Kathryn’s stirs things up a bit by offering fruity wines. They even have a lavender wine. Just down the road, we visited Plum Creek Winery where I enjoyed nearly every taster on their list.
We heard wonderful things about Colterris, but were unable to visit them on this trip. I did have one of their reds at Bin 707, and it was a well-rounded, memorable wine.
Before leaving Palisade, be sure to visit Peach Street Distillery. The cliffs of the mesa glowed pink as we pulled into the parking lot just before sunset. It was warm enough to sit on the patio, but every seat was taken, so we sat inside, sipping on sweet, fresh drinks and listening to classical guitar. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful afternoon.
Note: If you plan to spend the afternoon drinking in Palisade on Day Two, please make someone in your group the designated driver!
For dinner we ate Irish fare at Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub in downtown Grand Junction. This is a popular place, so be prepared for a wait. On a two-day itinerary, beer drinkers may prefer dinner at Kannah Creek Brewing Company. I had a yummy sandwich there on our visit to Grand Junction. Popular with college students, the patio fills up quickly on a nice day.
So there you have it. A two-day itinerary to Grand Junction, and I promise it will not disappoint. Book you trip around one of the Western Slope’s many spring and summer festivals, like the Palisade International Honeybee Festival on April 12-13, or the Art & Jazz Fest in downtown Grand Junction on May 10-12, 2013. For the scoop on other festivals, go to VisitGrandJunction.com.
We genuinely fell in love with the Western Slope during this trip. The landscape + people + food + wine is a winning combination and we can’t wait to visit again.
This trip sponsored by Visit Grand Junction.