Creative, ingenious, colorful, crafty, artistic and kooky are all words I would use to describe ArtoCade in Trinidad, Colorado. Squish all those words together and you’ve got one very entertaining festival in a truly fantastic town.
We were lucky enough to make it to ArtoCade last September, and since then, I’ve written about our Trinidad experience a number of times including “Trinidad, Colorado, It’s Not What You Think,” which has garnered quite a few comments over the months.
Trinidad is a town undergoing a renaissance and that is bound to stir up emotional responses. From my viewpoint, the climate on the streets of Trinidad is generally positive; I get a sense that the city is moving in a good direction and ArtoCade is part of that.
So What is ArtoCade?
This festival is one part car event, one part art event, and entirely nuts. There’s a reason it won the Governor’s Award for Best Small Town Festival in 2016.
The highlight of the event is the parade on Saturday. Last year, more than 80 art cars rolled down Trinidad’s main street and the crowds were thoroughly entertained. With art cars with names like ChewBaru and Stink Bug, you can probably figure out why. See photos from last year’s parade here.
More than 100 art cars have signed up for the parade this year including 35 first-timers.
The Lowdown on ArtoCade
ArtoCade kicks off on Friday evening with a Vehiculart, a downtown art exhibit like you’ve never seen before, followed by CarBash at BRIX Sports Bar & Grill.
After the parade on Saturday, the art cars park downtown so that festival goers can get up close and personal with them and their owners. There are food stands and other vendors too – it’s a real, colorful street party. If you decided to show up here dressed as a Star Wars character or a big furry rabbit, no one would blink an eye. Weird is encouraged on ArtoCade weekend.
Saturday night’s event is CarDango, which ArtoCade organizers describe as “part revue, part costume gala, part dance and part circus.” We attended last year and that’s a fairly accurate description Our favorite part was the samba dancer. While most of ArtoCade is free, CarDango is a ticketed event and it is taking place this year at the brand new Bizarre Car Garage in Trinidad.
Awards are presented at CarDango and a fantastic time is had by all. Even if you don’t know anyone, CarDango is a welcoming affair, but leave the kids at home — this party is just for the grown-ups.
Sunday morning there’s a cartist send off breakfast held at the Trinidad History Museum, which, by the way, you should tour when you’re in town. Everyone is invited to attend this breakfast which is a good example of how this is an inclusive, not exclusive event. I can tell you from personal experience that the cartists are a really great group of fun people.
So Why Go to ArtoCade?
Without a doubt, ArtoCade was the most memorable event we attended last year, and we attended a lot of events. It’s worth the drive to Trinidad.
September 8-10, 2017
FREE (CarDango is ticketed)
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!
This is not a post about the island in the Caribbean. This is a post about Trinidad, Colorado. You may have heard about it. Over the years, Trinidad became well-known as the sex change capital of the United States.
Interestingly, the clinic that put the town on the map for sex change surgery, moved to California a number of years ago, but preconceptions die hard, especially when a town’s sex change reputation is big enough to have made it onto an episode of South Park.
Before I visited Trinidad this past summer, it was 1) the sex change capital of the United States 2) a place I drove through on my way to New Mexico and 3) the place my friend Amanda, who makes the world’s best green chile, grew up.
After visiting Trinidad, I’ve developed an entirely new perspective on the town. It’s a place where no one is a stranger, where art thrives and history runs deep, where waiters sing and the positive energy is so thick it’s hard not to get caught up in its flow. Continue reading
I can’t wait to write about our trip to Trinidad, Colorado. In the meantime, I’m going to share with you ten of my favorite photos from the festival that brought us to town. I was in town to cover ArtoCade, an art car extravaganza that was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.
Nothing could have prepared me for the creativity on display at ArtoCade. In it’s fourth year, ArtoCade brings people together from around the country to Southern Colorado – people who share the love of turning their cars into art pieces.
Without further ado, here are ten of my favorite photos from the ArtoCade, the parade that was held on Saturday, September 10, 2016, in downtown Trinidad, Colorado. There were 83 entries, so choosing only a few photos to share was very difficult.
Car #1 kicked things off. It’s, “Reincarnation” and was created by Fritz A. & Gail M. of Trinidad, Colorado. Continue reading
When I began writing about Colorado festivals on HeidiTown in 2010, I was inspired by small town festivals and unique events. ArtoCade, in Trinidad, fits both categories and that’s why I’m excited to be attending this year.
With a population of less than 10,000, Trinidad is definitely a small town. It’s also a bit remote, located approximately three hours south of Denver and three and a half hours north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Situated along the Sante Fe Trail, Trinidad has always been a place where travelers stopped to relax and refuel. Today, it remains a stop along Interstate 25 for many road trippers, so it seems rather appropriate that it’s now home to an award winning art car festival.
ArtoCade is a celebration of the wild and wacky world of art cars. Like their website reads, “If you can’t drive it, it’s a float.” And their distinctive parade is for drivable vehicles only – you must be able to drive your art piece in the parade that occurs at noon on Saturday, September 10.
The two-day festival, starts Friday evening, September 9, in downtown Trinidad with Vehiculart (5 to 7 p.m.). This event is a tribute to art cars with art exhibits and presenters who focus their artistic abilities on artful transportation. The evening will be a spectacle for the eyes and an opportunity to learn about the fascinating art car world. Vehiculart is followed by the CarBash at Brix Sports Bar & Grill.
On Saturday, September 10, you can explore the historic town of Trinidad until the ArtoCade parade that starts at noon. Expect a colorful and unique extravaganza unlike anything you’ve seen before. There will be 80, yes, EIGHTY, art cars in this “cargantuan” art car parade.
Event organizer, Rodney Wood says, “It’s going to be absolutely carvelous!”
Afterward the parade, stick around downtown Trinidad to check out art cars and meet the “cartists” involved in creating these fantastic and whimsical vehicles.
From 7 to 9 p.m. that evening, adults are invited to attend CarDango, a revue/costume party/dance party/circus happening on Saturday night of the event. I’m really looking forward to this rowdy event – it should be fabulously peculiar – just like the rest of ArtoCade.
ArtoCade is an excellent event, but you don’t have to take my word for it. ArtoCade won the Governor’s Award for Best Festival in 2015. I hope to see you there!
September 9-10, 2016
Downtown festivities: FREE
CarDango is a ticketed event ($20)
Website includes lodging info, directions, art car entry forms and more.
Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
Gluttony, it’s not something to be proud of, so it’s a good thing that we ran a 5K while we were in Alamosa, Colorado, because the rest of the time we were eating. You may think I’m exaggerating, but we hit no less than seven restaurants (two of them twice) during our two- night say in this Southern Colorado city of 10,000.
We were in town for the Rio Frio Ice Fest and Rio Frio 5K. The festival theme was Star Wars and I hope that explains some of the photos in this post.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and soon found ourselves at San Luis Brewing Company, maker of our favorite chile beer, the Valle Caliente. We ordered a couple pints along with a platter of sausages to tide us over until dinner.
Later that night, after the Rio Frio Fest’s opening party, we headed to The Rubi Slipper. This diner/bar and has about 100 hamburgers on the menu. Okay, maybe not 100, but the most I’ve ever seen, so of course, we ordered hamburgers. Continue reading