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A Weekend Itinerary for Longmont, Colorado

I like to keep things real here on HeidiTown and so I will start this blog post by telling you a personal story about Longmont. When Ryan and I decided to move out of Denver in the early 2000s, we looked into Longmont and decided it was a big nope. There just wasn’t much going on in the town.

Fast forward to today and I think we may have made the wrong decision.

A Weekend Itinerary for Longmont, Colorado, HeidiTown.com. bikes on main street

Longmont has blossomed into a beautiful and vibrant community. Downtown’s renovated sidewalks and artful alleyways make it a welcoming place. There’s always a festival or live music happening somewhere in town, and places like the Prospect neighborhood are cute little escapes with their own special vibe. There’s also a plethora of breweries, a cidery and several distilleries.
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Featured Festival: Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival, August 11-12, 2017

There are many things to love about the North Fork Valley of Delta County and the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival (August 11-12, 2017) is at the top of that list. This festival was brand new last year, and from the moment I heard the name, I knew they had a good thing going.

Farm to Fiddle Blue Logo

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival takes place in the lovely village of Hotchkiss, Colorado, located about an hour southeast of Grand Junction in one of our state’s most bountiful growing areas.

It’s About Music

As the name suggests, this festival features lots of music and that’s easy to do in an area brimming with musicians.

Featured Festival Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival Jeneve Rose Mitchell courtesy photo HeidiTown.com

Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Friday’s musical guest is the North Fork Valley’s very own Jeneve Rose Mitchell who grew up in Crawford, just down the road from Hotchkiss. Now 17, at age 15, Mitchell appeared on American Idol where she stole hearts and the show. Performing since the age of 4, Mitchell is taking the country music world by storm and this is your chance to see her live.

Saturday’s musical feature is David Starr. His website describes him as a musician with “Arkansas roots and Colorado wings.” This past April, he released “The Head And Heart,” produced and arranged by John Oates. Also local, when he isn’t touring the country you’ll find Starr in his music store in Cedaredge, Colorado, about 30 minutes from Hotchkiss.

Featured Festival Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival David Starr courtesy photo. HeidiTown.com

Courtesy photo. Used with permission.

There are many other musicians scheduled to play throughout the two-day festival including another local favorite, the Solar Brothers. Check out the festival’s website for the entire musical lineup.

It’s About Farms

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival plays hosts to a farmers’ market that will have you drooling. And this farmers’ market is your chance to meet local farmers who will be in attendance selling their fresh produce.

FEATURED FESTIVAL Farm to Fiddle Festival, Hotchkiss, Colorado. Veggies. HeidiTown.com

Veggies at the Hotchkiss Saturday Farmers’ Market.

It’s About Art

Hotchkiss is a highly active art community. In fact, their Creamery Arts Center is a major feature of the town and a can’t-be-missed attraction when you visit. The park next to the center is where much of the festival’s activity will take place. There will be arts and crafts on display throughout the festival.

It’s About the Great Outdoors

In addition to farm fun, musical performances and art and food, the Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival will play host to the Western Colorado Outdoor Expo, a show that showcases the outdoor adventures available in Delta County and Western Colorado. From the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the Grand Mesa, this area is jam-packed with recreational opportunities for everyone. And a bonus about doing outdoor activities here is that unlike Colorado’s Front Range, these beautiful parks and open lands are crowd free.

This expo features speakers, demos, vendors and more.

Hotchkiss from Delta County Tourism 4

A hoola hooper in Hotchkiss. (Courtesy of Delta County)

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival takes place at the same time as the Delta County Fair, which is also held in Hotchkiss, so it’s an exciting time to visit the town.

Farm to Fiddle Summer Festival

August 11-12, 2017

Downtown Hotchkiss, Colorado

FarmtoFiddle.com

FREE ADMISSION

Join Farm to Fiddle on Facebook

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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. Thank you!

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Featured Festival: Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, Feb. 10-12, 2017

This fest has fireworks and fire arts, ice sculptures and light shows, bands and singers and so much more. No wonder Loveland Fire & Ice Festival won the Downtown Colorado, Inc. Governor’s Best Festival Award 2016.

Featured Festival Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, courtesy photo

Courtesy of Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

The amount of things to do at the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival will make your head spin. It truly has a little something for everyone. Whether you like live music or are looking for entertainment for the kids — toddler or teens — this festival has got you covered.

In addition to the festival’s fireworks show that occurs every evening throughout the three day festival, and ice sculptures that dot the downtown landscape, there is a new event happening at this year’s Loveland Fire & Ice Festival.

It’s the brand new Brewing & Distilling Arts event. In addition to a carved ice bar that will be on display, local craft beers, ciders, wines, sangria and specialty moonshine will be available to taste via a token system.

The Brewing & Distillery Arts events, which happens daily throughout the event, is sure to liven up this already joyous festival. Check here for specific times and token sale information.

At its core, Loveland Fire & Ice is a family festival. Children will enjoy a carousel and carnival games. There are also carriage rides available to both families and sweethearts.  

Featured Festival Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, ice sculpture, courtesy photo

Photo courtesy of Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

If you love live music, you won’t want to miss this festival.

The musical lineup on the event’s Main Stage is filled with bands that will keep festival attendees dancing in the streets of Loveland to the sounds of classic rock, blues and pop.

There will be three more places to listen to music over the weekend including the Cleveland Performance Stage, Lincoln Performance Stage and Jefferson Performance Stage. The festival’s website has a complete lineup of performers on each stage on their Attractions page.

Visitors can also shop at Loveland Fire & Ice Festival in the event’s Marketplace featuring multiple vendors and exhibitors.

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival 2015. HeidiTown.com (9)

Should all this excitement make you hungry, visit the Food Truck Food Court which will host 13 different vendors selling everything from coffee to waffles.

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival is an extravaganza of fun and an affordable way to entertain the entire family.

Featured Festival Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, fire performer, courtesy photo

Photo courtesy of Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

Loveland is located just 52 miles north of Denver, 58 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is just minutes from Fort Collins. It’s easy to join in the free fun in downtown Loveland this February.

 

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival

February 10-12, 2017

Loveland, Colorado (downtown)

Admission: FREE

(with the exception of some ticketed events)

LovelandFireandIce.com

Loveland Fire & Ice on Facebook

Follow Loveland Fire & Ice on Facebook

#LoveFireIce2017

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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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Fort Collins for Christmas

Considering a holiday getaway this month? Fort Collins is an excellent Colorado Christmas town. Downtown sparkles with thousands of lights and from Old Town Square to Oak Street Plaza Park, the atmosphere is merry.

Fort Collins for Christmas

This past weekend, we did one-night getaway in Fort Collins to experience the city’s holiday offerings. Before exploring the festive scene we checked into the Fernweh Inn & Hostel on Mulberry, just blocks from the excitement of downtown Fort Collins.

Some people, including my husband, Ryan, have an aversion to any place with hostel in the name. The word makes him worried that he’s going to have to share a bathroom or wash dishes to earn his keep.

Fort Collins for Christmas, the Fernweh Inn & Hostel in the snow

Fernweh is a modern-day, American hostel which offers private rooms as well as bunk rooms. Our private room, “The Loft,” was a virtual suite because the space occupied the entire upstairs of this historic, Victorian home. There was a full bathroom in the room complete with large, soaking bathtub and multiple beds, making it perfect for a family or friends. Continue reading

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

HeidiTown on the Radio – Ullr, Estes & Stock Show, oh my

ice rink at Estes Park Winter Festival

Ice rink at the Estes Park Winter Festival in 2012. This year's event is Jan. 18-21, 2013.

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.

LISTEN HERE.

 

A stay at The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado

The Rush Casino & Hotel by HeidiTown

The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

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.

view driving into Cripple Creek Colorado photo by HeidiTown

View driving into Cripple Creek, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

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.

mini-bar gift basket at The Rush Casino in Cripple Creek photo by HeidiTown

Our mini-bar gift basket at The Rush. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

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.

Elvis machine at The Rush photo by HeidiTown

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

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.

Heidi at the Cripple Creek jail museum photo by HeidiTown

Ryan at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum photo by HeidiTown

My father-in-law goofing off at the Cripple Creek jail museum by HeidiTown

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.

The Rush Casino Cripple Creek December 2012 HeidiTown.com

The Rush Casino, formerly The Gold Rush. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

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.

You can find The Rush online at TheRushCasino.com. You can also find them on Facebook HERE and follow them on Twitter.

PLEASE NOTE: The Rush Casino unexpectedly closed on Friday, January 4, 2013. I still highly recommend a trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

HeidiTown on the radio – Bohemian Nights, a radio preview

Michael Franti

Courtesy photo. Michael Franti & Spearhead headline the first evening of Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, running August 10-12, 2012.

Last week, I previewed Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest on the blog and this week I’m also talking about it on my segment on KRFC 88.9 FM.

As one of the largest, FREE, music festivals in Colorado, it deserves an entire radio segment dedicated to the event.

Listen HERE.

Is Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest the best music festival in Colorado?

My parents met while singing in a traveling church band in the 70s, and on many childhood nights I fell asleep listening to my dad strumming his guitar downstairs. My mom, who is an accomplished pianist, laughingly used to accuse my dad of hugging his guitar more than her.

Obviously, I was born into a musical family, and I have an honest appreciation of musicians and live music. Unfortunately, I rarely write about music festivals on HeidiTown, in part because there are so many. I could start a blog dedicated entirely to Colorado music fests and never run out of material.

Earlier this year, I was lucky to be assigned to write about Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest by an editor in my freelance life. During the assignment I had the opportunity to meet many of the people behind the event and some of the musicians who are playing this year.

I have always thought Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest was a cool event, but after getting a glimpse behind the curtain, I am convinced it’s one of the best, if not the best, music fest in the state of Colorado.

Patti Fiasco

Courtesy photo. The Patti Fiasco. Click the photo to go to this band's Facebook page.

So what makes Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest so great?

There are several reasons this fest rates so high in my mind. First, there’s the location. It takes a lot of strategic planning and cooperation between many organizations and the City of Fort Collins to put on a large, free festival in the heart of downtown. Most music festivals occur in a stadium or a farmer’s field, but this event takes place in Old Town Fort Collins. The location gives it a community vibe, and Old Town provides a lovely backdrop.

Another reason this festival is special is its longevity. This is the 24th year of this event that was originally just “NewWestFest” – a celebration of Fort Collins’ birthday. This summer the city turns 139, and she’s looking pretty good for her age.

The third and final reason this is a truly outstanding festival is that it is not only one of the largest, if not largest, gatherings of Colorado bands in the state, but it’s a chance for emerging artists to connect with new fans.

The event organizers spend hundreds of hours putting together a lineup that will please the crowds at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, but will also surprise them. They deliberately do not have music-specific stages. In other words, you will not find a “Bluegrass Stage” or “Jazz Stage.” They want to expose music-lovers to bands they might not have otherwise discovered, and to give bands a chance to strut their stuff in front on a big stage.

Alison Krauss

Courtesy Photo. Alison Krauss & Union Station.

For years now, Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest has been attracting nationally recognized headliners and this year is no exception. Michael Franti and Spearhead, Alison Krauss & Union Station with Jerry Douglas and the Gipsy Kings will play the main stage on Mountain Avenue during this three-day event.

I’m very excited to see these amazing headliners (for free), but I am also looking forward to hearing local bands like The Patti Fiasco. I interviewed the band’s front woman, Alysia Kraft, and she is a gifted singer/songwriter and performer. The Patti Fiasco plays the Library Stage on Friday, August 10 at 5 p.m.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest runs Friday, August 10 through Sunday, August 12. Around 100 bands are scheduled to play over the three days on six music stages. There are also two entertainment stages, lots of arts, crafts and food vendors, and of course, beer gardens.

I have a lot of readers in the Denver area, and I promise you, Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is worth the drive to Fort Collins. Yes, it will be crowded, and yes, it’s almost always hot, but if you visit with an open mind and the goal of discovering a new and exciting band, you will not be disappointed.

For more information:

BohemianNights.com

DowntownFortCollins.com

Learn about & win tickets to the 1940s WWII Era Ball in Boulder, Colorado

1940s WII Era Ball FB

Courtesy of the 1940s WWII Era Ball. Click the picture to join the ball on Facebook.

Put on your reddest lips and slip on your most comfortable dancing shoes, it’s time for one of Colorado’s most unique events, the 1940s WWII Era Ball.

I have been to the ball and it was a terrific experience. The Big Band Christmas Ball, produced by the same folks, has also become a tradition in my family. The popularity of these two events has resulted in a third ball being added in September, the Voodoo Island 1940s & 1950s Tiki Exotica Ball.

Being involved in these parties has even inspired Ryan and I to take swing lessons, so that we can cut a proper rug on the dance floor at these events. We’re usually the ones salsa dancing to big band music, which can be done, but just doesn’t look as good.

WWII ball tank

1940s WWII Era Ball, 2011. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

The 1940s WWII Era Ball is held annually at the Boulder Airport, an ideal location for an event that includes vintage airplanes, a 40s car show, military vehicles and re-enactors. The ball is taking place Father’s Day weekend and features a 1940s USO style show with Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters. The world famous Las Vegas Bob Hope impersonator, Bill Johnson, has been booked for the ball this year.

My favorite part of the ball is dancing the night away to the tunes of The Hot Tomatoes, the Rocky Mountain’s most sought after big band. It’s impossible not to get up and boogie when this band is on the stage.

The airport grounds are transformed into a festive atmosphere with food vendors and cocktail stands. I recommend getting to the ball early enough to tour the vintage cars and airplanes while it’s still light out so that you can take some photos.

The event is a salute to “The Greatest Generation,” and many of these men and women come to the ball. In fact, there is a vast array of ages and faces at this event, and everyone is friendly so be ready to make a few new friends.

The Mayor showing a little leg at the 1940s WWII Ball

The Mayor of HeidiTown showing a little leg at the1940s WWII Ball. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

This year’s theme is Casablanca and the hanger at the airport will be transformed into Rick’s Café American, complete with belly dancers, Rick, Sam and a working roulette table.

This is truly a night to remember, and last year the ball sold out. This year, the 1940s WWII Era Ball will be held Saturday, June 16 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance through the website and $35 at the door. Children under 12 are not permitted.

Now here’s your chance to win a pair of tickets to this fantastic event. Just leave a comment here telling me your favorite classic film. I know many of you love “Casablanca,” but my favorite is Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.”

The winner will be chosen using Random.org on Monday, June 4 at 3 p.m.

Good luck!

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