I’m a small town girl at heart, but I love the city during the holidays and Denver is especially Christmassy at this time of year.
This past weekend, we visited Denver with the intention of immersing ourselves in the holiday spirit and we accomplished our mission.
Ryan and I arrived in the city around 1 p.m. and checked in early to our hotel, the brand new Le Méridien in downtown Denver. From the chandelier in the lobby to the rooftop bar, Le Méridien is 20 floors of modern, classy comfort. Plus, the location of this Denver hotel is ideal if you’re catching a show at the Denver Performing Arts Center or attending an event at the Denver Convention Center, as both are less than a block away.
Le Méridien would be an ideal hotel to stay at during GABF (Great American Beer Festival), but I’d reserve your room now as the entire city books up during that week. Continue reading
‘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.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love online shopping. I’m also going to admit that when I visited Ouray this past weekend for Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, I had no intention of Christmas shopping while in town except to maybe find something for my nieces at Ouray’s excellent toy store.
The new owners have taken a keen interest in getting to know the products they sell, and Tina helped us pick out the perfect gifts for our pre-teen and post-toddler nieces. We also picked up a new card game that’s been a hit in Ouray. It’s called Happy Salmon and is chaos your family will love. Continue reading
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.
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
We have 44 days of fall left, but the beautiful fall drives are over, so how do we continue to celebrate this shoulder season? I’ve got a few suggestions.
A Late Fall Getaway in Colorado
November isn’t a big getaway month for most people, but the “shoulder season” is a wonderful time to travel in Colorado. There are less cars on the roads, and unless you’re traveling on Thanksgiving, you’ll find some great hotel deals over the next 44 days.
We have a tradition of doing birthday getaways in our house and since my husband’s birthday is in November, we’ve done quite a bit of fall travel in Colorado. Denver is actually one of my top picks for this time of year because the city dresses up beautifully for the holidays and it’s fun to stroll a brightly lit up downtown. Continue reading
There are still 144 days until Christmas, so please don’t panic, however, it’s never too soon to plan holiday travel. And after this summer heatwave we’ve been experiencing, a cool down in the beautiful village of Ouray, Colorado sounds heavenly.
Imagine spending a wintry weekend surrounded by snowy peaks in Ouray, Colorado. Snowshoe on a local trail, enjoy a delicious meal or cozy up with a warm whiskey drink at KJ Wood Distillers. Top it all off with Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.
Discounted tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival
The Annual Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival takes place during Ouray’s Winterfest, a seven-week holiday season of events and promotions. It starts after Thanksgiving and last through the Ouray Ice Festival in January. Festive activities take place throughout Winterfest, including Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.
This blog post is your chance to purchase discounted tickets to Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, and to start planning your winter getaway in Ouray.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday, December 10, 2016.
This festival features Colorado wines, chocolate and cheeses, and has expanded to include local craft distillers and arts and crafts. Of course, there’s live music too and this year’s festival theme is 1930’s Swing.
Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is a beautiful way to ring in the holidays with a few of everyone’s favorite things. And it’s also an opportunity to purchase last minute Colorado gifts for all your favorite people.
Click here and enter “HeidiTown” into the “Enter Promotional Code” box to receive a 10% discount on your 2016 tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. Promotion runs through August 31, 2016.
Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is online at ColoradoWineFest.org.
Start planning your visit to Ouray at OurayColorado.com.
Each year, Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival supports a local non-profit and this year’s benefactor is Weehawken Creative Arts, helping kids and adults in Ouray County and neighboring communities discover their creative potential through the arts.
Winterfest is supported by the Annual Ouray Jeep Raffle, a half-century-long community fundraiser that gives participants the opportunity to win a jeep.
This post is a paid advertisement. Interested in marketing your event, festival or destination with HeidiTown.com? Please email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
Full disclosure: As a redhead with an Irish grandmother, I’m a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day. BIG.
Last year I finally attended the Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Fort Collins, Colorado, and it’s a heck of a good time.
This is one of Fort Collins’ biggest parties of the year, with half the town coming out to witness the huge parade and after party in Old Town Square. Downtown Fort Collins literally becomes a sea of green, including the beer.
When we arrived in Fort Collins last St. Patty’s Day, Ryan and I were amazed to find the streets full of parade fans, and for good reason. It’s a premiere parade, with participates sticking with the theme of green, green, green. The streets get full, so get there early to find prime parade watching territory.
Families, college kids and leashed dogs all come together to celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year.
The best part of this event, aside from the parade, are the bands that play in Old Town Square. Fort Collins keeps it authentic with Irish bands and pipe bands.
This year, stick around after the parade, stick around downtown to enjoy music with Irish bands such as Gobs O’Phun, The Commoners and TribU2, a U2 Tribute band. Guinness will be flowing along with Odells and green beer in Old Town Square. In addition you’ll find Irish food, green cotton candy, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Whiskey.
I’m not normally a fan of green beer, because it’s weird and not authentically Irish, however, last year we indulged and enjoyed our green beers.
This year the parade features over 80 floats and Colorado State University’s own Dr. Temple Grandin is the parade Grand Marshall.
Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Fort Collins, Colorado
March 16, 2013
Parade route & more info can be found at
While in Cripple Creek I was incarcerated and lost some money, but I’d still go back. We arrived in Cripple Creek on a cloudy Friday afternoon. I had been invited to be a guest at the brand new Rush Casino, formerly the Gold Rush. The building had been shuttered for three years before the new owners bought it, renovated the place and opened in August 2012.
I had never been to Cripple Creek before, and I can’t say that about many Colorado towns, so I was extra excited as we past Manitou Springs and then Woodland Park. As we neared our destination we were greeted by this view, just outside of Cripple Creek.
When we arrived in town I was quite delighted by the look of the place. Cripple Creek is an authentic mining town, all red brick and Victorian charm. While they legalized gambling in the early 1990s, the town has managed to retain its historical appeal.
At The Rush we found a open-plan casino, with extra high, golden ceilings and lots of elbow room. I dislike feeling pinned in at a casino, so this was a pleasant surprise. Apparently every guest at The Rush receives a mini-bar gift basket, a practice I would encourage every hotel to establish. At check in we were asked what we would like in our gift basket and given a list of items we could choose from.
While the casino at The Rush has been fully remodeled, the boutique hotel upstairs hasn’t receive as much attention, but there is a fresh coat of paint and upscale amenities like flat screen televisions and high end bath products. Our large room overlooked Bennett Avenue and included a nice view of the vintage Gold Rush sign.
We spent the first night gambling at The Rush, and winning at everything with the exception of three-card poker. I had very good luck at the Elvis game; the King and I got on famously. I enjoy these new games that include a chair with surround sound. At this game you rock out to famous Elvis tunes while trying to hunt down the rabbit in the Hound Dog Hunt. It’s seriously fun.
In addition to your mini-bar gift basket, guests at The Rush get free “bottomless” breakfast at the casino’s restaurant. I really enjoyed the breakfasts during our stay, especially the fresh jalapenos in my omelet, and you can’t beat the $1.50 bloody Mary.
We spent the morning of our second day exploring Bennett Avenue. As we scouted out the other casinos and did some shopping at the boutiques along the northeast side town, it began to snow. The town was quickly blanketed in white and with the twinkling Christmas lights, it felt very much like an old-fashion kind of holiday.
There are some cute shops in Cripple Creek, including a candy store that we stopped at every day during our stay and 9494, my favorite store in town where I bought an adorable hat. The General Store is over 40 years old and squished between two casinos on the south side of Bennett. It is an entertaining place to shop and includes lot of stuff for kids.
Back at the casino we met up with my in-laws who had arrived from Denver. Lunch at The Rush got fairly high marks from our group, especially the chicken wrap. After lunch, we left my mother-in-law at the slot machines and took my father-in-law with us to get into some trouble – and we succeeded, as the photos prove.
As you can tell, we had a good laugh at the Outlaw & Lawmen Jail Museum.
That evening we spent time gambling at The Rush, and my husband had too much fun at the Monopoly slot machine and the black jack tables. Every Saturday night the casino brings in a DJ who takes requests and keeps things festive. The drinks and fun flowed, and despite not winning the hourly cash prize of $100, we had another great night.
I’m very excited about the future of The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek. The Palladium is a 900-seat outdoor auditorium directly behind the casino and the owners plan to renovate it starting this spring. It should be open for summer concerts in 2013 – more than enough reason to go back and stay at The Rush again.
PLEASE NOTE: The Rush Casino unexpectedly closed on Friday, January 4, 2013. I still highly recommend a trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado.
It’s time for another segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.
Please note that there will not be a radio segment next week due to the Mayor’s crazy holiday schedule.
The evolution of the HeidiTown brand over the past year has been amazing, and lots of exciting things are in store for the upcoming year. On this week’s radio show I share with the listeners some of the changes happening around HeidiTown in 2013.
Also, I highlight some of the New Year’s Eve celebrations taking place in Fort Collins and Denver.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may 2013 by the Best Year yet for all of us!!!
In this week’s HeidiTown segment on KRFC 88.9 FM I introduce the radio audience to my HeidiTown Gives Back Recipient, Cafe 180. I chat about some fun holiday events that may get overlooked, plus I give the listeners some of my personal air travel tips, since many of us will be running the airport gauntlet this Christmas.