Parades to Fireworks: Colorado’s Fourth of July Celebrations

photo credit: steamboat.com

Bar-b-ques, parades, parties, fireworks, and a whole lot of red, white, and blue. Who doesn’t love Independence Day? In the Centennial State, celebrations are held in the some of the country’s most beautiful locations—perfect backdrops to honor purple mountain majesties and spacious skies. While each Colorado town has something special planned for the Fourth of July, the following three celebrations are on the top of our list.

114th Annual Cowboys’ Roundup Days – Steamboat Springs
In Steamboat, Independence Day is a week-long celebration that starts on Friday the 30th with Art on the Mountain and a pro rodeo. The party continues through July 4th with a musical performance by Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers, a ski jumping competition, a pancake breakfast, a block party, and finally, some of the finest fireworks in the state.

Tri Lake 4th of July Celebration – Monument
Enjoy a full day of festivities for the whole family in Monument, a growing residential area situated at the high point between Denver and Colorado Springs that features rolling, arid hills and views of Pikes Peak. Fourth of July activities include a pancake breakfast, a fun run, a children’s parade and main parade, a street fair, a beer garden, music, and fireworks over Palmer Lake.

Arvada Independence Day Celebration
There’s no need to head to the mountains for an awesome July Fourth Celebration, not when Arvada hosts a stellar party at the Stenger Soccer Complex. From 4pm to 10pm, enjoy free activities that include face painting, bouncy houses, sensory games, human hamster balls, vendors, and food trucks. At 9pm, once the sky has darkened, fireworks light up the sky.

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

120th Annual Strawberry Days Festival in Glenwood Springs

Coloradans are always look for a reason to celebrate. In Glenwood Springs, our ancestors decided to toast the strawberry, a quintessential summer fruit that’s as pretty as it is sweet and notorious for being part of some very famous desserts. Yep, I’m thinking shortcake, pie, trifle, sorbet, sundaes… the list goes on and on.

In 1898, Glenwood Springs was going through a transformation. Rough gamblers and cowboys were moving out, and in their place, came families looking for a wholesome town to raise their children. As the town grew, a simple strawberry picnic was scheduled for reacquainting old friends, making new ones, sharing the strawberry harvest, and celebrating summer.

120 years later, this small, casual picnic has grown into the Strawberry Days Festival, a weekend-long celebration in honor of the community, summertime in the Colorado mountains, and, of course, the strawberry.

Each year, on the third weekend in June, a parade down Grand Avenue kicks off the festival, after which free strawberries and ice cream are served to the public. The rest of the festival then takes places at Strawberry (Sayre) Park. Here, live music and a fine arts and crafts fair are set up to entertain visitors.

For families, a large and popular Family Fest is filled with activities for children of all ages. These activities include pony rides, a petting zoo, a mini train, face painters, a bubble fairy, the Salida Circus, and more. A Carnival also runs throughout the festival in the Glenwood Springs Mall parking lot. Rides and games at the carnival are varied and exciting—perfect for those looking for a bit more excitement.

120th Annual Strawberry Days Festival – June 16th to June 18th, 2017
*Carnival runs June 15th to June 19th

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Colorado’s Best Family-Friendly Bike Trails

Bike enthusiasts all over the world flock to Colorado to ride its expansive network of mountain bike trails or to tour miles upon miles of scenic byways. However, these long and sometimes technically difficult trails are not always ideal for families looking to introduce young children to the joy of bike riding.

The good news is that Colorado offers dozens of trails perfect for the young rider, trailer-towing parent, or someone simply seeking a leisurely ride and breathtaking scenery. Following are some of the best the state has to offer:

Yampa River Core Trail – Steamboat
The best way to explore Steamboat Springs is by bike. The town has built a city-long bike trail that runs from one end to the other and meanders along the Yampa River. This 7.5-mile trail is relatively flat and passes the Yampa River Botanic Park, restaurants, shops, and multiple places to kick your feet up and relax.

Rio Grande Trail – Glenwood to Aspen
This mountain-high trail travels through the Roaring Fork Valley from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. Ride through multiple towns like Carbondale and Basalt, pass by magazine-worthy ranches, and soak in the beauty of the aspen trees. The trail inclines slightly as it travels up the valley from Glenwood, making it a bit of a challenge for younger riders. However, if you start on the Aspen side, your ride will be largely downhill, and once you’ve had enough, you can jump on the valley’s public bus route for an easy trip back.

Breckenridge to Frisco Bike Path – Breckenridge and Frisco
The most popular section of Summit County’s 55-mile bike path network is the part that runs from Breckenridge to Frisco. This 10-mile out-and-back climbs a few small hills but takes riders through green forests and finishes at either one of these popular mountain towns where visitors can grab a bite to eat, play in parks, or shop unique downtown boutiques.

Cherry Creek Regional Trail – Denver
The Cherry Creek Regional Trail is a picturesque 40-mile route that begins in downtown Denver and connects suburban and rural Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, including the communities of Parker, Centennial, and Franktown. The vast majority of the trail has an 8-foot wide concrete surface, but short sections of the more rural southern end consist of gravel trail and road. Finish your ride at the Cherry Creek Reservoir, a park that not only offers an 880-acre lake, but also a natural prairie environment of gentle, rolling hills, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

Mineral Belt – Leadville
Travel up to 10,000 feet to the historic town of Leadville and ride the state’s highest paved bike path. Enjoy spectacular views of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountains while riding among conifer forests, aspen groves, and meadows. This 11.6-mile loop offers remnants of Leadville’s mining days complete with interpretative signage, which helps to make this ride an educational adventure as well as a recreational one.

Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail – Glenwood Springs
The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail follows the winding course of the Colorado River between Glenwood Springs and Dotsero for 16.2 miles. This paved trail is easy going and heavily used by outdoor recreationists of all pursuits. Along with rafting, there is no better way to see Glenwood Canyon, one of Colorado’s most beautiful destinations.

Poudre River Trail – Greeley
At 21 miles long, this popular northern Colorado trail wanders along the majestic Cache la Poudre River from Greeley to Windsor, Colorado. The trail is located about 50 miles North of Denver and 2.5 miles East of Interstate 25 with many locations within Windsor and Greeley to jump on.

Make bike riding a family affair. Start your kiddos young and they’ll thank you when they’re older. There are few better activities to do together than cruising on bikes, getting great exercise, and soaking in Colorado’s beautiful landscapes.

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Come Celebrate Mike the… Headless Chicken?

photo credit: cnn.com & firsttoknow.com

Many historical figures called Colorado home—Molly Brown, Buffalo Bill, Horace Tabor—but perhaps none has a more bizarre story than Mike, a headless chicken who put the small Western Slope town of Fruita on the map.

In September 1945, Lloyd Olsen went to his hen house thinking he would simply come back with dinner. But, after chopping off the head of an unassuming chicken, the bird went back to doing what it did best—pecking for food and preening his feathers.

When the chicken was still alive the next day, Olsen began to hand feed and water it with an eyedropper. A week later, Olsen brought the chicken, now named Mike, to doctors at the University of Utah, who said he survived his decapitation because the ax blade had missed his jugular vein and a clot had prevented him from bleeding to death. Additionally, he was able to go on “being a chicken” because most of his brain stem was left on his body.

Mike lived as the “Headless Wonder” for eighteen months, during which he went on national tour, appearing in sideshows and earning a value of $10,000. Unfortunately, it was on the road that he choked on a piece of food, ultimately ending his very bizarre life.

Today, Fruita celebrates Mike’s legacy with the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival. 2017 marks the festival’s 34th year, which will take place on June 2nd and June 3rd.  Weekend events include a golf tournament, poultry show, live music, pancake breakfast, car show, disc golf tournament, 5k, Peep and wing eating contest, rooster calling contest, games, delicious food, and artisan booths.

Though his story is strange, Mike the Headless Chicken is a Colorado legend. Join in celebrating his amazing life in Fruit this June. For more information, visit www.MikeTheHeadlessChicken.org.

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About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Up Up and Away at Cañon City’s Annual Balloon Festival

photo credit: canoncity.org

With so many of Colorado’s vibrant Front Range cities, mountain towns, and historic regions hosting weekend-long Memorial Day events, it can be difficult to choose where you’ll spend the holiday. However, if you’re anywhere near Colorado Springs or Southern Colorado, you might want to consider heading to Cañon City for the Create Cañon City Balloon Festival, a long-standing annual event that ignites the senses while providing a fun and relaxed atmosphere for all ages.

The Annual Create Cañon City Balloon Festival takes place on the grounds of the Holy Cross Abbey, a historic monastery-turned-winery nestled against the spectacular backdrop of the Wet Mountains. With its pastoral and scenic grounds, the abbey perfectly complements the brightly colored balloons that fill the sky throughout the weekend.  And with acres of space for running, it’s ideal for families looking for a relaxing and care-free event.

Throughout the weekend, hot air balloons from all parts of the U.S. and Canada are launched each morning and hover above the abbey throughout the day. In the evening, when the sun begins to set, the balloons—and the abbey—are set aglow, creating a magical atmosphere unique to this spectacular event.

During the day, food, wine, and art vendors fill the grounds, and several events, like live music, skydiving demonstrations, rocket launches, military bands, Holy Cross Abbey Monetary Tours, and a host of flying-focused activities, are available for your entertainment.

Free to the public and family-friendly (no dogs, please), the Create Cañon City Balloon Festival is one the Royal Gorge Region’s most popular and favorite festivals. For more information, visit CanonCityBalloonClassic.org.

Create Cañon City Balloon Festival: May 27th – May 29th, 2017

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Find Rhythm and Soul at the Five Points Jazz Festival

Denver is home to Five Points, a historic, culturally-rich neighborhood known as the “Harlem of the West” because it was frequently visited by famous jazz musicians like Billy Holiday, Luis Armstrong, and Miles Davis. The neighborhood also garnered fame when Jake Kerouac made frequent mention of it in On the Road. 

Denver’s Five Points is now a colorful, exciting neighborhood that draws creative residents who seek the fusion of old and new and want to live in a place where their art is supported and celebrated. A walk through the neighborhood takes you past craft breweries, museums, coffeehouses, and galleries and instills a strong sense of history unique to this very special corner of Denver.

On May 20th, from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm, Five Points’ culture and history will be celebrated at the 15th Annual Five Points Jazz Festival. This free, family-friendly event offers a full day of music spread across several venues, which means there’s something for every taste at every hour of the day. These venues include the Main Stage, Plaza Stage, Arts & Venues Stage, Crossroads Theater, Coffee at the Point, Cervantes, Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, and 715 Club.

Two Jazz-focused documentaries, Nina Simone, Love Sorceress and Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog, will also be shown. For more hands-on activities, visitors can participate in yoga, drum circles, and dancing. And for those who take their kiddos along, a family zone will offer child-focused activities like face painting, a giant slide, a jumpy castle, and more.

For more information on the Five Points Jazz Festival, visit www.ArtsAndVenuesDenver.com.

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Time to pamper your mamas!

Time to pamper your mamas! That’s right, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and you know the mothers in your life deserve a day to spoil themselves. In the Denver area alone, there are dozens of opportunities to give your mom the fun and relaxing day she craves. 

The following are our favorite Mother’s Day events sure to please moms with all different types of interests.  

Mother’s Day Brunch Bus http://centennialspecialtytours.com/
Your mom can kick back and enjoy brunch and cocktails as a luxury party bus chauffeurs her around town. She’ll start with coffee and doughnuts and finish with tacos, while picking up Moscow mules and mimosas along the way.

Mother’s Day Custom Perfume Experience http://www.scentedstudio.com/
Give your mom the opportunity to learn the art of perfume making. In this workshop, she’ll go through the journey of smelling 22 different blends and then have the chance to customize her own perfume. Lunch, wine, and mimosas are provided, making this a total sensory experience.

Mountain Mamma: Influential Women Walking Tour http://centennialspecialtytours.com/
If your mom is interested in history, this tour has her name written all over it. She’ll travel through the heart of Denver while listening to discussions on some of Denver’s most influential women, such as Mattie Silks, the unsinkable Molly Brown, and the local legend Dana Crawford. Afterwards, she’ll also have a chance to take part in a distillery tour and tasting.

Colorado Rockies Mother’s Day Family Photo http://m.mlb.com/rockies/tickets/theme-tickets/mom Is your mom a baseball fan? Then take her to Coors Field this Mother’s Day and commemorate the moment with a Colorado Rockies family photo. Packages include a ticket to watch the Rockies take on the Dodgers, exclusive, post-game field access for your Mother’s Day Family Photo, and full digital rights to your photo sent via email.

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Jump Into Spring at Cañon City’s Music & Blossom Festival

photo credit- The Denver Ear


Cañon City is located in an area we Coloradans affectionately call a Banana Belt—a segment of a larger geographic region that enjoys warmer weather conditions than the region as a whole, especially in wintertime.

Given these conditions, spring in Cañon City comes earlier than in the rest of Colorado, and its growing season stretches longer. In April, when much of Colorado’s mountains get their last snowstorms, Cañon City’s trees start to bud, its crops sprout, and its flowers blossom.
In true Cañon City fashion—a city that loves a good celebration—residents honor the arrival of spring with the Annual Music and Blossom Festival.

What began as a private garden party in the 1860s has since grown into a week-long tradition that includes a craft fair, kids’ zone, blossom pageant, & chocolate walk. During the weekend, festival goers can watch a grand parade, during which food vendors serve tacos, hamburgers, pizza, caramel apples, lemonade, snow cones, Polish sausages, corn dogs and much more—all the things that make a festival fun! The weekend will also host a carnival, a rodeo, and many bands, including national high school, middle school, and junior high school bands set to compete in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Parade, and Orchestra.

Cañon City Annual Music and Blossom Festival: May 4th through May 7th, 2017

Jump into spring while taking in all the beautiful flower blossoms in Cañon City at the Annual Music and Blossom Festival. For more information, visit www.ccblossomfestival.com

photo credit- Daily Record

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

A Singletrack Party for All Those Bike Lovers Out There

photo credit- Over the Edge 

The snow is melting, the weather is warming, and biking season is upon us.         *Cheers*

To celebrate the start of biking season, head to Fruita April 27th through April 30th for the 22nd Annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival.
Fruita is renowned for its world-class singletrack and considered by many as the best biking destination in Colorado. Often compared to Moab, Fruita is the natural location for hosting this awesome event.

For four days, the biking community descends on this western slope town to check out everything that’s new in the industry, demo new bikes, listen to great music, and take group rides on the area’s most famous trails, like Kokopelli Loop, Bookcliffs Area, Horsethief Bench, and Rustlers Loop.

The party kicks off Thursday night with a VIP party before swinging into full gear on Friday. This year, there will be a special trail dedication, which officially opens a new stretch of singletrack in the Kokopelli Loop Trail System. On Friday and Saturday evenings, live bands will play downtown, and throughout the entire weekend, 50 of the largest companies in the industry will showcase new services and products in one of the state’s top cycling expos. The weekend closes with the traditional Klunker Crit, a ride through town, where participants wear hilarious costumes and ride the oldest, junkiest bikes they can find.

There are many ways to experience the festival. While many of the activities are free, various weekend passes offer perks like jerseys, beer in the beer garden, unlimited demos, and a spot on a guided ride.

For more information on the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, visit www.FruitaFatTireFestival.com.

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Colorado’s Beauty Shines on Earth Day

Colorado’s Beauty Shines on Earth Day

Earth Day, a worldwide, annual event held April 22nd, was first celebrated in 1970 after peace activist, John McConnell, proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. Today, more than 193 countries celebrate Earth Day with landmark events, like the signing of the Paris Agreement, which occurred on this day in 2016.

In Colorado, Earth Day is a day to celebrate our mountains, our rivers, and the open space we’ve come to love and depend upon. It’s also a time to learn what we can do to preserve our natural surroundings.

The following are some great Colorado Earth Day celebrations. All are free and offer opportunities to learn more about living sustainably and protecting our earth from harmful activities and practices. 

Glenwood Springs 
Enjoy a family-friendly event that celebrates the Roaring Fork Valley’s efforts to promote sustainability. Events include live music, exhibits, and hands-on activities aimed at educating the community on ways it can help protect the environment.  For more information, visit www.RoaringForkEvents.com.

Denver
Bring the kids to the Children’s Museum of Denver for planet-focused activities, including Encana’s 3D sandbox that allows you to create geographical landscapes like mountains, rivers, and plains. For more information, visit www.mychildsmuseum.org.

Colorado Springs
For a very special Earth Day celebration, visit the Garden of the Gods, where you’ll experience Native American dance performances, live animal presentations, children’s craft activities, nature walks, and free admission to Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. For more information, visit www.GardenofGods.com.

Fort Collins
Head to Civic Center Park for informational booths, displays, a Kids Zone with arts and crafts, live music, speakers, and a local food and beer garden. Music that includes a drum circle and the Waido Experience will also play throughout the day.  For more information, visit www.visitftcollins.com

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Hop to It – It’s Easter Egg Hunting Time

By Lindsay Diamond

Easter is my son’s favorite holiday. Who can blame him? A basket full of presents waits for him in the morning and the following Easter egg hunt not only feeds his competitive side but fills his basket with, yet, more treats.

While we participate in a small, community-organized egg hunt, there are several throughout Colorado that don’t hold back, that make Easter one of the grandest and most fun days of the year.

The following are Think Colorado’s picks for Colorado’s most excellent, over-the-top Easter day events. Please note, events take place on Saturday and Sunday, so please read carefully!

Winter Park
Winter Park Willie and the Easter Bunny deliver holiday fun with an on-mountain candy hunt in Discovery Park as well as a base area egg hunt for children under 5. There is also the ‘Bunny Ski Race,’ a child-friendly event that’s been an Easter tradition for more than 39 years.

When: April 16, 11am to 1pm.

For more information, visit www.WinterParkResort.com

Colorado Springs
Miramont Castle, one of Colorado Springs’ historical treasures, hosts an annual Victorian easter egg hunt for children ages 2-10. In this hunt, one lucky kid will find a golden egg and win a very special basket. Following the egg hunt, participants are invited to the beautiful Tea Room, where an elegant 3-course, child-friendly Victorian High Tea awaits.

When: April 15th, with seatings at 10:00am, 12:00pm, and 2:00pm.

For more information, visit http://www.miramontcastle.org./

Denver

Visit the Colorado Railroad Museum and hop aboard the Bunny Express Train—pun definitely intended! Let this 1880s-vintage passenger train transport you into spring while you experience what it was like to travel 100 years ago. The Easter Bunny and Spike the Railyard Hound will be handing out candy, and the Depot General Store will have the perfect gift for this year’s Easter baskets.

When: April 15th, 10am to 4pm.

For more information, visit www.ColoradoRailroadMuseum.org.

Copper Mountain
Hop on over to Copper Mountain for the world’s largest Easter egg hunt. Your little ones will be busy trying to collect as many of the 65,000 eggs as they can. Covering 2,500 acres, this hunt is split up for kids of different ages. From a three and under hunt in Center Village to an on-mountain hunt for the bigger kids, there’s something for everyone.

When: April 16, 8am to 12pm

For more information, visit www.CopperColorado.com

Fort Collins
There isn’t one event that makes Fort Collins shine. Rather, it’s the sheer number of Easter egg hunts in this northern Colorado town that make it so special. So many in fact, there’s a map showing each and every one. Check out the Fort Collins Easter Egg Hunt map and find the hunt that’s right for you!

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Bee There or Bee Square: The Palisade Honeybee Festival

Come to Palisade Friday, April 7th and Saturday, April 8th for the Palisade International Honeybee Festival, a community-driven event created in 2008 to educate the public about the worldwide honeybee crisis, support the healthy honeybee population, and demonstrate its impact on agriculture. The Honeybee Festival was created by a group of Palisade business owners who wanted to gather the community in celebration of its agricultural roots and to bring attention to the threatened honeybee population.

The festival’s welcoming reception will take place on Friday evening, and then on Saturday, from 11am to 4pm, the honeybee events will go into full swing. There will be bee costume contests, a spelling bee, and many educational opportunities via art, crafts, lectures, food preparation, cooking demonstrations, and the distribution of published materials. The festival, which celebrates its ninth year, highlights the many benefits of honeybees, such as personal honey consumption and the pollination of commercial orchards and other crops.

Palisade is a thriving agricultural community best known for its peaches and, in recent decades, for a burgeoning wine industry. This small community boasts hundreds of acres of orchards and vineyards and enjoys seventeen wineries, including a meadery that produces honey wine from locally harvested honey. This makes Palisade an ideal location to celebrate the honeybee. And now, when trees and other plants are turning green after their winter slumber, it’s a perfect place to spend the day outside.

For more information on the Palisade Honeybee Festival, visit palisadehoneybeefest.org.

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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Spring Arrives with Tulips and Fairies in Boulder

Photo Credit: bouldercoloradousa.comSpring Arrives with Tulips and Fairies in Boulder Colorado

As spring approaches, we feel a quiet awakening that runs parallel to the seeds that poke their heads through the earth before bursting into bloom. We can’t help feeling better as our days warm, we spend more time outside, and green begins to cover the landscape. What better way of celebrating this rebirth, the arrival of spring, and your love of the natural world than attending the Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival.

This Sunday, April 2nd, pull out your wings, face paint, and wands and head to Pearl St. Mall in Boulder for a day of honoring Mother Earth and all the beauty she provides. This festival runs from 1pm to 5pm and marks the official arrival of spring in Boulder. While many adults enjoy this very special event, it’s especially ideal for children, who are deemed little fairies as they wave their wands over the 15,000 tulips that decorate the mall and welcome them to spring. Activities for these little fairies (again, children) include foam sword dueling, a dino dig, art projects, face painting, nature activities, cookie decorating, and more.

Performances are held throughout the day on the 1300 block of Pearl Street. This year, performances include “Walking the Bear,” “A Tale of Cinderella,” and “Teresa Storch and the Sharp Eleven.” At 3:30, the Tulip Fairy and Elf Parade begins at the courthouse. All children are invited to join the Tulip Fairy as she leads the parade around the mall.

For more information on the Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival visit www.BoulderDowntown.com
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Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Grab a Pint Glass, It’s Colorado Craft Beer Week

Grab a Pint Glass, It’s Colorado Craft Beer Week

In Colorado, we are blessed with some of the country’s best beer. And because Coloradans tend to like a good time—be it outdoors, at a concert, or relaxing on a deck under a sunny, blue sky—one could argue that a good beer is the perfect companion to so many Colorado activities. With that in mind, Colorado has experienced a boom in craft breweries. Currently, there are more than 350 breweries in the state, which is roughly 10% of the national total. And while we didn’t invent the concept of craft beer, we did perfect that art of the craft brewery. Few venues are better for hanging out with friends than your local brewery. The vibe is great, the food is delicious, and the beer is…well, superb.

Starting March 18th, celebrate your love of craft beer at Colorado Craft Beer Week. During these beer-devoted days, hundreds of brewery-supported events are hosted throughout the state. From educational panels at neighborhood breweries to the Collaboration Fest at the National Western Stock Show Complex, there’s something for everyone.

Throughout the week, enjoy brewer-led tours complete with special tappings and tasting. There’s also a beer and pancake-themed fun run, a variety of educational events in tasting rooms, local pubs, and liquor stores, and special chef-prepared dinners paired with beer.

Don’t miss this awesome week of events where you’ll experience what makes Colorado the state for craft beer. For more information on Colorado Craft Beer Week, visit coloradobeer.org/events/

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

An Awesome and Zany Festival for… A Frozen Dead Guy?

So, who is this frozen dead guy and how did he end up in Nederland, a small mountain town 17 miles west of Boulder Colorado?

For Nederland, a town that praises the colorful, the offbeat, and the weird, there’s nothing odd about celebrating a frozen dead guy who resides in a Tuff Shed in the woods. Rather, it is cause for the town’s biggest celebration, Frozen Dead Guy Days.

2017 marks the 16th annual Frozen Dead Guys Festival, and over the years, it has grown into a three-day event complete with live music, a variety of activities, and a whole lot of merriment.

So, who is this frozen dead guy and how did he end up in Nederland, a small mountain town 17 miles west of Boulder? To start, frozen dead guy has a name—Bredo Mortsoel, a Norwegian and advocate of cryonics. Upon his death, he had his body shipped to the Trans Time cryonics facility in Oakland, CA, where he was placed in liquid nitrogen for four years. After this, he was sent to Nederland where his daughter and grandson put him in a shed and surrounded him with ice. When the last of Bredo’s family left Colorado for Norway, he remained and has since been cared for a by volunteers who deliver 1,600 lbs. of dry ice to his shed every month.

Today, he is honored once a year in a zany and wild festival that attracts world-wide attention. During Frozen Dead Guy Days, up to 30 bands perform in heated tents, while festival goers take part in events like coffin racing, costumed polar plunging, and frozen salmon tossing. While this might sound like a strange festival to you, for a town that thrives on oddity and is proud of it, there is nothing unusual about throwing it down for a frozen dead guy.

Frozen Dead Guy Days will take place on March 10th, 11th, and 12th. For more information, visit www.FrozenDeadGuyDays.org.

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Unique and Wildly Exciting Ski Joring Comes Back to Leadville

Unique and Wildly Exciting Ski Joring Comes Back to Leadville

Leadville’s most anticipated winter event is right around the corner. For those of you who’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. For those newbies out there, it’s time to learn a thing or two about ski joring.

Ski joring is an event where a horse gallops down a snowy street while pulling a skier behind it. The skier must navigate a course full of jumps while also trying to spear rings that are set up along the way.

While ski joring can be seen in other mountain towns, Leadville’s event is unique because of its speed. When Leadville’s ski joring was first introduced in 1949, it was based off a similar event in Steamboat Springs. However, Leadville’s race horses wanted to go faster than the Steamboat horses did, and thus, time became an element in the competition, ensuring a higher level of adrenaline and excitement.

Leadville’s ski joring takes place downtown on Harrison Ave and is thrilling to watch. The main events occur on Saturday at noon and on Sunday at noon. After these events, kids have a chance to try ski joring for themselves, although they get pulled by a snowmobile rather than a horse.

Officially known as the Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival, other events this weekend include a Backcountry Film Festival, the Harrison Nordic Knockout Sprints, the Mineral Belt Mayhem Winter Mountain Bike Race, and the Leadville Nordic Paintball Biathlon. 

For a unique and wildly fun Colorado experience, you better check out ski joring. It’s something every Coloradan must experience once in their life. And for those lucky visitors who happen to be in town that weekend, well, they’ll definitely have something to write home about.

Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival
Friday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 5th, 2017
Leadville, Colorado

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Grab Your Boa and Beads, It’s Mardi Gras in Colorado

Grab Your Boa and Beads, It's Mardi Gras in Colorado It’s Mountain Mardi Gras Season

When Mardi Gras is around the corner, it’s easy to yearn for the warm days of New Orleans, where music plays at every bend, parades are the norm, and warm cheer echoes down the street.

But, it’s not easy to make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, so many Colorado cities put on their own Fat Tuesday celebration. Complete with fireworks, dancing, and oh-so-many beads, for a few moments, you might actually forget you’re snowbound in the Centennial state.

The following is a list of Mardi Gras celebrations sure to get your booty shaking. 

•    In Snowmass, Mardi Gras goes back 35 years. The party kicks off with the uphill race, Mother of Ascensions. It’s followed by a traditional bead toss on the mall, a parade, and nighttime fireworks. Throughout the day, bars and restaurants offer Cajun-based food specials and New Orleans-style musical entertainment.
Date: February 28th
Time: 2:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Base Village and Snowmass Village Mall

•    Vail provides a New Orleans-inspired celebration complete with a crawfish boil at Eagle’s Nest and a “Carnivail” party at the Express Lift. 
Date: February 25th, 26th, and 28th
Time: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Varies

•    Breckenridge loves its parades, and Mardi Gras is no exception. Join other mountain-lovers decked out in masks and boas as they catch beads, dance, and enjoy the revelry of Breckenridge’s Mardi Gras celebration. Following the parade is a free concert at the Riverwalk Center.
Date: February 28th
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: Main Street

•    Food lovers should head to Manitou Springs for their Jumbo Gumbo cook-off, which tantalizes the taste buds as samples of professionally-prepared gumbo are handed out for judging. Stick around after the cook-off to watch the Mardi Gras Parade at 1:00pm.
Date: February 25th
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: Soda Springs Park

•    Our canine companions aren’t forgotten in Frisco, where the Mari Gras 4 Paws parade features dogs and their families dressed in costumes. It’s a super fun way to get the family—all of the family—involved in the celebration.
Date: February 25th
Time: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Main Street from 2nd street to 7th

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Frisco’s Annual Bubble Gum Race Series

The stakes are low—a piece of gum—and the fun factor is huge at Frisco’s Annual Bubble Gum Race Series in Colorado

Frisco’s Annual Bubble Gum Race Series

Do you love to ski? Do you want to give racing a try? If you’ve ever thought that racing downhill, around gates, and against opponents sounds like fun, you should head to Frisco on Mondays from February 20th to March 27th for the 4th Annual Bubble Gun Race Series.

This fun race series takes place at the Frisco Adventure Park Ski and Ride Hill, a quintessential community hill with a cozy lodge, a magic carpet surface lift, and close-in parking. The Bubble Gum Race Series is a non-competitive, community race series designed for skiers of all abilities. From those who have never raced before to seasoned pros, there’s something for everyone.
Multiple factors help to create a comfortable environment for newbies. For one, racers can run the course multiple times. And rather than being timed, they are given bubble gum, which they give away based on their finish. The racer with the most bubble gum at the end of the day wins!

In other words, the stakes are low—a piece of gum—and the fun factor is huge. Additionally, each week of the series presents a different challenge, such as a dual slalom course, an obstacle course spread across the adventure park skill hill, and a Nordic obstacle course.

Bubble Gum Race Series Details

  • All ages and abilities are welcome
  • Races are FREE
  • Registration is the day of the race from 4pm to 5pm inside the
    Frisco Adventure Park
  • Day Lodge located at 621 Recreation Way in Frisco
  • Races will run from 5pm to 6pm
  • Racers must provide their own ski equipment and helmets are required
  • Free hot cocoa and cookies will be served at the Day Lodge post-race

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

20th Annual Rails in the Rockies

20th Annual Rails in the Rockies in Estes Park Colorado

20th Annual Rails in the Rockies

This Presidents Weekend, ditch the crowded ski slopes and bring your model train buff, child, or kid at heart to Rails in the Rockies, Colorado’s premier model railroad show. Hosted by the Estes Valley Model Railroaders, this train show fills the Estate Park Events Center with the clickety-clack, blowing whistles, and hiss of brakes of model trains cruising around their tracks.

Featured in this 16,000-square foot space are more than 20 model train layouts and displays from 28 vendors. U.S. and British trains from all eras of rail travel are represented, each of which was built by a Colorado-model railroader. For kids, there are trains they can operate themselves, a scavenger hunt, and a massive Lego train model. For adults wanting to learn or improve on the craft, there are also live clinics on train modeling.

This year, Rails in the Rockies celebrates its 20th Anniversary, which means the energy and excitement surrounding the event is higher than ever. Do something different this Presidents Weekend and head to Estes Park for this unique and fun event that’s perfect for all ages.

Rails in the Rockies:

Where: 
Estes Park Events Center at the Stanely Park Fairgrounds

When: 
Saturday, February 18th, 2017 9am to 5pm
Sunday, February 19th, 2017 9am to 4pm
Adults are $7 and kids 12 and under are free.

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Carbondale’s Rassle the Castle Fat Bike and Snowshoe Races

Carbondale Colorado's Rassle the Castle Fat Bike and Snowshoe Races

Carbondale’s Rassle the Castle Fat Bike and Snowshoe Races

If you happen to be in the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend and are looking for an exciting event to participate in, head over to Carbondale for the Rassle the Castle Fat Bike and Snowshoe Races. These park and recreation-sponsored races are family-friendly, fun, and appropriate for all ages.

The gorgeous 5k course provides views of snow-capped peaks and rolling fields of white. It starts at the lower parking lot of the Redstone Inn and follows Redstone Boulevard to the Redstone Castle. The races include two loops around the castle and finish at the starting line.

All registrations are on the day of the race, 30 minutes prior to the start of each race. The Carbondale Parks and Recreation Department accepts cash or check only.

Fat Bike Race

  • Start Time: 9am
  • Cost: $25 / $20 with a non-perishable food item for Lift Up
  • Demo bikes will be available free of charge

Snowshoe Race

  • Start Time: 10am
  • Cost: $20 (partial proceeds will be donated to the Redstone Community Association)
  • Bring your own snowshoes (snowshoes are not required but you have to race in them to win a prize)
  • There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd male and female 45 and below / 46 and over, most mature participant, and youngest participant
  • Leashed dogs are allowed during the snowshoe event only

If You Choose to do Both Events…

  • Cost: $30 to enter both races

Additional Info

  • Raffle drawings for all participants begin at 11am
  • Free hot chocolate at the Redstone Inn to race participants
  • 15% discount on rooms for racers at the Redstone Inn

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

The Force is Strong at the Denver Art Museum

The Force is Strong at the Denver Art Museum

It’s our nature to tell stories. We study and dissect them and discover morals, virtues, and characters to idolize or hate. From mythology, fairytales, and modern-day fiction, to motivational speaking, reality television, and cinema, it’s no exaggeration to say that storytelling is everywhere.

One of the most impactful modern-day stories is the Star Wars saga. For over three generations, the tales of Anakin, Obi-wan, Luke, Leia, and more have pulsed through our culture like blood through veins. George Lucas proved himself a master storyteller when A New Hope opened in 1977 and continued to do so with the release of subsequent episodes. And while he’s written plots and characters known the world over, he’s enhanced our relationship to and love of these characters through costume.

For the first time ever, costumes from Star Wars episodes I through VI are on tour and can be seen in the Denver Art Museum’s exhibit, Star Wars and the Power of Costume. In this extraordinary exhibit, more than 70 original costumes, sketches, and storyboards are on display. The idea behind the exhibit is not only to reinforce the characters’ stories though their dress, but to illustrate how these characters moved from page to screen and became the icons they are today.

It took three years of planning and multiple trips to Skywalker Ranch to scour through 45,000 feet of warehouse space to create this exhibit, which features costumes like Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Yoda. With Star Wars and the Power of Costume, the Denver Art Museum has not only accomplished its goal of tapping into the saga’s commercial power, but has inadvertently harnessed our need to believe in the fantastical, the hero, and hope.

With the passing of Carrie Fisher, the exhibit’s purpose has moved to yet another level. Princess Leia was one of cinema’s most daring heroines, whose strength and grit has had a great impact on women of all ages. In Star Wars and the Power of Costume, not only can visitors see her iconic white gown and slave bikini, they can also leave a note in memoriam outside the exhibit’s entrance.

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see the costumes of a cultural phenomenon, of a story that will live on for generations. Star Wars and the Power of Costume is on exhibit through April 2, 2017 at the Denver Art Museum. For more information, visit www.DenverArtMuseum.org.

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Winter Brings the Party to Steamboat

The Steamboat Springs Colorado Winter Carnival: Named one of the Top Ten Winter Carnivals in the World by National Geographic 

For more than one hundred years, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has hosted a winter carnival that celebrates the town’s community, western heritage, athleticism, and of course, its love of all things winter.

Born from the need to lift the spirits during Steamboat’s long winters, the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival now honors everything snow has to offer. With its grand parade, array of vendors, and long list of exciting events, this winter carnival has been named one of the Top Ten Winter Carnivals in the World by National Geographic.

This year, events are scheduled all day, every day from February 8th through February 12th. For families, there are events like the S’more Family Fun Party, Parent-Child Duals, and Snow Sculpture Competition. During the carnival’s famous street events, child-focused activities include Ring & Spear and Donkey Jump.

The Steamboat Springs Colorado Winter Carnival: Named one of the Top Ten Winter Carnivals in the World by National Geographic 

However, in true Steamboat fashion, it is the athlete that holds the highest honor. For the winter athlete, carnival events include open ski-jumping, cross-country obstacle races, a slalom bike race, downhill races on Howelsen Hill, and opportunities to show off wild tricks while landing in a giant airbag.

The Steamboat Springs Colorado Winter Carnival: Named one of the Top Ten Winter Carnivals in the World by National Geographic 

Good times are had by all when the sun sets and the nighttime extravaganza goes into high gear. Thousands of people ascend on Howelsen Hill to watch the Lighted Man, a daredevil who wears a pyrotechnic suit that shoots fireworks. Alongside the Lighted Man are athletes who jump through fiery hoops and the explosion of one of the largest firework shells in the world.

Come to Ski Town USA where the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club hosts the ultimate winter party. For a chance to see it all, grab a Winter Carnival Button for $10, which is good for admission to all 2017 Winter Carnival Events. For more information, visit sswsc.org/events/winter-carnival

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Mush, Mush on the Grand Mesa

Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Sled Dog Race: the country’s highest dog sled race, with elevations of 10,500 feet or higher, runs across the world’s largest flat-topped mountain near Grand Junction Colorado

In dog mushing, there is no calm before the storm. Once dogs are released from their kennels and hooked into their gang line, the excitement reaches hurricane levels. Dogs bark and jump, eager to pull their owner’s sled as fast as they can and win the race. To any outside observer, dog mushing is clearly an event for people who love dogs—love to play with them, spoil them, and enjoy the great outdoors with them.
Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Sled Dog Race: the country’s highest dog sled race, with elevations of 10,500 feet or higher, runs across the world’s largest flat-topped mountain near Grand Junction Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club was established in 1960 to connect these dog lovers. For over fifty years, the organization has promoted the art and joy of dog mushing through race events and comradery. It specializes in sprint races, those under 20 miles, rather than long distance races like the Iditarod, which can reach up to 1,000 miles.

This year, the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club will host the 11th annual Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Sled Dog Race on February 4th and 5th. This is the country’s highest dog sled race, with elevations of 10,500 feet or higher, and its course runs across the world’s largest flat-topped mountain. Expect to see any type of dog that can pull a sled. Breeds used in the past include Siberian Huskies, Pointers, Poodles, Rottweilers… the list goes on!

In addition to the dog races, the weekend also includes skijoring, where one or two dogs pull a skier down a course. If you want to see a unique winter event, dog skijoring is the one to check out. For more information on the Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Sled Dog Race, visit www.rmsdc.org.
Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Sled Dog Race: the country’s highest dog sled race, with elevations of 10,500 feet or higher, runs across the world’s largest flat-topped mountain near Grand Junction Colorado.

Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  Let us know! info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

Climb On at Ouray’s Annual Ice Festival

Climb On at Ouray Colorado's Annual Ice Festival
In southwestern Colorado, where well-known towns like Telluride and Durango steal the spotlight, the small box-canyon town of Ouray is building its own spectacular reputation. Like other Colorado towns, it has hot springs and historic buildings that date back to the area’s mining era. However, a short walk from downtown, hanging from the edge of Uncompahgre Gorge is Ouray’s most famous feature, a large-scale ice park often referred to as, “the best in the world.”

Twenty years ago, Bill Whitt, a California winder surfer turned ice climber, convinced Ouray’s hydroelectric plant to let him tap into a water pipe that ran along the gorge’s rim. After much trial and error, he and other climbers managed to turn that water into curtains of ice that look like wax melting from a tapered candle. Today, the town provides the water while the Ice Park has helped Ouray garner the title, “Switzerland of America.”

Climb On at Ouray Colorado's Annual Ice Festival

The Ouray Ice Park is free and open to the public. But, it takes $200,000 to do so, nearly all of which is raised during Ouray’s annual Ice Festival. Each year in January, Ouray becomes the center of the ice climbing world. Novice and professional ice climbers come from all over the globe to partake in ice climbing competitions, clinics, and presentations, while vendors exhibit the newest tools, gear, and apparel. In true mountain-style, days of hard, physical exertion are followed by great music, delicious food, and wild parties.

For a unique mountain experience and a full day of fun, visit the Ouray
Ice Festival January 19th through the 22nd. There are activities for all ages and abilities and an incredible view most people will never see in their lifetime.

For more information, visit www.OurayIcePark.com.

Climb On at Ouray Colorado's Annual Ice Festival

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Crested Butte + Snow + Bikes = The Fat Bike World Championships

The Borealis Fat Bike World Championship in Crested Butte Colorado: Over the course of four days, there will be team relay races around an alpine lake, a pub crawl, food, bon fires, and of course, some serious racing events.

Once an outsider sport, fat biking is no longer just the latest way to play on two wheels. Rather, it has become an integral part of the mountain biking experience. Fat bikes are bikes with oversized tires designed for low ground pressure, which allows for riding on soft, unstable terrain like sand, mud, or snow. Essentially, the tire’s greater surface area “floats” rather than digs into the ground as a skinnier tire would do. What fat bikes have done is given riders the opportunity to go where and when they never could before, extending mountain biking into a year-round activity rather than a seasonal one. More importantly, the groomed, multi-use trails that snowmobilers and cross-country skiers use are now open for fat bikers, which means there are miles upon miles of winter wonderland to explore from the comfort of your bike.

With fat biking’s popularity on the rise, competitive events are sure to follow. Crested Butte, touted as Colorado’s Mountain Bike Capital, jumped on board and established the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships, which will celebrate its second year this January 25th through the 29th. Over the course of four days, there will be team relay races around an alpine lake, a pub crawl, food, bon fires, and of course, some serious racing events to determine who’s the best in this up and coming sport. Industry vendors will also be selling some amazing goods and demos will be available for those looking to give fat biking a try.

The Borealis Fat Bike World Championship in Crested Butte Colorado: Over the course of four days, there will be team relay races around an alpine lake, a pub crawl, food, bon fires, and of course, some serious racing events.

For more information on the Borealis Fat Bike World Championship, visit cbchamber.com/events/fat-bike/.


 

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Let your Inner Cowboy Out: National Western Stock Show and Rodeo

Let your Inner Cowboy Out: National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver Colorado

You know it’s time for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo when fifty Longhorn cattle are paraded down the streets of downtown Denver. During this parade, the city steps back to a time when the west was truly wild and cowboy hats, boots, and chaps ruled. At noon on January 5th, you, too can feel like a cowboy. Join thousands as a real cattle drive followed by tractors, marching bands, and floats fill Denver’s streets.

Two days later, on January 7th, head over to Denver’s National Western Complex for this extraordinary, 110-year-old event. For 16 days, celebrate the western lifestyle and the livestock, rodeos, and horse shows that personify it.

Let your Inner Cowboy Out: National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver Colorado

The world’s biggest rodeo superstars come to Denver to showcase awe-inspiring athleticism in over 20 rodeos. Children get their kicks, too. At the popular Muttin Bustin’ event, they jump on bucking sheep and hold on as tight as they can. Top equine athletes in various categories also compete in multiple events, such as Cowboy Mounted Shooting, a Quarter Horse Show, a Paint Horse Show, and a Wild West Show.

Let your Inner Cowboy Out: National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver Colorado

As the “Super Bowl of Livestock Shows,” the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo invites the country’s top breeding animals—beef cattle, sheep, and goats—and recreation animals—alpacas, llamas, and dogs—to compete for top prizes.

Be sure to save a day for shopping, for the trade show is the nation’s largest collection of western goods. Nine hundred exhibits showcase a variety of products, such as jewelry, clothing, household items, and agricultural products. It’s the perfect time to decorate your home, buy gifts, stock your kitchen, or outfit your barn.

Come have an amazing time along with thousands of other spectators from around the country who descend upon Denver for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, a nationally-recognized western heritage and entertainment event that’s the grandest of its kind.

 For more information, visit www.NationalWestern.com.

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

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Colorado Ski Resorts Glow on New Year’s Eve

Colorado Ski Resorts Glow on New Year's Eve With torchlight parades
Colorado ski resorts are notorious for their festive and over-the-top New Year’s Eve celebrations. Designed for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to enhance the pleasures of a vacation, and to make you feel as though you’ve stepped away from reality, ski resorts are ideal for ringing in the New Year. 
 
Almost every ski resort in Colorado hosts a big New Year’s Eve celebration. Festivities may include fireworks, music, and gourmet dinners—some of which take place on the hill and under the stars. Unique to ski resorts are their mesmerizing torchlight parades, where participants ski in formation down a mountain’s front side, holding lit torches under the moonlight. It sounds simple, but as these light-bearing skiers descend, snaking back and forth across the trail, the effect is hypnotic. Crowds hush and children point as the energy among them stirs. 
 
At some resorts, torchlight parades are open to anyone who wants to join. At others, there are participants who perfect a synchronized, choreographed descent, making it appear as though the hill is dancing and enjoying its own magical bash.
 
In Colorado, New Year’s Eve celebrations—and torchlight parades—occur at big resorts like Steamboat, Snowmass, and Breckenridge and at smaller mountains like Monarch, Purgatory, and Sunlight. If you want to take part in a torchlight parade at your favorite ski mountain, give them a call to find out what you need to do to join. Most mountains are thrilled to add skiers to these gorgeous and very special events because the more light that fills the slope, the more breathtaking the parade will be.

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Visit a Winter Wonderland at 12 Days of Aspen

Catch the Glow in Estes Park Colorado
It’s that awesome time of year, when snow quiets the earth, fires warm homes, and holiday activity brings friends and families together. For the ultimate winter wonderland, head to Aspen, a city that hosts 12 Days of Aspen, a multi-day holiday extravaganza full of events for people of all ages.

 

With activities arranged all day, every day from December 20th through December 31st, there is truly something for every interest and every age. For children, the magic of the season is alive and well in FREE events like a visit with Santa and his live reindeer, a ride on Santa’s Fire Truck, Create your own Lift Ticket, or a daily search for Dewey the Library Elf—find him six times and win a prize! For a fee, children can also attend a holiday gift making class, take a carriage ride with Santa, or partake in holiday stocking decorating.

Holiday magic is not just for the little ones. Adults can indulge in the season as well. Throughout 12 Days of Aspen, there is caroling, ice skating, a cookie exchange, arts and crafts sessions, an astronomy night, and numerous social opportunities, including a dog-friendly happy hour.

In the evenings, enjoy a great lineup of performances, such as Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol or the James Horowitz Trio, which will perform a “Nat Cole Christmas.” Theater buffs can indulge in this year’s best films at the 25th Aspen Film Academy Screenings, a film series highlighting 20 acclaimed films actively campaigning for Academy Award consideration.

If you can make it to Aspen this holiday season, do so, for there is no greater winter wonderland than this mountain resort. For more information on 12 Days of Aspen, visit www.AspenChamber.org.


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Catch the Glow in Estes Park

 Whatever holiday traditions or beliefs inspire your Christmas magic, you’ll find them at Estes Park Colorado Catch the Glow Parade, the city’s most anticipated event of the year.

Why does the Christmas season seem so magical? Perhaps it’s the falling snow and the way it softens the landscape or the spirit of giving and the gathering of friends. Maybe Christmas’s magic is simply in the lights that drape trees, hang from roofs, and dip over main streets. For children, Santa is magical. Who else can travel the globe in a sled pulled by reindeer and still be home in time for a mug of hot cocoa? Whatever holiday traditions or beliefs inspire your Christmas magic, you’ll find them at Estes Park’s Catch the Glow Parade, the city’s most anticipated event of the year.

At dusk on the day after Thanksgiving, when the lights and sounds of the Catch the Glow Parade come down Elkhorn Avenue, the holiday season in Estes Park officially begins. Spectators enjoy an awesome celebration that includes floats, marching bands, entertainers, wildlife characters, angels, snowmen, and more. During the day, as holiday music is broadcast outdoors, children can visit Santa, take a hay ride, ride a pony, or indulge themselves at a s’mores bar.

The parade route will begin at 5:30 at the West Park Center and travel east on Elkhorn Avenue. The parade will then turn right at the U.S. 36/U.S. 34 intersection, traveling to Colorado Highway 7 and ending at the Rocky Mountain Park Inn. At that point, the floats will continue to the Fourth Street entrance of the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park.

Guests and local residents are encouraged to use the free parking at the Fairgrounds Park-n-Ride on Manford Avenue or the Estes Park Visitor Center and catch the shuttle to avoid parking difficulties downtown during these events.


About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

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Pueblo: Drawing Those with an Artistic Bent

 Rise: Jenny Morgan Self Portraits at the Sangre de Cristo Art Center in Pueblo Colorado
 
Pueblo’s cultural scene is on the rise, and at its hub is the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. This fall, head to southeastern Colorado to view the Arts and Conference Center’s portrait exhibits. From the new to the old, to everything else in between, there’s artwork to delight all interests.
 
For lovers of modern art, Rise: Jenny Morgan Self Portraits is sure to bring praise. Morgan is known for her perfectly executed self-portraits, whose surfaces are sanded and stripped to reveal physical and spiritual wounds. Doing so creates an incredible psychological depth and pushes the boundaries of figurative painting. This show opened in September and will run through January 15th, 2017.
 
On another floor of the same building is the exhibit, Carl Link: Illustrative Portraits. Unlike Morgan, whose work is very modern, Link was a classical portrait artist, commercial illustrator, and art educator born in Munich, Germany in 1887. He became well known for his portraits of rodeo cowgirls, Native Americans, and especially the world of dance and theater. Carl Link: Illustrative Portraits will run through December 31st, 2016.
Carl Link: Illustrative Portraits  at the Sangre de Cristo Art Center in Pueblo Colorado
 
To add to the portrait theme, the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center has pulled from its own collection of portraits for an exhibit that will run through January 7th, 2017. With a strong focus on people from the west, subjects include larger-than-life figures like Doc Holiday and Puebloans of great philanthropic stature.
 
A trip to Pueblo is not complete without a visit to the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. Jim Richerson, who became CEO of the center in 2014, has done an incredible job making it a world-class facility. As he said in a 2016, Livability.com article, “The lighting, peoples, and landscapes of Pueblo have always drawn those with an artistic bent.”

 

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Your Favorite Colorado National Park is FREE this November

 
Famous for their breathtaking scenery and natural wonder, Colorado’s four national parks are some of the most popular in the country. Within their borders, visitors can listen to an elk’s bugle, glance inside the homes of ancient Pueblo people, hike along the tallest dunes in North America, and view some of the steepest cliffs and craggiest spires the country has to offer.
 
With entrance fees to Colorado’s national parks ranging as high as $30 per vehicle, you might be thrilled to know that on November 11th, Veterans Day, entrance to all of them will be FREE!
 
Located in the San Luis Valley, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is a must for any Colorado bucket list. It’s amazing to see a stretch of large dunes in the middle of a high mountain valley and even more incredible to have the freedom to explore them. Though Medano Creek will most likely be dry in November, cooler temperatures make for more comfortable hiking and the ability to cover more ground.
Your Favorite Colorado National Park is FREE this November
 
Just west of Gunnison is Black Canyon National Park where steep canyons are carved out of solid granite and walls are as steep as 2,700 feet. There are seven hiking trails along the north and south rim, allowing for many great vantage points. For the more daring hiker, there are also trails that lead to the canyon’s floor where the Gunnison River weaves like a snake.
Gunnison Colorado's Black Canyon National Park : Your Favorite Colorado National Park is FREE this November
At Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado, the past comes alive. Over 4,700 archaeological sites dot the park, including 600 cliff dwellings, which are considered the best preserved archaeological sites in North America. Multiple trails ranging in length allow visitors to explore these sites at their own leisure.
Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado
 
Lastly, Colorado’s most famous national park, Rocky Mountain, has a name that says it all. With iconic Colorado scenery, it’s popularity is well deserved. Hundreds of miles of trails provide endless hiking opportunities. Yet, for a more leisurely route to the top of a mountain, Trail Ridge Road takes drivers above tree line for sweeping views of the Rockies.
Your Favorite Colorado National Park is FREE this November
 
For more information, visit the National Park Service at www.nps.gov.

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Don’t Be A Scaredy Cat….It’s FUN!

 

Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get your fright on at one of Denver Colorado’s amazing, totally theatrical, and nationally-acclaimed haunted houses. Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get your fright on at one of Denver’s amazing, totally theatrical, and nationally-acclaimed haunted houses. Take yourself into a real life horror flick where zombies follow you, masked psychopaths make you feel as though your life is at stake, and endless screams of tortured souls chill your spine. And while it takes great imagination to create these haunted houses, producers have taken a bit from Denver’s own history because not only is it one of the country’s most beautiful cities, it’s also one of the most haunted.

Denver’s most iconic haunted locations include the Brown Palace Hotel, where guests have claimed to hear the ghost of an old railroad ticket manager walking down the hall, and Cheesman Park, which was a cemetery for outlaws, paupers, and the diseased. It is said that as many as 2,000 bodies are still buried under the park’s grassy lawns and that their spirits continue to roam the park and surrounding neighborhoods. Even at the old Governor’s Mansion, ghosts are said to walk the halls, and at the State Capitol buildings, a phantom woman in a long dress is often known to appear.

Inspired by Denver’s notorious hauntings are the city’s haunted houses, many of which have received accolades from the Travel Channel, MTV, Discovery Channel, USA Today, and Hauntworld Magazine. Open for the second half of October, some of the most popular (and scariest) haunted houses include the 13th Floor Haunted House, Asylum Haunted House, and Primitive Fear Haunted House.

For a complete guide to Denver’s haunted houses, visit www.HauntedDenver.com

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Find the State’s Largest Pumpkin in Old Colorado City

Find the State’s Largest Pumpkin in Old Colorado City

Now that it’s October, pumpkin season is officially here. There is no better place to revel in the splendor of fall’s greatest squash than at Old Colorado City’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off, one of the last great outdoor festivals for the year. This historic area of Colorado Springs welcomes the biggest pumpkins Colorado has to offer, making it lots of fun to guess who’s going to take home the top prize. Weigh off begins at 10am, which leaves plenty of time for celebrating the harvest season for the rest of the day.
 
Bring the whole family, there’s fun for everyone. A giant kids’ zone keeps the little ones entertained. With characters from the Wizard of Oz, spinning wheels, games, prizes, and a pumpkin patch, there are hours of fun to be had. Come dressed and ready for the event’s costume contest or come prepared to shop the Giant Sidewalk Sale with many of the local shops offering killer deals on great items and gifts.
 
From noon to 5pm on the same day, nine of Old Colorado City’s finest stops have joined together to create the Giant Spirit Local Craft Beer and Wine Walking Tour, which will offer the best tastings and samples of craft beers and wines around. Tickets, with a tour map, will be available starting on October 8th at Sun Mountain Cafe located at 2428 West Colorado Avenue and on Saturday, October 22, 10am to 1pm, during the Pumpkin Festival.
 
For more information on the Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off and the Giant Spirit Local Craft Beer and Wine Walking Tour, visit www.ShopOldColoradoCity.com.

Denver: No Longer Just for Cowboys

Denver: now a multi-cultural city infused by technology, nature, cutting edge architecture, and above all, art. From award-winning Broadway shows to world premier plays and coveted exhibitions, there’s an abundance of things to see and do during a Denver arts getaway.

It’s no secret Denver’s population is exploding. With over 300 days of sunshine, a casual business culture, more than 4,000 acres of park space, 85-miles of paved bike trails, world-class museums, chic shopping districts, exquisite dining, and more entertainment than you can shake a stick at, it’s no wonder everyone, from the east coast to the west, want to live here.

In fact, Colorado has been rated the second fastest growing state in the U.S., adding over 100,000 people to its population between 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, for many residents, this translates to increased real estate prices, heavier traffic, and greater crowds on some of their favorite trails. However, for those wanting a more dynamic art scene, there is no better time than now in Denver. Thanks to its growing population, this once “cow town” has become a fluid and progressive center for creative undertaking. With five downtown museums, dozens of art galleries, multiple art organizations, and the second largest performing arts center in the nation, Denver’s art scene is quickly becoming its namesake, providing first-rate art, dance, music, and theater for a diverse and discerning population.

In the last thirty years, Denver has transformed itself from a city with record unemployment, nation-high carbon monoxide pollution, abandoned warehouses, and rising bankruptcies, to one of the U.S.’s most desirable cities to live. Colorado’s history is chock-full of boom or bust stories, and Denver is the epitome of this pattern. Today, it’s bursting—literally—and with this has come an art scene that no longer plays second fiddle to other major American markets. Denver now offers museums, galleries, art centers, and art schools like the prestigious Art Institute and the holistic-focused Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which, together, draw hundreds of talented artists to Denver every year. As the largest city within a 600-mile radius, it’s safe to say Denver is now the art capital of the Rocky Mountain West.

No institution better personifies Denver’s constant evolution in the world of art than the Denver Art Museum, whose architecture spurs discussion and debate and whose interactive approach to exhibition allows for terrific creativity. In 2016 alone, the museum is pushing boundaries with exhibits like, Rhythm and Roots: Dance in American Art, What it Meant to be Modern, 1910-1965, and Star Wars and the Power of Costume, which exhibits more than 60 original Star Wars costumes.

Local, regional, national, and global artists are also celebrated at Denver’s other art museums, all of which provide unique and engaging experiences. The Museum of Contemporary Art offers a wide range of exhibitions that promote creative experimentation through art and ideas. The Clyfford Still Museum houses the collection of one of the most important painters of the 20th century, a mysterious man whose estate was sealed off in 1980 and whose works would not be seen again until the museum opened in 2011. At the Kirkland Museum of Fine Art, visitors experience the best of salon style exhibition while drowning themselves in the museum’s massive collection of mid-century decorative art and Kirkland’s brightly and sometime outlandish nebula and dot paintings. Finally, as an homage to its history and geography, Denver is the proud home of the American Museum of Western Art, whose collection is intended to give the public a better understanding and appreciation of the character, history, and beauty of the American West.

Now that Denver is a city that embraces creativity, there is also a number of growing art districts that are becoming more popular among the public and artists alike. Most notable is the Santa Fe arts district located on Santa Fe Drive between 4th Ave. and 12th Ave. With a long history of supporting artists and over 30 galleries consolidated on a single street, it’s the ideal First Friday art outing. Newer to the scene is the River North art district (RiNo), which has a vibrant and rich community of people exploring what is new, hip, and trendy. Helping the art districts grow are dozens of art organizations like Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, which doesn’t just give kids a safe, healthy place to hang out after school, but also challenges them to be free and creative thinkers. There is also the Lakewood Cultural Center, which has a good eye for high-quality touring acts and puts them together for stellar seasons of music, dance, and theater. Or, there’s the Denver Public Art Program, which has erected dozens of sculptures and art installations throughout Denver’s parks and parkways.

Denver’s artists and art organizations keep scoring with audiences not just in museums, galleries, and art centers, but also on the stage, most notably at Denver’s Performing Arts Center, which boasts five separate venues, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the Colorado Ballet. Here, Broadway shows like The Lion King, Newsies, and The Phantom of the Opera rotate throughout the year.

Art in Denver can also be found in the most unassuming places. In 2014, the Denver Botanic Gardens raised the bar when it presented, Chihuly, the Rocky Mountain Region’s first major outdoor exhibition of artwork by celebrated American artist, Dale Chihuly. Chihuly’s glass sculptures—ranging in size and form—were placed among flowers, in ponds, and on trees, ultimately adding bold colors and dramatic beauty to the Gardens’ 24-acre urban oasis.

Denver’s come a long way from its cowboy roots. It’s now a multi-cultural city infused by technology, nature, cutting edge architecture, and above all, art. From award-winning Broadway shows to world premier plays and coveted exhibitions, there’s an abundance of things to see and do during a Denver arts getaway.

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986 

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Join the Debate Surrounding DIA’s Most Controversial Piece of Art

 Join the debate surrounding DIA's most controversial piece of art at Denver Airport Colorado

As the Denver International Airport neared completion in 1995, the old Stapleton Airport struggled to accommodate the influx of people traveling to and from Denver. However, despite the state’s need for a larger airport, there was no way to predict the amount of controversy that would surround it.

At fifty-four square miles, DIA is the largest airport in the United States and second largest in the world. Not only was it costly to build, it took an unprecedented amount of time to complete. And with details like multiple unmarked buildings, a level built into the ground that is protected from vibrations, and gate and door numbers corresponding to emergency action plans to “people in the know,” some conspiracy theorists have suggested that DIA is hiding an underground bunker intended to safeguard government officials, the New World Order, or even Neo-Nazis (due to the swastika-like shape of the runways) in the event of an apocalypse.

Hints supporting this theory also exist in the airport’s artwork. The dark murals painted in the airport’s terminals, for example, allude to the end of civilization as we know it. Examine one and discover refugees living in a basement and the Lord of Death brandishing an AK-47, killing the dove of peace. In another, there’s horrific destruction, the extinction of multiple species, and a little girl holding a Mayan tablet insinuating Dec. 21, 2012—the end of the world.

While these murals are unanimously disturbing, no symbol in the airport draws more debate, or is more contested, than the mighty “Blue Mustang,” a 32-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture that greets visitors near the airport’s main terminals. This cobalt blue mustang, commonly known as “Bluecifer” or “Satan’s Stead,” has fiery red eyes and a demonic face that make it appear bloodthirsty and devilish. Surrounded by controversy since its erection in 2008, multiple groups have unsuccessfully tried to remove it, and for many, it is yet another symbol linking the airport to supposed underground facilities. But, for those who know that during “Blue Mustang’s” creation a piece of the sculpture broke off, pinned its artist against the wall, and cut an artery in his leg, ultimately killing him, the purchase and display of the sculpture is even more bizarre.

Conspiracy theorists believe the horse symbolizes death and destruction and is a marker for the supposed underground facility. However, there are also those who recognize its representation of the wild spirit of the American West or who call it awesome and amazing. Honestly, I can’t help but applaud DIA for choosing a sculpture that warrants such debate, that calls attention to Colorado’s bold, daring, and risk-taking citizens. I feel “Blue Mustang” illustrates our passion and our desire to protect our land and our ideals. While the mustang’s exterior can ignite chills, its surreal energy should also be praised. Moreover, no one has yet stated what would possess a super-secret organization, like the New World Order, to blatantly display “Blue Mustang” in order to show off its headquarters underneath the world’s tenth busiest airport, to 50 million passengers a year. It defeats the purpose of being secret, doesn’t it?

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986 

photo credits: hackaday.com

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Autumn Magically Rolls in at Crested Butte’s Vinotok

Vinotok is its own beast with a bold personality and a loyal following. It is a celebration, a passing, a time to forgive, a chance to bond, and above all, a lovefest of the rhythms of nature and the bounty and mysteries it provides.

My legs are spent and I’m exhausted. Still, I clutch a Great Divide Denver Pale Ale and take a sip. After a day on the 401, the beer tastes like gold and the early evening sun that warms my face feels like a blessing. I think after I inhale—yes, inhale—my burger, I’ll put back one more beer, and then head back to camp.

Never have I been so wrong.

Sitting on Brick Oven Pizza’s patio, I’m surprised when men and woman dressed as medieval characters march down Elk Street. Some wear flower wreaths, while others carry banners, flags, and torches. Drums, flutes, and tambourines are played, and arms and faces are painted in vibrant colors. However, no one compares to the shirtless Green Man, who is surrounded by an entourage and who puffs his chest, holding his hands up high. I catch my breath when they stop in front of the restaurant, pass through its gates, and begin to sing.

I must look aghast because my friend, a Crested Butte local, laughs. “Did I forget to tell you it’s Vinotok?”

I nod, not quite registering what she’s said. To me, Vinotok sounds like the name of a fictional planet or a man-made avenger gone wrong.

The crowd quiets around us as the medieval-like people introduce themselves through song. They are maidens, harvest lads, a man named Sir Hapless, the Earth Dragon, a very pregnant Harvest Mother, and of course, the Green Man. Together, they are the Vinotok Mumming Troupe, a group of dedicated Crested Butte locals who seek to set the magical mood for Vinotok, Crested Butte’s uniquely imaginative, week-long harvest festival.

Once they leave, parading down the street and performing a step-hop-style of dance, antlers, feathers, leaf headdresses, and loincloths abounding, my friend takes a long, slow sip of beer as she prepares to dive into the festival’s details. Vinotok, as I would learn, is a long standing Crested Butte tradition and allegedly the inspiration for Burning Man. The event begins a week before the Autumn equinox and culminates with a massive procession and bonfire. In its 31st year, it is part film festival, part medieval gathering, and largely folk theatre. The festivities include rabid partying, fire blowing, and ultimately the burning of the Grump. Vinotok is its own beast with a bold personality and a loyal following. It is a celebration, a passing, a time to forgive, a chance to bond, and above all, a lovefest of the rhythms of nature and the bounty and mysteries it provides.

Vinotok honors the transition from summer to fall and eventually winter. Through wreath making, storytelling, and the crowing of the Green Man, it is a time for this small town to forget the woes of yesterday, to bond together as a community, to let go of grievances, and to celebrate this wild place in which we live. Above all, Vinotok is a celebration of the abundance of harvest, a time meant for us to give thanks through song, dance, and feasts.

I laugh because suddenly, the guy walking around with deer antlers affixed to his head earlier that day makes more sense.

“So, what’s next?” I ask eagerly, anxious to become part of this wild festival.

“The trial,”

“The trial?” I’m confused. What could a trial have to do with harvest and community and forgiveness? My brows furrow as a waitress places my burger in front of me.

My friend gestures at it. “Finish up and I’ll show you.”

We head down Elk Street as the sun sets. Night is upon us, as is, what seems to be, the entire town of Crested Butte. Hundreds of people swarm the street, and ahead of me is a cloth draped, insect-looking monster towering above the crowd. In the dark, torches blaze and the chanting begins.

“Burn the Grump! Burn the Grump!” the crowd shouts in unison.

They mean the creature—the scapegoat for all of our worries—and it stands trial on the final night of Vinotok. For the weeks prior, boxes were placed throughout town into which everyone placed their written grievances. Those boxes were then tucked within the Grump before it headed to trial. Even I had a chance to slip a few in, though I won’t admit to what they were. Essentially, The Grump represents everything bad you want to let go of, and it must die.

Poor Grump never had a chance, and I feel a brief moment of pity as the crowd and those carrying the towering beast march farther down Elk to a pre-erected bonfire. The Grump is placed on top of it, the logs are lit, and the crowd goes wild as the Grump and all of our grievances go up in flames. The maidens dance in the burning light, and finally, autumn begins.

The whole evening seems archaic to me—the drinking, the costumes, the accusations, and finally, the burning. There’s an intensity in the air unlike anything I’ve ever seen, as though the Grump were a real monster that threatened villages and stole children from their beds. Perhaps, giving a name and a form to those issues that sadden or anger us makes for the surreal chanting and the intense desire to watch the Grump burn. But, as people walk away, I notice everyone grinning, and the feeling of being cleansed and ready to begin a new year becomes infectious. I feel my own smile widen and my body lighten. I picture the words I wrote on that slip of paper, which are now ash, and none of those grievances bother me, as though they’ve been stripped away.

I stare at the smoldering logs and the remains of the Grump and realize there is indeed magic in Vinotok. Crested Butte’s community is strong and imaginative and together, the citizens of this small mountain town create their own special type of wizardry. Fall is officially here with winter around the corner, and almost instantly, I find I’m ready for a deep breath, a break from the endless activities of summer, and a chance to reconnect with friends and family but mostly, with myself.

Vinotok 2016 begins on September 18th and culminates on September 24th with the burning of the Gump.
Check this video to learn more on this amazing and unique festival.

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About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986 

Photo credit: travelcrestedbutte.com

Eat a Peach in Palisade

 Palisade Colorado Peach Festival

Immerse yourself in the red rocks of Western Colorado, savor a glass of cabernet, and bite into the sweetest, juiciest peach the world has to offer at Palisade Peach Fest, a celebration of one of Colorado’s richest, agricultural hubs.

Palisade’s agricultural boom began in the early 20th century, when settlers, impressed by Palisade’s mild climate and unique terrain, built irrigation canals to support young crops. Paving the way for Palisade’s reputation as Colorado’s breadbasket was the peach, which this Western Slope town would ultimately become famous for.

Today, Palisade’s agricultural history is celebrated at the annual Palisade Peach Fest. Not only is it one of Colorado’s original agricultural festivals, it is also a world recognized event that draws thousands of visitors. The festival takes place on the third weekend of August, when peaches are at their peak. Here, senses are ignited by the sweet smell that permeates Palisade’s Riverbend Park. The aroma is so thick, you’ll taste it on your tongue, and your mouth will water. It’s then that you’ll realize what it means to be in the heart of peach country and that there’s hardly anything else like it.

Palisade Peach Fest officially kicks off Thursday night with “Peach Night at the Rockies” (Grand Junction Rockies, that is). On the same evening, the Peach Queen is crowned, free peach ice cream is scooped, and towns folk get down at the much anticipated street dance. The following morning, Riverbend Park’s gates open and the festival’s activities go into full swing.

Palisade Colorado Peach Festival

Take part in a peach orchard tour, shop dozens of fruit stands, and dine with Feast in the Fields, a five course meal that honors local food and wine as well as the talents of local chefs. Live music, including bluegrass, acoustic, rock, and reggae, begins Friday afternoon and runs through Saturday evening. Peach contests draw a crowd, declaring the perfect peach recipe and the fastest peach eater. Additionally, there’s a peach parade, Jake’s Jungle for Kids, peach cuisine demos, and horse cart rides. As a celebration of locally grown food and locally produced products, Palisade Peach Fest is also the perfect place to stock up on jams, butters, salsas, wines, and crafts. And while peaches are the star of the show, the festival also shows off all of the produce grown in and around Palisade—produce that’s ripe for pies, canning, and drying.

Come to Palisade Peach Fest to partake in a true local food economy, listen to great music, and taste the perfect peach. I promise, it’s a flavor and sweetness you’ll never forget.

For more information on Palisade Peach Fest, visit www.PalisadePeachFest.com

Where to Stay:

Wine Country Inn – (970) 464-5777 

Visit Wine Country Inn and experience the romance of the vineyards at Colorado’s first wine-themed hotel. Stroll through the working vineyards that surround the Inn. This Victorian style hotel sits in the middle of 21 acres of vines that produce grapes, which are crushed and bottled as their signature label wines.

Vistas and Vineyards – (970) 464-7478

Nestled in an agricultural buffer east of Grand Junction and just west of the Town of Palisade, Vistas and Vineyards has a beautifully landscaped yard with many flowering trees, shrubs, and roses, a bocce court, patio, and deck. This relaxing environment will beckon you outside with your favorite beverage to enjoy great conversation with the owners and other guests.

Wine Valley Inn – (970) 464-1498

Wine Valley Inn is a relaxing, luxury inn set in the heart of Palisade’s fruit and wine country. With many repeat guests, this award winning inn offers the amenities you desire and the lifestyle you came to Palisade to experience.

Where to Eat:

Palisade Café 11.0 – (970) 464-2888

An authentic small-town cafe with wood paneling on one side, brick on the other, local art on the walls, and food made from scratch. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Inari’s – (970) 464-4911

A quaint neighborhood bistro in the heart of Colorado’s orchard and wine country featuring an eclectic and seasonally changing menu and select wine and beer that compliments the cuisine.

357 Bar and Grill – (970) 464-2226

A family friendly sports bar with TVs, a juke box, and a daily happy hour from 3pm to 7pm.

Where to Imbibe:

Palisade Brewing Company – (970) 464-1462

Palisade Brewing Company brews innovative American style beer with respect to the traditional roots of craft brewing. They are constantly pushing to keep up with the evolving palette of the craft beer community in Colorado. Food menu includes starters and sandwiches.

Any One of the Many Wineries

Tour Palisade’s multiple wineries and sample all flavors of wine. Vineyards include: Canyon Wind Cellars, Garfield Estates Vineyard & Winery, Hermosa Vineyards, Mesa Park Vineyards, and more!

Where to Camp:

James Robb State Park

From Fruita on the west end, to Island Acres on the east end and three stops in-between, this is one park split into five sections. To visit the park, follow the Colorado River west from Debeque Canyon to Fruita, and enjoy five uniquely different river and lake based outdoor recreation opportunities. Camping is offered year-round at the Island Acres section and the Fruita section. Coin showers and laundry are available from early spring through fall. Reservations are recommended because many weekends in summer fill-up fast. Consider camping during the week and off-season while visiting one of the many attractions or events.

RV Ranch – (970) 434-6644

RV Ranch is just minutes away from award winning wineries of Grand Valley as well as historic downtown Grand Junction, with its acclaimed outdoor sculpture park, diverse restaurants and museums. A short drive away is Colorado National Monument’s unforgettable scenery and miles of hiking trails. Or, you can spend days at Grand Mesa with its expansive views, four wheel drive roads, skiing, fishing and hiking.

 

About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

😎 Would you like your business or next event promoted with Think Colorado?  info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986 

Palisade Colorado Peach Festival

photo credits: GJ Sentinel, Lucky Eight Events, The Coloradoan

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Cowboy Up at Gunnison’s Cattlemen Days

 Cowboy Up at Gunnison Colorado Cattlemen Days

Photo Credit: Open Your Eyes Gallery

In the early 1800s, it was determined that Gunnison, Colorado was not the ideal place to grow crops. The valley’s climate was too dry and the elevation too high. Desperate to make the beautiful valley their home, homesteaders turned to ranching, which made Gunnison a popular destination for cowboys. Centuries later, ranching still thrives in this Western Slope town, as do cowboys, making Gunnison the truest example of western cowboy culture.

Each July, Gunnison celebrates its history and culture by hosting Cattlemen Days, the “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos.” Selected as one of the “Top 101 Western Events” in the country by American Cowboy Magazine, Cattlemen Days provides 11 days of authentic wild west experiences and boot-stomping festivities. The only traffic jam you’ll encounter is the occasional cattle drive led by real cowboys. The thrills, spills, and good natured fun you’ll discover come from cowboys displaying courage and skill, the antics of rodeo clowns, and the pageantry of rodeo queens and princesses.

Debuted in 1900, when Main Street served as the rodeo site, Cattlemen Days now has its own arena and hosts a country fair, a parade, live music, dancing, and livestock competitions. Additionally, there is a silent auction and a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Rodeo, which raises money and awareness for breast cancer treatments, research, and support. Of course, there is also a rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which draws some of the country’s top cowboys, who demonstrate just what it takes to be a winner.

Its rich history, great environment, and high quality production have helped make Cattlemen Day’s one of the most popular small rodeos on the professional circuit. If you love rodeos or are aching to check one out, Cattlemen Days is the one to visit.

Gunnison Cattlemen Days
When: July 8, 2016 to Jul 17, 2016
Where: Gunnison, Colorado
For more information, visit www.CattlemensDays.com.

Where to stay
Comfort Inn Gunnison – (970) 642-1000
Luxury at affordable prices. Heated pool, hot tub, free high speed wi-fi, Direct TV, HDTV, local calls, airport transportation, breakfast, and laundry facilities.

Econo Lodge – (970) 641-3068
An easy stop and a great place to stay at an awesome rate. Hot breakfast, free airport shuttle, and smoke free.

Island Acres Resort Motel – (970) 641-1442
Enjoy spacious outdoors, gorgeous views, quaint vintage charm, and retro modern furnishings. Take a step back in time in this newly restored paradise!

Rockey River Resort – (970) 641-0174
Riverfront cabins complete with kitchens. The gold medal waters of the Gunnison River are just out your door!

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch – (970) 641-1266
A decadent bed and breakfast with home cooked meals, beautiful scenery, and of course, hot springs!

Where to eat
Garlic Mike’s – (970) 641-2493
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine right on the banks of the romantic Gunnison River. Reservations are recommended.

Gunnison Vitamin & Health Cafe – (970) 641-5928
Local, natural, non GMO, and organic food. Open for 18 years, this cafe serves healthy made-from-scratch goodness. Gluten free & vegan options.

Blackstock Bistro – (970) 641-4394
Excellent and unique made-from-scratch dishes created by sous chef Luke Martin. Comfortable, casual dining in an elegant, historic atmosphere. Complete with full bar and music venue.

Añejo Bistro & Bar – (970) 641-1427
Award-winning authentic Mexican food. Made to order with the freshest of ingredients. Fabuloso Margarita Bar!

Where to shop
Open Your Eyes Gallery – (970) 707-5021
Showcasing the work of Allan and Francie Ivy. In-house printing, matting, and framing.

Starhouse Goods/Salvage & Such – (970) 209-6587
Up-cycled artifacts, future primitives, visionary art, and fine funked junk.

Bluebird Boutique – (970) 641-3795
Unique, eclectic blend of “a little something for everyone.” Great mix of new clothing, shoes, accessories, repurposed furniture, vintage finds, and treasures by local artists.

Treads ‘n’ Threads – (970) 641-1551
Down to earth shoes, clothing, and accessories to fit your active lifestyle.

Into The Woods Gifts & Ice Cream – (970) 641-7456
A unique gift emporium. Souvenirs, decor, wall art, fashion accessories, candles, trains, and delicious ice-cream.

Where to put your pooch
Waggin’ Tails – (970) 641-9247
Pure fun doggy daycare. Offering boarding and in-home pet care. Amazing staff pampers your furry friends. Insured & bonded.

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

 

Johnny Canoe Paddle Fest at Twin Lakes

Johnny Canoe Paddle Fest at Twin Lakes ColoradoTucked between Buena Vista and Aspen on the eastern side of Independence Pass and surrounded by multiple fourteeners is the small town of Twin Lakes. Though its population doesn’t top 200, its scenery and the serenity it affords are mighty.

Aptly named for the state’s two largest glacial lakes that sit at the edge of Lake Creek Valley, this hidden gem of a town is a wonderful place to hike, fish, stand up paddleboard, or canoe. As you arrive, you’ll notice the steeped, forested mountains that encircle the lakes and the green meadows that lap their shores, and you’ll quickly understand why these lakes are so special. To paddle Twin Lakes is to feel as though you’ve stepped into a treasure box of tranquility and beauty. To hike its trails is to discover the ultimate in peace and a true escape from it all.

July 9, 2016 might be the perfect day to visit Twin Lakes because it’s Johnny Canoe Paddlefest, a super fun event sponsored by Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak Adventures. The festival’s boating race is designed for anything that can be paddled or sailed (no motors, please). Try your hand at crossing two miles across the lake and back, and see if your time is the fastest.

Don’t have a boat? Don’t worry. Boats can easily be rented at Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak for half price. Jump in at the Red Rooster Boat Launch anytime between 9am and 3pm, and be sure to stay for food and fun, which start at 4pm.

Register the day of the race for $40 or pre-register by calling Johnny Canoe at (719) 251-9961. Registration fees get you entered, a tee-shirt, a meal after the race, and prizes donated from Twin Lakes, Leadville, and Buena Vista businesses.

Take in the beauty of Twin Lakes while also having a great time paddling across the water. I promise, after spending a weekend in this little town, you’ll go home telling your friends that you might have just discovered the most beautiful place in Colorado.

For more information visit: twinlakescanoeandkayak.com

Where to stay:
Twin Lakes Roadhouse Lodge and Cabins – (719) 486-9345
Experience the peaceful quiet of scenic Twin Lakes, Colorado. Decide between fishing, boating, hiking, or simply walking around the 130-year-old dirt streets of this historic mountain village.

Twin Lakes Inn – (719) 486-7965
Once a stage stop on the way to Aspen and then a brothel, Twin Lakes Inn asks that you leave your mundane, motel-chain notions behind and come experience true Western hospitality.

Mount Elbert Lodge – 719-486-0594
Offering Colorado vacation cabins and individual rooms for rent on Lake Creek, Mount Elbert Lodge is situated at the base of the Black Cloud Trail, the shortest route up Mount Elbert.

Where to camp:
There are many San Isabel Nation Forest Campgrounds in Twin Lakes. These include Dexter Point, Lakeview, Parry Peak, Twin Peaks, and White Star.

Where to eat:
The Twin Lakes Inn – (719) 486-7965
This restaurant inside The Twin Lakes Inn serves up tasty meal choices within an historic setting.

photo credit: Carol Milisen

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

 

Overwhelm your Senses with Crested Butte’s Wildflowers

 

 

Wild Flower Festival in Crested Butte Colorado
Ask me for the one Colorado town everyone must visit, and I won’t hesitate to say, Crested Butte. Though this breathtaking Elk Mountains town isn’t necessarily a quick getaway, it provides unparalleled rewards worth every minute of the time it takes to get there.

Perhaps the ‘greenest’ town in Colorado, Crested Butte sparkles like emeralds during the summer months. Its hiking and mountain biking trails are considered some of the most epic in the state, and its downtown bursts with so much charm, it’s easy to believe you’ve stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. While this is all wonderful and good, there’s another unique feature that makes Crested Butte even more special and has jaws dropping and cameras clicking year after year. It’s Crested Butte’s wildflowers.

Crested Butte’s wildflowers put on a stunning show for hikers and shutterbugs every summer. From early June to late August, the ultra-green Elk Mountains are awash in shades of color as field after field of blooms line roads and drown trails like paint on a pallet. Tucked in ditches, slumbering in the shade of Aspens, and towering high in the mountains, Crested Butte’s wildflowers are so extraordinary, the town was designated the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” by the state legislature in 1990 and has remained undisputed ever since.

Why are Crested Butte’s wildflowers so bountiful? It has to do with Crested Butte’s unique location. Isolated within the Elk Mountains, plants have had the opportunity to survive and evolve, which contributes to the large variation of species. Additionally, Crested Butte is also abundant in the three factors wildflowers need to flourish—sunlight, snowpack for moisture, and really good soil.

Since 1986, Crested Butte has been sharing Mother Nature’s colors with flower lovers in fun, fresh ways at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. In mid-July, when the greatest number of flower varieties are expected to be in bloom, visitors can take part in over 200 wildflower-based events, including guided hiking tours, jeep tours, and photography and painting workshops. For more information on the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival visit www.CrestedButteWildflowerFestival.com.

Exploring Crested Butte’s wildflowers on your own is easy, too. Whether from the road, biking trail, or hiking trail, there is so much to see. Following are some of the best wildflower hikes depending on the time of year:

Early to Mid-June

June is Crested Butte’s greenest month, and it’s when the lupine are most dominant. Find them on Upper Loop Trail and Lupine Trail. There will also be larkspur, paintbrush, and other “wetter” flowers on the Copley Lake Trail and the Lower Loop Trail.

Late June to Early July

This tends to be the peak of wildflower season and when aspen sunflowers, mule’s ear, sneezewood, scarlet gilia, monkshood, and columbine make their debut. Check them out on Cliff Creek Trail, Oh-Be-Joyful, Rustlers Gulch, Meander, and Prospector.

Late July to Early August

During this time, sunflowers can be found at higher elevations, and late summer flowers like asters and firewood can be found throughout town. Get the most of late summer’s wildflowers on Rustlers Gulch, West Maroon Pass, Frigid Air Pass, and Hasley Pass.

I can’t urge you enough to make the trip to Crested Butte. Its scenery is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and the magic that comes from such a dense concentration of wildflowers is something you’ll never forget. You might even find yourself pulling out your inner Sound of Music and running through the hills with your arms held wide. But hey, you’ll never know until you go.

Wild Flower Festival in Crested Butte Colorado

Where to Eat:

The Eldo Brewery and Taproom – (970) 349-6125

After a day of playing outside, reenergize yourself with fresh beer and delicious American-style food at this lively brewpub.

Where to Imbibe:

Montanya Distillers – (970) 799-3206

Relax with a glass of hand brewed, made from scratch, local Rum. Montanya Distillers offers daily tours, tastings, and a full rum bar with artisan cocktails, appetizers, and small plates. They also host wonderful live music on many evenings during the ski and summer seasons.

Where to Play:

Evolution Bike Park – (877) 547-5143

The Evolution Bike Park was established at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in 2009. Since the beginning, it has been designed to meet the needs of all riders; from beginners on two wheels to gravity experts. The Bike Park has a diverse network of trails that now contains over 30 miles of singletrack on the resort; both lift served downhill trails and cross country rides that connect to some of the legendary rides in and around Crested Butte.

 😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

photo credit: J.C. Leacock

Catch Some Waves (and Thrills) at FIBArk

In the world of whitewater festivals, no weekend is more recognized than the third one in June, when river enthusiasts pour into the small mountain town of Salida, Colorado to paddle, party, and play during FIBArk, American’s oldest and boldest whitewater celebration.

It’s easy to tell when the festival, also known as First in Boating on the Arkansas, is near. Trucks and trailers stacked with rafts, standup paddleboards, and kayaks crowd the streets, the population of dogs sporting life jackets doubles, and the river fills with everyone from novice to Olympic boaters. Eventually, 10,000 people will ascend on Salida for FIBArk, which safeguarded its place on the whitewater calendar sixty-seven years ago.

In the world of whitewater festivals, no weekend is more recognized than the third one in June, when river enthusiasts pour into the small mountain town of Salida, Colorado to paddle, party, and play during FIBArk, American’s older and boldest whitewater celebration.

On June 19,1949, six teams entered the Arkansas River in Salida with hopes of winning a race 57 miles downriver. In the end, only one boat with a team of two Swiss men reached the finish line. Their victory ignited something in the whitewater world, bringing attention to the difficulties and excitement associated with racing downriver and starting the world famous FIBArk festival.

On June 19,1949, six teams entered the Arkansas River in Salida with hopes of winning a race 57 miles downriver. In the end, only one boat with a team of two Swiss men reached the finish line. Their victory ignited something in the whitewater world, bringing attention to the difficulties and excitement associated with racing downriver and starting the world famous FIBArk festival.

While the festival still holds the Downriver Race, FIBArk’s signature event, it now offers freestyle kayak competitions, standup paddle board races, a Crazy River Dog competition, and a Hooligan race, which is open to anything that floats. In addition to water-based events, FIBArk has extended its activities onto land, where it now hosts mountain bike races, a parade, a carnival, live music, running races, dozens of whitewater and craft vendors, and the Chain Drain, a disc golf competition in nearby Poncha Springs.

Though Salida is a small town, FIBArk will surprise you with the intensity of its fearless river competitors, its revelers, and its endless number of activities for all. For more information, visit www.fibark.com.

Salida Colorado FIBArk.While the festival still holds the Downriver Race, FIBArk’s signature event, it now offers freestyle kayak competitions, standup paddleboard races, a Crazy River Dog competition, and a Hooligan race, which is open to anything that floats Salida Colorado FIBArk. While the festival still holds the Downriver Race, FIBArk’s signature event, it now offers freestyle kayak competitions, standup paddleboard races, a Crazy River Dog competition, and a Hooligan race, which is open to anything that floats

→ CHECK OUT THIS FUN HOOLIGAN RACE VID 

Where to Stay:

  • Palace Hotel – A boutique hotel located in the heart of historic downtown and next to the Arkansas River & park
  • Tudor Rose B&B and Chalets – Enjoy 37 secluded acres with stunning mountain views and close proximity to downtown
  • Poncha Lodge – A charming, affordable cabin-style lodge
  • Simple Lodge & Hostel – Partake in the most social lodging experience in all of Salida
  • 4 Seasons RV Park – Be close to town without being in town while camping on the banks of the Arkansas River

Where to Eat:

  • Amicas Pizza & Microbrewery – Handmade pizzas, handcrafted beer, salads, and desserts in a welcoming & healthy atmosphere
  • Little Cambodia – Authentic Asian comfort food in the heart of Salida with great Pho, spring rolls, eggrolls, and patio seating
  • Shallots Restaurant – A modern American restaurant featuring Salida’s only craft cocktail bar.
  • Currents Steak & Seafood – The locals’ choice for beer, wine, and surf & turf created from Colorado sourced, house-made ingredients.

Where to Imbibe:

  • Elevation Beer Company – Beers brewed for the outdoor enthusiast & hard-working man alike such as easy-drinking classics, unique seasonals, specialty Belgian ales, and barrel aged beers
  • Hubbub Brewing – Brewing delicious craft beers and providing a friendly place to gather
  • Vino Salida Wine Cellars – Sip lovingly crafted Colorado wine, mead, & vermouth in their new wine bar and tasting room

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Get a Taste of the Wild West at Carbondale’s Rodeo

Carbondale Colorado Wild West Rodeo
photo credit: George Hendrix
The wild west was known for its cowboys, cattle, and dark, starry nights. The cowboys were tough and rugged, and their job—wrangling cattle while traveling for hundreds of miles—was no easy task. However, as the number of cattle being driven across the country grew, land became barren, making it hard to keep so many of them alive. In response to hundreds of hungry cattle, homesteaders started to fence their land to keep the animals out, which ultimately led to the decline of long cattle drives and the downfall of traditional cowboy culture.
 
Yet, cowboys refused to stop doing what they loved. Thus, the rodeo—and a new venue where cowboys could continue to make a living—was born.
 
The rodeo paints a portrait of the American cowboy, a profound historical figure who’s evolved from solitary professional to crowd-drawing athlete. And nowhere is a cowboy’s history more alive than in Colorado, where mountains, fertile pastures, and open spaces have drawn cowboys for generations.
 
A Colorado Rodeo is the perfect place to immerse yourself in wild west history while also taking in great entertainment. The energy surrounding a rodeo is surreal as men and women show off incredible skills and provide terrific excitement. If this sounds like something you want to check out, one of the greatest rodeos in Colorado is the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo, which is dedicated to keeping the Roaring Fork Valley’s western heritage alive.
 
Ranching has been part of Carbondale’s history since its earliest days, and the town is still known for its working cowboys, cattle drives, and prizewinning livestock. The Carbondale Roping Club, formed in 1948, held regular rodeos near the site of the Log Cabin Museum, and the tradition continues today with Thursday night events that run all summer long.
 
Despite its proximity to Aspen, the rodeo has managed to stay low key, with the board nixing elite access in favor of tailgate barbecues and a family friendly atmosphere. A perfect illustration of this is the pricing structure. While you can pay $10 for an individual ticket, a carload will cost you $30. In other words, fill up your truck and save big! What’s also great about this rodeo is the mix of people it attracts. In a single stand you might sit with a Mennonite family, a gaggle of retirees, a mother speaking to her children in Spanish, businessmen, or visitors from France asking about the trail to Hanging Lake. 
 
The Carbondale Wild West Rodeo offers many of the traditional events you might expect at a rodeo. Get your kicks watching barrel racing, one of the most unique events in the rodeo world. While cowboys are holding down bucking broncos and spinning bulls, cowgirls are charging through the gate in a race against the clock. Or, catch your breath watching bull racing, perhaps the most recognized and popular of all the rodeo events. It’s also the most dangerous. As cowboys often say, “It’s not if you get hurt, it’s when.”
 
If there are kiddos in your party, the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo has plenty to offer. Enter them in the Calf Scramble, where kids chase calves and snatch ribbons from their tails. Or, watch Mutton Bustin’, where kids grab hold of wool and ride sheep for as long as they can. For a milder activity, horseback rides are also available on select dates. 
 
If you’re in the Roaring Fork Valley this summer and are looking for something new, something exciting, or just a plain old good time, the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo is the perfect place to go. If you do, here are the details:
 
When:
The rodeo runs every Thursday June 2 through August 18
Gates Open: 5:30 pm
Slack: 6:00 pm
Grand Entry: 7:30 pm
 
Where:
The rodeo is held at the Gus Darien Riding Arena. County Road 100 (Catherine Store Road) Carbondale, CO 81623
 
Ticket Info;
Carbondale Wild West Rodeo tickets can be purchased at the gate or purchased in advance at the Roaring Fork Valley Coop in Carbondale. Individual tickets are $10/each or a book of six tickets can be purchased for $50. Or, pay per carload, which is $30.
 
For more information, visit www.CarbondaleRodeo.com
😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Grrrrr. Gunnison’s Growler Bike Race – For Experience Riders Only

The Original Growler Epic Bike Race in Gunnison Colorado

Photo by Matt Burt

If you’re an experienced mountain bike rider looking for a challenge this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to consider riding in Gunnison’s notorious Growler Bike Race, a 64-mile ride that is often considered one of the most difficult in the industry. You’re even asked to check a box stating you’re an experienced rider upon registration!

What makes the Growler so difficult? As opposed to the Leadville 100, which is predominately fire road and double track, the Growler offers loads of classic and challenging singletrack and a climb of 4,000 feet for each loop—broken up, of course. There is almost never ending pedaling during this isolated, backcountry race as you wind your way around the ever-undulating Hartman Rocks trail system, just a few miles from downtown Gunnison. If this sounds a little too intimidating, know that these techy runs are broken by fast, flowy trails.

In classic Colorado style, the race ends back downtown where a party with food, drinks, and awards awaits and where bikers can celebrate their accomplishments.

photo credit/ Dan Stevens

Race Details:
Half Growler – Saturday May 28th – 9am
A popular single lap option that runs 32-miles.

The Original (Full) Growler – Sunday May 29th – 7am
This is the race the started it all, the big kahuna! Two laps plus Sunday’s half featuring most of the trails at legendary Hartman Rocks.

Sunday Half – Sunday May 29th – 7am
Sunday’s Half is one lap within the Full Growler. It’s perfect for those who might not have gotten a spot in Saturday’s Half Growler, or for those who want to accompany a Full Growler racer, but don’t want to commit to the full 64 miles.

For more information, visit www.GunnisonTrails.com
To register, visit www.bikereg.com

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

PADDLEFEST: THE BEST TIME TO CHECK OUT BUENA VISTA

 Paddlefest: The Best Time to Check Out Buena Vista Colorado

The once sleepy town of Buena Vista is sleepy no more; its popularity evident by the increasing number of people who visit each year. Contributing to the town’s thriving reputation as a mountain oasis are local establishments like a nationally recognized brewery, a stellar eatery catering to the diet-conscious, an award-winning distillery, an awesome outdoor shop, a brand new craft beer bar, hot springs resorts, multiple music venues, a disc golf course, a hip bike shop, and more. To say that Buena Vista is ‘cool’ is an understatement. To suggest it’s still a secret would be untrue.

What is accurate would be to say that any first-time visitor will be blow away by Buena Vista’s beauty, amenities, recreational activities, and most of all, by its warm and welcoming residents who adore their town and are happy to remind you why you should, too. But above all, Buena Vista is a river town, and there is no better time to feel the love for this Arkansas River Valley jewel than Memorial Day weekend when residents welcome summer—and river season—with CKS Paddlefest: an annual celebration hosted by Colorado Kayak Supply Mainstreet and dedicated to all the fun and excitement that comes from living on the Arkansas River.

If you’ve ever wanted to try a river activity, this is the time to do it. During CKS Paddlefest, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center and other local outfitters offer kayak clinics, river running basics, surf sessions, group paddles, safety classes, and kayak roll lessons. For a more mellow day, float on still water with SUP yoga or family paddling on the town pond. If you’d rather watch the action, there are multiple competitions such as the BV Kayak Rodeo, a surfing contest, and Race to the Grill, where people of all ages choose to raft, SUP, or kayak down the gentler waters of the Milk Run to Riverside Grill where libations, food, and music await.

As CKS Paddlefest has grown, so too have the types of events it offers. In addition to water-based activities, there are organized nature walks, a scavenger hunt, the Yucca Classic Disc Golf Tournament, bouldering competitions, an 8K and half marathon trail run, and a kid’s bike race. Also, no festival would be complete without music, and CKS Paddlefest has tons of it. Touted as one of Colorado’s secret gems, the Beach at South Main offers a riverfront, family-friendly venue with food, drink, and gear vendors. Music plays into the evening while the river roars and stars sparkle. The festival’s second venue is the newly renovated Lariat Bar and Grill, which will host late night bands for those wanting to carry their fun into the early hours of the morning.

The first time I visited Buena Vista was during the second annual CKS Paddlefest, and I instantly fell in love with the town and its people. More than ten years later, I’m lucky enough to call Buena Vista home. There is an energy here that is unlike anywhere else in Colorado, and it is addicting. Come to CKS Paddlefest and experience it for yourself, and you’ll wish 81211 was your zip code, too.

Where to Stay:

  • Arkansas River Rim Campground and RV Park – Offering river and fishing access, tent sites, shaded sites, big rig friendly sites, hot showers, pet friendly accommodations, and Wi-Fi
  • Surf Chateau – A beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of South Main with impeccably furnished rooms and private balconies overlooking the river
  • Antero Hot Springs Cabins – A legendary Colorado destination made of historic cabins each with a private natural hot spring pool along Chalk Creek
  • Thunder Lodge – Family and pet-friendly creek side cabins with spacious living rooms, comfortable furniture, kitchens, and Wi-Fi

Where to Eat:

  • House Rock Kitchen – A new fast casual restaurant serving healthy, locally sourced food that is made from scratch and sugar free.
  • Asian Palate – Delectable Thai cuisine & sushi, a full bar, fine wines, and specialty cocktails in a great atmosphere decorated with local art
  • Trailer Made Provisions – Grab artisan tacos, burritos, and homemade crème brûlée while kids five and under eat free.

Where to Imbibe:

  • Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar – Housed in an historic jail, there are ten taps with stellar brews from Colorado and around the world, small bites, and cozy outdoor spaces with fire tables.
  • Lariat Bar and Grill – A cool, hip, and upscale dive music venue with 16 taps of standard & craft beer, house-made & locally sourced casual pub fare, pool tables, and darts.
  • Deerhammer Distillery – hand-crafted, award winning American single malt whiskey and other fine spirits the old fashioned way in a casual and warm atmosphere.

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

A Boulder Memorial Day

Boulder Colorado Creek Festival

What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend? If you’ll be on the Front Range, why not head into Boulder and check out the annual Boulder Creek Festival, a mainstay for over twenty-five years and Boulder’s unofficial ‘welcome to summer’ event.

As an amazing array of free fun for attendees of any age, the Boulder Creek Festival lines the creek from 9th Street to 13th Street just south of downtown, making it centrally located and easy to enjoy on foot. With over 500 vendors, four performance stages, and the best well-known 10k race in the U.S.—the BolderBoulder—the Boulder Creek Festival is recognized as the county’s favorite and most popular event.

The festival kicks off Friday night with a free concert at the Bandshell Amphitheater, followed by a fishing derby on Saturday, and the festival’s signature event, the Duck Race, on Monday. For three days, enjoy over 500 vendors, including specific areas like Outdoor Adventures, where the top outdoor recreation vendors exhibit, the Boulder Creek Bazaar, where you’ll find craft vendors and a beer garden, and Kids’ Place, where the festival’s youngest visitors are welcomed to jump, climb, and play.

Musical acts are also lined up all day, every day. Take in some funk, soul, jazz, and rock. If dance is more your thing, the Community Dance Stage offers a wide range of dance performances throughout the weekend.

If this sounds like a great way to spend your Memorial Day Weekend, check out these tips:

  • For more info visit: Boulder Creek Events
  • There is free parking available in the parking garages off Walnut Street
  • Pack lots of water, especially if it’s going to be a hot day
  • Bring cash because some vendors charge more for credit card purchases

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Take in Colorado’s Gorgeous Scenery and Sunny Skies with a Round of Disc Golf

Photo Credit: Andy Librande/Colorado Mountain College Carbondale Colorado Disc Golf Course

Back in the 15th century, when men gathered for sport, golf was often favored. Six hundred years later, it is still played, though its popularity has declined in part due to its high associated costs. In its place has sprung disc golf, an affordable alternative that has been making waves across the country.

Unlike traditional golf, disc golf requires little investment and has low environmental impact. Yet, similar to traditional golf, it is challenging, provides comradery, and takes you outside where fresh air and sunshine do a body good. Try a round yourself and it will be easy to see why disc golf has been named the fastest growing sport in America.

Much like traditional golf, discs are thrown from a tee and across a fairway to a hole, which is a suspended metal basket, and the player with the fewest strokes (or throws) wins. Likewise, as golfers have multiple clubs for different types of strokes, disc golf players have multiple discs for driving, putting, windy conditions, etc.

These days, people often look for more casual activities, and disc golf is just that. In many cases, courses are free and tee times are not necessary. Show up when you want and play as little or as much as you want. Play solo, bring any number of friends, or take your dog as a companion. Wear what you want and imbibe what you want. In most instances, rules are few—as long as you respect the land, the course, and the people around you. The best part of disc golf is that it’s easy to take up. Novices can easily play alongside experts, though newbies may wonder about the twenty or so discs the expert insists on carrying along.

It’s no surprise that in Colorado—with its outdoor mentality and sporty residents—disc golf is especially popular. With the state’s gorgeous scenery and sunny skies, disc golf can sometimes feel like a great adventure. If you want to find a course near you, check out Disc Golf Course Review for the largest and most detailed list of Colorado disc golf courses. Following are some awesome courses to check out.

Beaver Creek Ranch in Conifer Park – Confier
Though $8 to play, this course is well worth it. Set in a beautiful mountainous area that is heavily wooded, it will take you through a forest and make you feel like you’re in the backcountry. The signage here is superb, and on some days, there may be a food truck waiting at the end of your round.

Lake Dillon Disc Golf Course – Dillon
With unbelievable views of the lake and its surrounding mountains, this course will give you a workout with its extreme elevation changes. And, it’s an easy trip from Denver for those who want to get into the mountains but don’t want to drive hours to get there.

Shining Mountain Disc Golf Course – Woodland Park
With views of Pikes Peak, this beautiful and impressive course is Colorado’s first permanent disc golf course on a public golf club course. A variety of elevations, distances, and out-of-bounds areas make this course challenging.

Buena Vista Disc Golf Course – Buena Vista
Tough lines and long holes make this course a good challenge. Creative use of elevation and natural rock features also makes for tricky basket locations. However, with shorter trees, it’s easier for first timers, and it’s walking distance from downtown, so refreshments and a bite to eat are close by.

Disc Golf Course Buena Vista ColoradoDisc Golf Course Buena Vista Colorado

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Colorado Bucket List—‘Tis the Season to Visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Best of Colorado

Photo credit: Michael Deyoung

It’s springtime in Colorado, and you’re anxious to start your camping season. But, the mountains still have snow and nights are cold. So, you pull out a Colorado map and look toward the southern portion of the state, where temps tend to be higher and the ground drier. And there, below the large belts of green, is a vast area of high desert, and in that tan colored region, written in bold, is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Perfect.

Four hours from the Front Range and with few other big attractions surrounding it, the Great Sand Dunes National Park attracts just 250,000 visitors a year (compared to Rocky Mountain’s 3,500,000). But, as you drive south on Highway 17, passing signs for UFO-spotting sites and alligator parks, you can’t help but think you’re on a unique and out-of-this-world journey, that you left Kansas miles ago, and that something amazing must be waiting.

Then, you see it, thirty square miles of sand dumped in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as though some of the Sahara has been transported to this less-traveled part of the state, and it dawns on you how surreal this national park must be.

The Great Sand Dunes were formed when a huge lake covering the San Luis Valley dried up and southwesterly winds blew the remaining sand up against the bordering mountains. Recognized as a national monument in 1932, and then a national park in 2004, the Great Sand Dunes is the perfect place to plan a springtime getaway. From May to early June, when snowmelt is at its peak, Medano Creek flows along the east side of the dune field. Families and groups prop umbrellas, relax in lounge chairs, and play in the calm water as the day passes in amazing tranquility. Moreover, spring surface temperatures are still comfortable, beckoning exploration, whereas summer surface temperature can reach 150°, making it nearly impossible to walk barefoot during the day.

Beyond the creek, dunes loom and are open for play. There are no paths or trails to adhere to. Rather, visitors are encouraged to go wherever they want, unleashing a child-like exhilaration. And while you can simply hike the dunes and run down their sides, which can feel like flying, sand sleds and boards are available to rent at the Oasis store, located just outside the park’s main entrance.

Spend the night and camp in the park’s Pinon Flats Campground. Or, stay nearby at the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool (aka the Hooper Pool), a 50’s style pool club complete with tent camping, RV hookups, and cabins. Those looking for a deeper sand dunes experience can strap on their backpacks and hike Cold Creek Trail (8.9 miles one way) or Sand Creek Trail (10.5 miles one way). With one of the darkest skies in the U.S., a backcountry trip into the sand dunes will give you one of the starriest skies you have ever seen. And while you are staring up at that sky, you will marvel at how unique a destination the Great Sand Dunes is, what a Colorado treasure it is, and how cool it is that you are actually there, in the middle of the Rockies, surrounded by mountains of sand.

For more information, visit the National Park Service’s Great Sand Dunes National Park. nps.gov/grsa/index.htm

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

When Water Runs High, Thrill Seekers Head to the Mighty Arkansas

When Water Runs High, Thrill Seekers Head to the Mighty Arkansas in Colorado

It’s the end of April, and Coloradans are anxious for summer, the time of year when pine permeates the air, the sun burns shoulders, and bikes, kayaks, and tents are pulled from storage so they can be easily grabbed for a quick getaway.

But then, in classic Colorado-style, a two-foot snow storm pounds the state, leaving most residents moaning about a weekend wasted and the inevitable muddy trails to follow. However, while much of Colorado gripes about the state’s unusual weather pattern, those living in the Arkansas River Valley celebrate.

Why?
Because more snow on the valley’s peaks translates into greater water flow for the Arkansas River, which means more visitors, greater economic growth, and above all—more time to surf, splash, and raft.

With several fourteeners in the Arkansas River Valley alone, and twice as many mountains towering above 13,000 feet, the number of snow covered peaks rivals any other location in the state. And in this valley, melted snow trickles into streams, and then into creeks, and finally into one of the country’s greatest whitewater rivers—The Arkansas—making it the premier destination for whitewater rafting in the country.

The world’s top whitewater rafters always come back to the Arkansas because a trip down this river is like no other. With diverse terrain, challenging rapids, gorgeous scenery, and abundant sunshine, no journey is the same. It’s no wonder raft trips are high on a visitor’s activity list. And with dozens of outfitters lining the valley, families, large groups, and small parties all have the chance at having an adventure to last a lifetime.

If you want to plan a vacation to the Arkansas River Valley, and rafting is high on your list, check out American Adventure Expeditions. They offer everything from family float tours to high octane trips down the Numbers, a series of rapids known for tight channels, steep drops, white knuckles, and non-stop action. A newcomer to the valley is The Adventure Hub, located in Buena Vista’s South Main, an urban, riverside neighborhood. While The Adventure Hub also offers several types of raft trips, it gives you a chance to try an inflatable kayak or a SUP (stand up paddle board). If you want to try a little bit of it all—biking, kayaking, climbing, stand up paddle boarding—another great outfitter is the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, which has been a local staple since 1982.

When snow comes in April, we should relish it. It feeds our soil and our rivers, nourishing trees and plants, and supplying world famous whitewater for the thousands of visitors who want a taste of excitement, who want to holler as they tear through rapids, and who want the honor of saying they rafted the mighty Arkansas.

For more information on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, visit www.ahra.com

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Photo Credit: Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting

Artists Flock to Greeley for America’s Largest Jazz Festival

Greeley Colorado Jazz Festival

Jazz—America’s truest art form. For many jazz lovers, it’s not just about the music, but the scene and the mood it creates. Jazz concerts can inspire romance, provide disguise, or initiate a party. It is the soul of our country and a celebration of our struggles, our victories, and of our people.

Although started in the south, highlights of the jazz movement don’t just belong in Louisiana—where the famous New Orleans Jazz Festival takes place—but in other parts of the U.S. as well. The longest running, for example, is in Monterey, California and the largest can be found right in our backyard, in the northern town of Greeley, Colorado.

Hosted by the University of Northern Colorado, the Greeley Jazz Festival is getting ready for its 46th year, where it will bring together internationally recognized artists, jazz lovers, award-winning clinicians, jazz vocal groups, and 250 college, high school, and middle school big bands.

Not only does the Greeley Jazz Festival carry the tradition of featuring some of the most prominent names in jazz today, it also brings artists to Colorado that are rarely or never heard of in this region. Over 8,000 participants enjoy the main stage, while many others perform in after-hours sessions or teach in educational workshops.

This year’s festival will run from April 21st to April 23rd and will feature internationally acclaimed jazz vocal group, the New York Voices, premier big band and Grammy nominated, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and Grammy nominated, jazz organist, Joey DeFrancesco.

Come to Greeley for the weekend to enjoy the music and stay for everything else this great town has to offer, such as its historical museums, 100-piece public art collection, and 85-miles of in town bike lanes. For more information on the Greeley Jazz Fest, visit UNC Greeley Jazz Festival

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Colorado Bucket List: Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

Colorado Bucket List Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

In 1941, the Civilian Conversation Corps—a public works program part of FDR’s New Deal—laid the final stone in what would become the world’s greatest outdoor amphitheater. Little did they know that what they had done would change the music world forever, sealing Morrison, Colorado as the number one destination for artists and music lovers alike.

With Mother Nature as its architect, Red Rocks’ famous pair of geologically formed monoliths promote seamless acoustics that many artists claim to be the best in the land. And while the sound at Red Rocks is to die for, it’s just one factor that makes this outdoor venue a must-see for any Colorado visitor.

Come for the music and fall in love with the view. With rolling green hills spotted with, well, red rocks, and the Denver skyline aglow from the setting sun, all sorts of good feels happen when you soak it in. And, once the sun has set and the sky has turned dark, stars light the night, turning the show into something magical. It’s no wonder bands pull out all the stops when they play at Red Rocks. Don’t be surprised when famous guests hop on stage or insane light shows are set ablaze.

Dozens of famous acts have played Red Rocks, some of the most notorious being the Beatles in 1964, Jethro Tull in 1971, which led to a five-year ban on rock and roll after a riot broke out, and U2, whose Live at Red Rocks concert video was listed in Rolling Stones: 50 Moments that Changed Rock and Roll.

Come to Red Rocks for a mixture of love, fascination, tranquility, and exhilaration. As one of the most unique historic sites in the nation, it’s safe to say there isn’t another place on Earth quite like it. Here, bands turn into gods and concerts into quasi-religious experiences.

For anyone that lives in or visits Colorado, Red Rocks is an absolute must and an experience that will stay with you forever.
For more information on Red Rocks events, visit www.redrocksonline.com

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

 Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

Colorado’s Hot Springs: Perfect Getaways for Spring

Cottonwood Hot Springs . Buena Vista

 Mud season is upon us. It is too cold to raft and trails are too muddy for hiking and biking. When you glance at your skis, you know you won’t use them until next season because after months of shredding powder, you’re not going to fight the crowds to ski on slush. 
 
What’s a Coloradan to do? 
 
There’s a simple answer for locals and visitors looking for a unique Colorado activity that won’t leave a car caked in mud. It’s a trip to one of Colorado’s gorgeous and relaxing hot springs.
 
As unique from one another as a Chihuahua is from a Great Dane, Colorado offers dozens of hot springs resorts that range from primitive to glamorous, small to large, and popular to inconspicuous. Before summer is in full swing, take your friends, your kids, or your honey for a day of fun in the sun. 
 
Though the list of Colorado hot springs is long, these are some of my favorites:
 
Strawberry Park Hot Springs – Steamboat Springs
Nestled in an aspen forest, these hot springs feel as though they’ve come out of a fairy tale. With multiple pools built into the hillside and others lining Hot Springs Creek, there is plenty of room for all. Stay overnight in a rustic cabin or book its most popular accommodation—a train caboose.
 
The Springs Resort and Spa – Pagosa Springs
Enjoy the rolling green hills of Pagosa Springs as you soak in one of 23 mineral hot springs terraced to overlook the beautiful San Juan River. This resort boasts the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world, rooms for overnight guests, and a spa guaranteed to give you total relaxation. 
 
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort – Nathrop
Situated in the breathtaking Arkansas River Valley, this is the ideal family hot springs resort. With a large waterslide in one pool and shallow soaking pools along the river, this resort knows how to keep the kids happy. However, for those seeking a romantic getaway, Mt. Princeton’s private cabins, fine dining, and child-free pools are sure to deliver. 
 
Valley View Hot Springs – Villa Grove
Tucked in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the San Luis Valley, these hot springs are a series of all natural, body temperature soaking ponds found along wilderness trails. To preserve this delicate and peaceful ecosystem, visitation is managed through a guest quota for day and overnight use. Even when accommodations are available, visitors are frequently turned away, especially on weekends when capacities are reached. It should also be noted that Valley View Hot Springs is clothing optional for the more adventurous traveler.
Valley View is operated by The Orient Land Trust.
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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.
 

Colorado’s Newest National Monument – Browns Canyon

Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Friends of Browns Canyon, a group of passionate outdoors recreationists, Browns Canyon is officially a National Monument. With designation granted by President Obama in February 2015, Arkansas River Valley’s outdoor treasure is now guaranteed federal protection, ensuring a lasting legacy for future generations.

Browns Canyon is located in Central Colorado between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. With elevations ranging from 7,300 to 10,000 feet, a hike through Browns Canyon is the perfect way to experience Arkansas River Valley’s breathtaking scenery. From long stretches of white water, to dramatic 14,000 foot peaks, to expansive fertile valleys, a visit to Brown’s Canyon will send you home with memories to last a lifetime. Furthermore, the trail within the canyon does not allow any motorize vehicles, and in the quiet, it might be possible to spot one of the many species, such as elk, red foxes, coyotes, and mountain lions, that call this area home.

Recreation abounds in Browns Canyon. Hiking is the most popular and is easily accessible from the northern end of the canyon at the only designated trailhead, which is located next to Ruby Mountain Campground. For a more unique adventure, try rafting through Browns Canyon on the mighty Arkansas River. Numerous outfitters dot the valley, so there is no shortage of guides ready to take you over roaring rapids and through craggy cliffs.

Nearby, take advantage of the Arkansas River Valley’s attractions including multiple hot springs resorts, the ghost town of St. Elmo, and the vibrant downtowns of Salida and Buena Vista where great restaurants, art galleries, and unique shopping await.

Spring and summer are around the corner. It’s time to start planning your trip to Colorado’s newest National Monument! For more information, visit www.BrownsCanyon.org.

😎If you’d like your business profiled on our next article, give us a holler for details: info@thinkcolorado.com . 719.221.3986

Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

photo credit- Logan Myers

Denver’s Art Scene is on Full Display

  • Santa Fe Art District First Friday Art Walk
  • When: First Friday of each month
  • Where: Santa Fe District between sixth and 13th Ave. 

Santa Fe Art District First Friday Art Walk in Denver Colorado

 

Colorado is famous for breathtaking scenery and plentiful outdoor opportunities. But, did you know that it also has a thriving art scene? Nowhere is this more evident than in Denver, where artists from all over the country are hoping to create a name for themselves in the eyes of critics, collectors, and art enthusiasts.

The most exciting way to experience Denver’s incredible art scene is by attending the First Friday Art Walk in the historic Santa Fe Art District. In the evening, stroll the streets and visit over 60 galleries exhibiting everything from paintings to sculpture and mixed media to photography. Discover up-and-coming artists or seek out well-loved, established artists while sipping wine and chatting with gallery owners. For a more in-depth look at the culture that helped shaped the neighborhood, check out Museo de las Americas, a popular museum that educates the community about the diversity of Latino Americano art and culture from ancient to contemporary through innovative exhibitions and programs.

The Santa Fe First Friday Art Walk attracts a lively crowd, and in August, the event is so popular that the streets are closed to traffic. As you peruse the galleries, you’ll most likely encounter string quartets, street performers, and live bands. There are even eclectic poets offering instant works typed on antique typewriters. Come hungry because Santa Fe’s side streets are filled with food carts, making this a great date night, family outing, or gathering place for friends.

Here’s a final tip for those excited to explore this awesome area. Every third Friday, the Art District offers Collector Preview Events, a more intimate version of First Friday with an opportunity for patrons to see the art and meet the artists and owners without the large First Friday crowds.

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.

 

 

BUENA VISTA – Picturesque Cottonwood Lake

Buena Vista ColoradoCottonwood Lake is a high alpine lake that you can drive to. This sweet little lake is a pleasant 20 minute short drive from downtown Buena Vista. Stock full of rainbow fish make for a nice fishing outing, practicing your kayaking rolls, or kite surfing in the winter.  The backdrop is dramatic white chalk clifts with mountain sheep frolicking.  There’s a nice campground nearby.

Buena Vista

 

Buena Vista Colorado

 

It’s PaddleFest Season!

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It’s PaddleFest Season!

Can I Surf That World Premier at the BV Community Center Friday May 22, 8pm. Come check out the premier of the ladies river surfing film featuring Badfish SUP athletes like Brittany Parker, Haley Mills and Claire Chappell.

LEADVILLE – The Leiter Ice Rink

The Leiter Ice Rink is one of the best deals around.  The rink, which includes a snack bar, a warming hut and an excellent sound system, will be open 3:30 to 9 p.m. daily through March.

  • Admission $2.25
  • Skate Rentals $1 (14 & younger)
  • Skate Rentals $2 (15 & older)