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Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pie at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials

If you think sheepdog trials involve dogs chasing sheep around, you’d be a little right, but not entirely right. Sheepdog trials are much more involved than I ever realized and our weekend trip to Meeker, in Northwest Colorado, was an eye opening experience. I liked it so much that I’m hoping to sponsor a dog/handler team in 2018.

Dogs, Sheep & Meat Pies at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials (7)

When I set out on this trip, I didn’t really intend to write specifically about the sheepdog trials, after all, I was there to judge and help promote the Jammin’ Lamb Festival, a lamb cook off in downtown. However, after watching the competition, I really wanted to write about it.

So what are sheepdog trials? In a nutshell, it’s a competitive sport in which herding dogs, under the command of their handler, move sheep around a large field, through fences and gates and into enclosures. The sport is mimicking the work that many of these dogs do at home on the ranch, although some of these dogs spend most of their time competing. Continue reading

HeidiTown on the radio – Agritourism events around Colorado this September

Ripe wheat earsIt’s Monday, and that means this week’s segment from KRFC 88.9 FM is here!

By the way, September 14-22 is KRFC’s membership drive. This is a 100% community run radio station and it takes donations to keep the doors open. There are all sorts of membership levels to choose from so become a member today and help keep shows like HeidiTown on the air!

BECOME A KRFC MEMBER

Now on to our regular scheduled blog post.

Last week I wrote about agritourism, and on this week’s radio show I share some upcoming agritourism-related events happening around Colorado including harvest festivals and a top-notch foodie event in Denver.

LISTEN TO THE HEIDITOWN SEGMENT HERE.

Agri-what? Colorado agritourism & why you’ll want to take part

farm fieldAgritourism is a relatively new word, and in fact it is so new that my computer does not actually recognize it as a real word. Agritourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry, but what is it?

It’s where agriculture and tourism intersect. If you’ve ever visited a working farm to buy eggs or tour their vegetable patch, or if you’ve taken your children to a corn maze or on a hay ride, you’ve participated in agritourism.

Agritourism covers a broad range of activities and includes educational, cultural and culinary events. It often involves hands-on experiences.

While most people consider Colorado a ski and adventure destination, our state was built on agriculture. Today, tourism is a big piece of the state’s economy, so bringing agriculture and tourism together just makes sense.

I’ll admit, I’ve only participated a little in agritourism, although the wine country on the Western Slope is at the top of my must-do list. Colorado’s Western Slope is a mecca for agritourism, especially as Colorado’s wine grows in popularity and reputation.

cluster of red grapesEvents like Tour de Vineyard, happening this weekend, are the perfect opportunity to participate in agritourism. This 25-mile bike ride travels through Colorado’s Wine Country, and is held just prior to the Colorado Mountain Winefest, featuring over 50 state wineries.

The Western Slope isn’t only a wine lovers paradise, they also grow all sorts of fruit and celebrate their harvest all summer and fall with music, dancing and of course, lots of delicious food.

For instance, the Mountain Harvest Festival, held the last weekend in September in Paonia, gives visitors the opportunity to meet local farmers. The festival’s website includes a page with links to two local farm tours you can take while attending the festival; one is a self-guided tour, while the other is a farm to farm bicycle tour.

RanchStaying at a dude ranch also falls in the agritourism travel category and you don’t have to go to Wyoming or Montana to find one. ColoradoRanch.com has 29 ranches listed, with activities that include cattle drives to white water rafting.

There are all types of ranch stays to choose from; you can indulge in a luxury stay, or an experience where your hands may blister and your boots will surely get dirty. Personally, I think the luxury stay sounds rather nice, although I wouldn’t mind feeding some chickens or gathering eggs in the morning.

In researching agritourism, I also found this cool website called FarmStayUS.com. It lists working farms throughout the United States where you can stay and experience rural living on either a farm, ranch or vineyard.

Another interesting way to participate right now in agritourism is visiting a “U Pick Farm.” According to Colorado.com, Berry Patch Farms in Brighton has a fall crops like apples, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, squash, pumpkins and peppers. You can even meet the farm’s chickens, ducks and pigs. See Colorado.com’s  list of U Pick Farms here.

So there you have it, a quick overview of agritourism and how you can participate. I hope to have some agritourism adventures of my own next summer, and you can be sure that I will share them with you here on HeidiTown.

“Oklahoma!” comes to Colorado

Oklahoma Candlelight men

"Oklahoma!" now playing at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Courtesy photo.

It’s time for another dinner theater review and this time I went back to Candlelight Dinner Playhouse  in Johnstown, Colorado for “Oklahoma!” I’ve been going to theater since I was just a little girl, but I had never seen a production of this famous play until last week.

Today, “Oklahoma!” is considered a wholesome family musical and is often performed at high schools and even middle schools, so it’s difficult to think of it as ground breaking, but when “Oklahoma!” hit theaters in 1943, it broke the rules. First, the musical begins with just one person singing, and this was unusual. At the time, musicals always opened with a score performed by the ensemble cast. Secondly, a ballet takes place during the play, something that had never been done before.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with dinner theater… continue reading this review by clicking here.

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