Soak in Holiday Magic on a Santa Train Ride

photo credit: Richard Macneill

Choo choo! It’s time to jump aboard a holiday train for a visit from the big man himself. No holiday experience is more magical than a ride on an old steam line through some of Colorado’s most beautiful scenery.  With the magic of Christmas surrounding them, kids often call their holiday train ride the highlight of the season.

Colorado offers several different Santa trains, including the Polar Express Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Santa Train at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. But, the following three are our personal favorites.

Book your tickets now because these rides sell out fast!


Santa’s North Pole Adventure and Holiday Lights Train – Georgetown Loop Railroad
Join Santa on this scenic mountain ride as he passed out presents, treats, and goodies to all the kids onboard. Cars are decorated to the max and heated to keep you warm. This one-hour trip runs during the day as Santa’s North Pole Adventure and at night as the Holiday Lights Train.
➤ Learn more…

 

Santa Express Train – The Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Travel through Cañon City’s famous Royal Gorge before stopping at the “North Pole” to pick up Santa. Enjoy hot cocoa and warm cookies served by Christmas elves along the way. Christmas carols and children dressed in pajamas fill the train as Santa listens to wish lists and hands out authentic reindeer bells.
➤ Learn more…

 

Polar Express – Durango and Silverton Railroad
The story of a child’s Christmas Eve journey comes alive onboard The Polar Express™ Train Ride. All ages can enjoy the experience, warmth, and fun of the Christmas season on a special trip to the North Pole.
➤ Learn more…

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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.

Carolers and Cocoa at Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas

photo credit: Pixabay/Jill111

Take a step back in time this holiday season at Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas December 1st and 2nd. Famous for its vineyards and wine tours, Palisade invites you to participate in another unique and very special event, where carolers sing, cocoa is poured, and holiday shopping focuses on craft.

Starting at 5:00 pm on December 1st and continuing until 4:00 pm on December 2nd, This Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration will take you out of the hustle and bustle often associated with this time of year and into a place filled with traditional holiday magic.

With all the sights, sounds, and tastes of holidays gone by, Palisade offers a pleasurable holiday shopping experience filled with soup sampling, carolers, carriage rides, gingerbread creations, and lots and lots of good cheer.

It all begins on Friday evening at 5:00 pm with caroling by the Taylor Elementary Serenaders as they march up Main Street to the Town Plaza to light the town tree. Warm up with hot cocoa and coffee on the plaza or purchase a cup of soup from Altrusia’s Cup of Warmth at the Slice of Life Bakery. The Parade of Lights will follow at 5:30 pm with floats, bands, horses, fire trucks, buggies, and of course, Santa.

Craft vendors ready to help you complete your shopping lists will be at the Downtown Marketplace from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday. Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop also takes place on Saturday, where kids can make a craft ornament and decorate a gingerbread house cookie baked by the elves at the Community Hospital. Santa will be there too, so have your wish lists ready!

A parade, cookies, music, Santa, crafts, and more! It’s a Palisade tradition. Visit www.Palisadecoc.com for more information.

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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.

Kick Off the Holiday Season at Greeley’s Festival of Trees

 

photo credit: greeleyunexpected.com

Once the Thanksgiving turkey is eaten and the pumpkin pie is gone, it’s time to turn up the notch on the holiday season. And no Colorado city kicks off the holidays better than Greeley.

Head north after your Thanksgiving gathering to participate in Greeley’s 29th Annual Festival of Trees. This winter wonderland competes with the North Pole as beautifully decorated trees, holiday entertainment, kids’ activities, door prizes, Hearts & Tails Carriage rides, a silent auction, and more take place November 24th through December 2nd.

Every year, the Festival of Trees presents a forest of beautifully decorated trees, whimsical to elaborate, each with its own unique theme. At the end of the Festival, the coveted People’s Choice, St. Nick’s Pick, and Mrs. C’s Favorite Tree awards are presented to the businesses, individuals, or organizations whose trees are voted overall favorites. There’s also Candy Cane Lane, a showcase of evergreens adorned with ornaments created by children who compete for the Kids’ Choice ribbon. Come to Greeley and vote for your favorite!

Special events during this nine-day celebration include Whoville Holiday Seussabration, Silver Bells Social, Sip & Shop Ladies Night Out, and Teddy Bear Bash. Throughout the festival, you can also bid on seasonal items, such as trees, wreaths, Santas, snowmen, and year-round items like jewelry, in the silent auction!

Take the entire family to participate in one of Northern Colorado’s most cherished holiday traditions. It’s a spectacular celebration for everyone. Visit www.GreeleyGov.com for more information.

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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.

Colorado Ski Resorts Opening Dates and Early-Season Tips

Woo hoo! Colorado’s ski resorts are getting ready to open (some already are), and many of us are already strapping on our ski racks and waxing our boards.

Before you head out, we want to offer a few tips for a successful early ski season.

1.       You’re excited. We get it. But, so is everyone else, which means the few open runs will be filled with a mix of overly-eager skiers of various abilities navigating the challenges associated with early season skiing. So, just be cautious as you cruise. You don’t want to get injured and have to miss the awesome snow still to come.

2.       The first few days in ski boots can wreak havoc on your shins and feet. Prevent pain associated with stiff ski boots by wearing them around the house. This way, your feet won’t suffer total shock when they’re first buckled in for the season.

3.       Rocks and man-made snow abound early in the season and can seriously damage your gear.  Protect it by using old skis or boards during the early-season.

With these tips in mind, go forth and enjoy Colorado’s stellar ski resorts opening for the 2017/2018 season on the following dates:

OPEN NOW!

November 15th

November 17th

November 18th

November 21st

November 22nd

November 23rd

November 25th

December 8th

December 9th

December 15th

December 28th

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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.

Visit a Colorado State Park this November

photo credit: Vegan-on-a-Budget Travel Guide

Just because it’s November in Colorado doesn’t mean you can’t go camping. In some parts of the state, November will still give you sunny and warm(er) days perfect for all sorts of outdoor play. Our state parks are perfect for a weekend getaway, and the following four are ideal this time of year.


Lake Pueblo State Park, Pueblo

Anglers love Lake Pueblo, and with 10,000 acres of land, it’s also a great place for hiking, biking, or simply exploring nature. Campers enjoy views of the Greenhorn and Wet Mountains to the southwest and Pikes Peak to the north.

Full-service marinas and a diversity of campsites invite guests to stay awhile. Water recreation includes sailing, motor-boating, waterskiing, river tubing, and fishing.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Trinidad Lake State Park, Trinidad

As the southernmost state park on this list, Trinidad Lake should also be the warmest. Trinidad Lake is ideal for water sports and fishing, while miles of trails winding through local history and spectacular scenery provide opportunities for outdoor exploration.

Highline Lake State Park, Loma

Highline Lake State Park is west of Grand Junction, near the Utah border. Considered an oasis in the desert, its lakes, lush grass, trails, and trees make it the recreation epicenter of the Grand Valley. Connected to miles of trails and close to communities, the park also makes an ideal base for exploring the Grand Junction area.

Mancos State Park, Mancos, Colorado

Mancos State Park in southwestern Colorado is a haven for year-round outdoor recreation. In the spring, summer, and fall, canoeists, kayakers, and wakeless power boaters enjoy the calm waters of Jackson Gulch Reservoir. Mesa Verde National Park, the San Juan Skyway, Public Lands, and Durango are close by, making this state park a great excursion for all interests.

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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.

Holiday Shopping at Colorado Arts and Crafts Fairs

Support Colorado artists by shopping for your holiday gifts at a local arts and crafts fair. There are so many to choose from. Check out any of the following. There’s sure to be a fair close by!

Smoky Hill High School 34th Annual Craft Fair 
November 4, 2017 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Smoky Hill High School
16100 E. Smoky Hill Rd.
Aurora, CO 80016

This popular event is celebrating 34 years with 211 vendors showing hand-crafted items. The craft fair is a great place to purchase decorations, unique clothing, jewelry, and gifts for the holidays. Funds raised are used to award scholarships to senior students who plan on becoming teachers and to support clubs and activities.

Arvada Fair for The Band 
November 4, 2017 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Arvada High School
7951 W. 65th Ave
Arvada, CO 80004

Visit this new craft fair and shop from over 100 local artists showcasing their handmade items. Proceeds directly benefit the Arvada High School Band and Color Guard programs.

2017 Applewood Holiday Arts and Craft Festival
November 4, 2017 9:30 am – 5:00 pm and November 5, 2017 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Standley Lake High School
9300 W. 104th Ave
Westminster, CO 80021

This fair will have more than 110 selected artisans and vendors. Join this festival for art, crafts, repurposed wares, antiques, collectibles, specialty foods vendors, entertainment, catered luncheons, special attractions, demonstrations, and more.

Conifer Newcomers and Neighbors Holiday Boutique
November 4, 2017 9am-4:30pm
Conifer High School
10441 Hwy.73
Conifer, CO 80433

Bring your shopping lists for a festive day of holiday and Christmas shopping.

2017 Pueblo Holiday Bazaar 
November 4, 2017 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and November 5, 2017 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Palace of Agriculture, Colorado State Fairgrounds
1001 Beulah Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81004

Come out and grab some perfect holiday gear. There will be more than 150 booths with unique holiday gifts.

2017 Englewood Holiday Bazaar 
November 4, 2017 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Malley Recreation Center
3380 S. Lincoln St.
Englewood, CO   80110 

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping early. There will be more than 100 artisans selling their wonderful handmade crafts and fine art. Concessions will be available for lunch or snacking.

2017 Castle Rock Craft Show 
November 4, 2017 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Douglas County Events Center
500 Fairgrounds Drive
Castle Rock, CO 80104

More than 150 vendors will be offering unique handcrafted products. Other than crafts, there will be food, free door prizes, wreath auction, community corner, raffle, silent auction, book sale, concessions for purchase, and much more.

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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.

Vintage Halloween Fun Fest

Vintage Halloween Fun Fest

Enjoy a wholesome, old-fashioned Halloween celebration at Denver’s Vintage Halloween Fun Fest Sunday, October 29th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The Ramada Plaza Denver North fills its event space with classic Halloween activities geared toward kids. Get your craft on at the mask making station or dip into your creative side at the caramel apple decorating station. Kiddos can release their Halloween energy in the bounce house or test their skills on a slew of carnival games, such as pumpkin bowling. You’ve heard of bowling. Now imagine it with a pumpkin instead of a bowling ball and pins that look like giant candy corns and zombies!

Special events occur at specific times throughout the afternoon. Remember apple bobbing? Well, at this festival there’s a new spin on the classic game. No need to dunk your head into cold water. Instead, you can compete in aerial apple bobbing, which is just as fun and just as challenging—but drier! Open mic ghost stories give you a chance to share your scariest story and the costume contest awards prizes for spookiest, funniest, cutest, and best in show costumes.

This year, give your kids a taste of a classic Halloween party. Visit www.VintageHalloweenfest.com for more information.

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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.

Get Locked Up at Asylum for the Ultimate Fright

photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/socoescaperoom/

Haunted houses are so last year. This Halloween, take it up a notch at Asylum in Pueblo, where you and your friends get locked in an asylum and have one hour to escape. Are you ready for the challenge?

SOCO Escape Room offers experiences in Pueblo’s Black Iron Building throughout the year. But for Halloween, it stages its most frightening experience, Asylum. From October 5th through November 5th, SOCO Escape Room will lock you in a room, where getting out won’t be so easy. You’ll have one hour to free yourself. During that time, you and your team will need all your wits about you as you work to solve a labyrinth of physical, logical, and investigative puzzles in order to escape. If you don’t, there’s no telling what the consequences might be.

Asylum’s escape room is a frightening, immersive experience where participants must work as a team to solve a series of puzzles and tasks inside the room in order to escape within a specified time limit. SOCO Escape Rooms are themed and have a unique storyline that engages you with your environment.

So, what’s Asylum’s story? The Brindley twins call themselves psychiatrists. They snatch people off the streets and make them patients in their very own asylum. In your worst nightmare come true, you awake in a locked in a room. The vicious twins will be back in an hour to give you your treatment.

Escape or die.

Visit www.SOCOEscapeRoom.com for more information.

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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.

Get Goosebumps at the Telluride Horror Show

photo credit: bloody-disgusting.com

Telluride has made a name for itself with its annual summer film festival. But each October, during the Telluride Horror Show, the scariest films in the industry steal the spotlight.

The Telluride Horror Show, Colorado’s first and longest-running horror film festival, returns October 13th to October 15th for its 8th season. For three days, film fans will experience the latest horror, fantasy, and sci-fi films in Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House, Nugget Theatre, and Palm theater.

Films run constantly throughout the weekend, which averages 20 feature films, more than 30 short films, and several animated films. Though this festival is a bit on the down-low, it’s been named one of the “20 Coolest Film Festivals” by Moviemaker Magazine.

Festivities start Friday afternoon with an ice cream social, creepy campfire tales, and a killer karaoke party. Saturday’s events include a book signing and a pig roast, while Sunday offers horror trivia and a closing party. Several Q & A sessions with directors, casts, and crews of featured films are also scheduled Friday and Saturday.

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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.

Colorado Pumpkin Festivals

Harvest and pumpkin festivals kick into high gear every October. This weekend is no exception as several great events take place across the state. If you’re looking to pick a pumpkin, take a hayride, or enjoy some fresh, warm apple cider, check out any of these exciting fall festivals

Denver Botanic Corn Maze – Littleton Chatfield Farm’s 8-acre corn maze is sure to stump the best-of-the-best navigators. Life-size animal cutouts are hidden throughout the maze for fun photo opportunities, and the maze is open after dark for those daring enough to tackle it with only a glow stick as a guide. Other activities include hayrides, barrel train rides, pony rides, and hamster balls. ➜ Learn more…

Punkin Chunkin Colorado – Aurora Come watch pumpkins fly via a variety of wild contraptions. Competitions become fierce as teams fight to win top honors. Visitors can also pick their pumpkin from a big pumpkin patch and enjoy pony rides, face painting, crafts, and other family activities. ➜ Learn more…

The Annual Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival – Colorado Springs Enjoy a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a farmer’s market, hands-on activities, crafts for kids, the operation of indoor and outdoor machinery, the Gold Canyon Gunfighters, and Gold and Gem panning with the Gold Prospectors of Colorado at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. ➜ Learn more…

Harvest Days – Pueblo Harvest Days is an annual event for families to pick out a pumpkin, take a hayride, get lost in the giant corn maze, and meet some farm animals. ➜ Learn more…

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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.

The Mountains Are Calling: 14er Fest in Buena Vista

photo credit: Out There Colorado

Celebrate the mountains and all the outdoor fun they provide at 14er Fest in Buena Vista, September 29th through October 1st. No, you won’t be required to hike a fourteener—though you could. Buena Vista is in a region with the highest concentration of fourteeners in all of Colorado. But you will be asked to have a great time on the trails and along the river while reveling in everything our incredible mountains offer.

Centrally-located in a high mountain valley, surrounded by multiple mountain ranges, and set alongside the Gold Medal Arkansas River, Buena Vista is an outdoor paradise. And as the town’s popularity has grown, so too have its trail systems.

14er Fest unites all types of trail users—off-roaders, mountain bikers, hikers, anglers—for three days of activities, live music, camping, and libations.

Group hikes and rides start directly from town at the base of the Midland Trail System or a short distance away in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area or Fourmile Recreation Area. Scheduled clinics show participants how to improve performance, demos offer a chance to try new equipment, and races offer friendly competition.

With 40 trails for off-road day trips, 200 miles of singletrack, and 20,000 acres of wilderness to explore, Buena Vista is the ultimate location to honor our amazing mountains and to remind us how lucky we are to call Colorado home.

Visit www.14erfest.com for more information.

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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.

Wine and Autumn Leaves at Abbey Winery’s Harvest Festival

photo credit Canon City Chamber of Commerce

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Cañon City is a very special place for anyone looking to taste great wine in a gorgeous environment. Located on the grounds of the historic Holy Cross Abbey, this winery combines Sauvignon with stained glass and Cabernet with cloisters. Complete with a tree-shaded park and stellar customer service, the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey is a must for any wine enthusiast passing through town.

September 22nd through September 24th, the Winery hosts its annual Harvest Festival, a weekend-long celebration of fall’s bounty and great wine. The winemakers’ dinner at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park gets the weekend rolling. Dinner attendees meet local winemakers, dine on gourmet food, and taste award-winning Abbey wine. Saturday’s and Sunday’s events take place at the Abbey and are filled with an awesome selection of fresh delicacies like salmon, crepes, roasted chilies, and freshly baked breads. Live music plays throughout the day and activities for kids keep everyone happy all-day long. 

The Harvest Festival at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey is a free event with ample parking. Now that the leaves have turned and we are arguably in Colorado’s most beautiful time of year, it’s time to relax with a glass of wine and take in the scenery at this quintessential fall outing. 

For more information, visit www.AbbeyWinery.com.

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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.

50th Annual Denver Gem and Mineral Show

Colorado is famous for its mining, so it’s only fitting that Denver’s Gem and Mineral Show is considered one of the best in the country.  

This year marks the event’s 50th anniversary, and it plans on going big! From September 15th through the 17th, amateur and professional geoscientists, collectors, museum professionals, families, and school children will gather at the Denver Mart to learn and share their finds, knowledge, and adventures.

Gold and Silver is the theme of the 50th-anniversary show, which will feature dozens of themed exhibits, distinguished speakers, and more than 150 mineral, fossil, jewelry, and gemstone dealers. Popular with the kiddos are “Mr. Bones,” free gold panning, hands-on exhibits, and a huge fluorescent.

Exhibitors will showcase their collections and share their stories, while also selling specimens for visitors to start or advance their own collections. Exhibitors will also vie for awards honoring the best-of-show in many categories, including best specimen, best fossil, and best institutional and individual cases.

Different gem and mineral clubs first put on shows in the 1950s. These clubs combined in the 1960s to form the Denver Gem and Mineral Show. The first official show was in 1967, and it has since grown into the second largest in the nation.

For more information on the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, visit www.DenverMineralShow.com.

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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.

Fall Colors Shimer from a Historic Passenger Train

photo: breckenridgegrandvacations.com

Fall is a magical time in Colorado. From a distance, our mountains transform into a delightful red and gold palette. Within an aspen grove, the season’s vibrant colors glisten, creating a unique and sensational landscape.

Soak up this year’s fall colors in new and exciting ways aboard a scenic train ride. Colorado’s late 19th century mining boom brought several train lines into the high country. Today, these historic trains still operate, providing rides through some of Colorado’s most stunning backdrops.

While there are several passenger train lines in the state, the following offer our favorite fall color tours.

Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad http://www.leadville-train.com/special-tours/fall-photo-weekends/

Visit the town where mining reigned. Once a bustling city, Leadville is now famous for its fourteeners and outdoor recreational opportunities. Surrounded by miles of national forests, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad takes you deep into nature during its Fall Photo Weekends.

Georgetown Loop Railroad https://www.georgetownlooprr.com/fall-colors/

For a quick trip from the Front Range, head to the Georgetown Loop Railroad, one of Colorado’s first visitor attractions. Completed in 1884, this spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow-gauge railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time. Enjoy the changing of the leaves as you wind through the aspen-filled Rockies between Georgetown and Silver Plume.

Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad http://cripplecreekrailroad.com/

This 45-minute trip starts at Cripple Creek’s 1894 train depot and heads south, where it passes the old Midland Terminal Wye, a reconstructed trestle, and several historic mines. Enjoy beautiful colors and fascinating experiences that include an old steam engine with pillaring smoke and the sounds of working steel.

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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.

Epic Days at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center

The Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (RMOC) knows how to close a season. With the river slowing down and cool weather sweeping in, RMOC is about to throw a party open to any outdoor enthusiast wanting a few more thrills before the snow falls and the water freezes over.

Epic Days is an exciting weekend (September 2-4) designed to highlight some great adventures in the Arkansas River Valley. With instructional courses and group outings provided by RMOC’s professional staff, it’s a fun weekend for all abilities.

Learn something new, hang out with friends, and enjoy some epic days by participating in any one of the following courses or events.

Kayak Courses

  • Strokes and Balance – Gain the tools necessary to begin your whitewater career, such as outfitting and equipment and the all-important roll.
  • River Transition – Take your flatwater skills to the river and learn to maneuver around in the current.

SUP Courses

  • Strokes and Balance – Learn everything you need to know to begin having fun on a stand-up paddleboard.
  • River Transition – Take the skills you learned in Strokes and Balance and head to the river. Practice skills like peel outs, eddy turns, and ferries. Finish with a short downriver run.

In addition to kayak and SUP course, RMOC will offer group paddle trips that include a day on the Salida Town Run or through Brown’s Canyon National Monument in a whitewater kayak. There is also a group bike ride that starts at the top of Trout Creek Pass, heads around Buffalo Peaks, and into the Midland Trail System. Other activities include kayak roll sessions, riverside camping, live music, and a used gear sale.

For more information on RMOC’s Epic Days, visit www.RMOC.com/Epic-Days.

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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.

Colorado’s Favorite Rock Climbing Areas

photo credit: Meridith Winkelmeyer

Colorado offers some of the best and versatile climbing in the country. For those seeking limestone cracks or granite slabs, single sport lines or long multi pitches, there are many climbing areas likely to suit your needs. The following are some of our favorite climbing areas in no particular order.

The Monastery
Find superb granite sport climbing just twenty minutes from Estes Park at the Monastery, where more than one hundred bolt protected sport climbs range from 5.6 to 5.14. Monastery’s location is considered remote, making it a well-kept secret… for now.

Independence Pass
Independence pass, between Twin Lakes and Aspen, is considered one of Colorado’s most scenic drives. As a climbing area, Independence Pass offers short approaches and an assortment of sport, multi-grade, and multi-pitch options. There’s great bouldering as well for climbers who want to chill in the stellar scenery

Rifle Mountain Park
Climbers from all over the world come to challenge their skills at Rifle Mountain Park, where more than 400 established climbs include some of the most difficult in the country. Perhaps the best climbing in Western Colorado, Rifle Mountain Park offers climbs for the novice to the professional.

Garden of the Gods
Located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is not only convenient, it’s also made of red sandstone spires with Pikes Peak in the background, making for a beautiful climbing experience. The spires offer easy and difficult routes and can accommodate a variety of skill levels.

Shelf Road
Shelf Road area in Canon City is an easy drive from Colorado Springs. With large campgrounds and short hikes to dozens of bolted routes, Shelf Road is very popular with Colorado climbers. Canon City boasts mild winters, making year-round climbing possible. For climbers looking to get outside when other regions still have snow, Shelf Road is the place to go.

photo credit: Meridith Winkelmeyer

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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.

Oh Boy, Here Comes the Fringe

photo credit: ALOC Media

The weird and the wacky gather in Boulder this August 16th – 27th for the annual Fringe Festival, a 12-day event full of independent and original performances on the edge of what is considered normal.

The Boulder Fringe was established in 2004 to provide a platform for artists to showcase their work in non-traditional spaces. Since then, the Fringe has educated the public about independent art that is accessible and affordable. While the organization produces plays, concerts, parties, workshops, and special events throughout the year, the summer festival is its main event.

Previous years’ performances have included puppets, masks, dance, plays, and all manner of comedy and weirdness.

Performances are known to push the envelope, with some performers looking to see how far they can go to discover a new form of entertainment. By giving these performers a platform, the Fringe showcases voices that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.

photo credit: Colorado Daily

The Fringe also puts art in unusual spaces. Can you imagine burlesque in a church or clowns in a sanctuary? No? Well, the Fringe did. This years’ venues include Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Community Dance Collective, Wesley Lounge, Wesley Theater, Pine Street Sanctuary, Pine Street Fellowship, and Kelly’s Barn.

There are more than 52 Fringe Festivals held in cities throughout North America, with another 50+ Fringe Festivals occurring in Europe, Asia, and Australia. The Boulder Fringe follows a model adapted loosely from the original Fringe Festival, which first took place in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

To learn more about the Boulder Fringe Festival, visit www.BoulderFringe.com.

photo credit: ALOC Media

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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.

Big City Arts Descend on Breckenridge

photo credit: breckcreate.org

Do you love living in Colorado but miss the arts and culture of big cities like New York or San Francisco? Breck Create, an organization devoted to supporting and promoting arts, culture, and creative experiences throughout Breckenridge, shows us we can live the mountain lifestyle and still have big city-quality arts and culture with its annual Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA).

This August, BIFA offers 10 days of carefully curated events that include visual art, music, film, interactive theater, classes, tours, a contemporary circus, environmental installations, and a very inventive category affectionately titled, spectacle.

Visual art enthusiasts will love Ephemeral Pathways, a series of photo-based collages inspired by the Rocky Mountains or Contemplative Environments, a mixed media exhibition that brings the outdoors in.

photo credit: denverpost.com

Fans of big music should not miss Itchy-O, a 30-plus piece marching band that draws inspiration from many cultures, while fans of theater will want to experience ANTS, an interactive, roving performance that has giant ants bringing children together in a gentle and intriguing landscape project.

A very special performance by the famous Casus Circus will delight people of all ages as performers display seemingly impossible feats of brute strength.

And what about spectacle? What does that entail? One example is Birdmen by Close-Act Theatre, where large, illuminated pterodactyl-like creatures descend upon Blue River Plaza and roam through the streets of downtown Breckenridge. How cool is that?

photo credit: summitdaily.com

This is just a sampling of all the amazing opportunities for awe and amazement at this year’s BIFA. BIFA runs from August 11th through the 20th. To learn more about all its great activities, shows, and performances, visit www.BreckCreate.org/bifa.

photo credit: gobreck.com

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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.

The Scottish Highlands Descend on Snowmass

photo credit: stayaspensnowmass.com

Want to experience the Scottish Highlands but can’t travel across the pond? Not to worry. On August 4th through 6th you can swing by Snowmass for the Colorado Scottish Festival, the only FREE Scottish festival in Colorado and the highest in the world.

In its 54th year, the Colorado Scottish Festival has its itinerary dialed in. From a Scottish Ceilidh (a party pronounced kay – lee) to a good ol’ whisky tasting (taking away the “e” for authenticity), this festival has it all.

Friday night kicks off with a concert by Celtic rock band, Ruaile Buaile. For those wanting a first-class evening, a ticket to the Thistle Club, the festival’s premier experience, offers a world-class dinner, scotch tastings, an auction, and private seating at the concert.

On Saturday, the festival moves into high gear as several activities fill the day. Attendees can enjoy piping and drumming competitions, dance competitions, and Scottish athletic competitions—think Caber Toss, the Clachneart, and the Hammer. Families will want to check out the kids’ zone for activities like Gathering of Sheep and Finding Nessie. Or, they can head to the Renaissance Scots Living History Village where they’ll experience Scottish Highland life and crafts from the time of William Wallace through Culloden in 1745.

Want more? This festival has it—Dogs of the British Isles, a Bonnie Knees Contest, and, of course, whisky tastings with Baz Dabkowski, a whisky aficionado known for his whisky knowledge and witty commentary.

Join the many clans who descend upon Snowmass every year for this unique and amazing festival. While you might not be able to make it to Scotland, you can probably make it to Snowmass. For more information, visit www.ScottishGames.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.

Mesa County Fair—Western Colorado’s Biggest Summer Gathering

photo credit: Monumental Events

Each July, the Mesa Country Fair in Grand Junction attracts over 50,000 visitors from all over Colorado and surroundings states. While that sounds like a lot of people, there’s good reason for it. These five days are jam-packed with great entertainment for all ages and interests. From horses and cows to art and wine, there’s something for everyone.

The Mesa County Fair serves Fruita, Grand Junction, Collbran, DeBeque, Palisade, plus unincorporated areas like Mesa, Molina, Gateway, and more. As an annual celebration, its mission is to honor the county’s residents, community, and history, and to promote the area’s diversity. The fair features family-friendly entertainment and educational opportunities and showcases local products and services.

The fair’s event list is long and can be found on www.MesaCountyFair.com. Highlights, however, include a carnival, wine tasting, Moto Mayhem, a demolition derby, a rodeo, and open class competitions, which are open to adults ready to show off their creative skills.

Tickets are required to enter the fairgrounds, which provides access to vendors, Celebration Stage entertainment, a kids zone, ground acts, and tours. If you want to see it all and save money while doing it, consider purchasing a Partner Package, a HUGE value for two people wanting to experience everything the fair has to offer.

This year, the Mesa County Fair will run from July 25th through July 29th. For more information, visit www.MesaCountyFair.com.

photo credit: The Daily Sentinel

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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.

Beer Never Tasted So Good—Buena Vista’s Inaugural Rapids and Grass Beer Festival

It’s 3:30 on a glorious summer afternoon in the Colorado mountains. I’m riding my bike toward South Main in Buena Vista, and as I near the quaint, urban development, I’m stopped by two children selling lemonade.

It’s a scene straight from Mayberry, and while I sip my freshly poured glass, I think how strange it is that I’m on my way to Rapids and Grass, Buena Vista’s inaugural beer festival. I should be stumbling onto rowdy crowds, not young entrepreneurship.

But, this is Buena Vista after all. Despite the 850 tickets purchased and the 44 beer vendors that have descended upon South Main Square, the town’s magic makes the event feel like a quaint family affair, where people of all ages have gathered to enjoy an afternoon under a clear blue sky and along the magnificent Arkansas River. Along with that, there just happens to be dozens of craft beer vendors ready and eager to fill up your glass.

The line to enter the festival is short and moves quickly. I’m fitted with a cloth wristband and handed a small glass with the Rapids and Grass logo printed on the side. “Have a great time,” I’m told, and seconds later, I’m surrounded by craft beer tents sampling every type and flavor of beer imaginable.

The number of tents packed into the square is overwhelming, and I take a short stroll to see everything available. The festival has been open for a mere thirty minutes, and already there are lines at each tent. However, no one seems to mind as there are big smiles and laughter everywhere I look. I take inventory of the breweries. Some names are industry giants, some I’ve never heard of before. With this caliber, it’s impossible to believe I’m in Buena Vista. A town that, only a decade ago, had no music venue at all save for a Sunday night acoustic guitar set at a local café.

A bluegrass band is on a small but professional stage set along the river. Lights tilt and twirl as though set to illuminate a night sky. The music, however, is subtle, a perfect background for the drinking festivities. I have my glass filled with a cherry-flavored sour beer and sit on a rock to listen to the music. A security guard passes me. He’s wearing a purple tee-shirt with the words, “Peaceful Security” accompanied by a peace sign. “Too appropriate,” I note, as I take another sip.

Rapids and Grass is a three-day beer festival dreamed up by Sarah Haughey, owner of Buena Vista’s Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar. It began with live music at The Beach on Friday and a kick-off party at the Jailhouse. Saturday included eight hours of non-stop musical performances and three hours of tasting some of the country’s most artistic craft brews. The weekend concluded with a float on Sunday that carried 200 people down the Arkansas River.

As a great addition to Buena Vista’s July 4th weekend, Rapids and Grass Beer Festivalgave attendees more than a tasting event, but a total experience that involved music, camping, and rafting. For the breweries involved, it gave them an opportunity to be part of the beautiful—and growing—Arkansas River Valley.

 photo credit: Jeff Cricco

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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.

Music in the Mountains is Pure Magic


Courtesy of Music in the Mountains

Sure, Colorado is famous for its bluegrass, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and for being the birthplace of big-name bands and musicians like The Fray, Judy Collins, and The Lumineers, but it’s also an amazing place to see classical music. With pine-lit mountains, green fields, and aspen meadows as a backdrop, multiple venues offer music series that showcase the world’s top classical musicians.

One of Colorado’s most notable music series is Music in the Mountains in Durango, which runs from July 10th through July 30th. For over thirty years, this classical music festival has featured musicians of the highest caliber in one of Colorado’s most beautiful mountain towns.

Music in the Mountains began in 1987 when Maestro Mischa Semanitzky dreamed of hosting a classical music festival in Durango. Ten years later, it turned into a full-blown festival, the same year the local conservatory launched its summer string and piano instruction programs. Today, more than 100 world-renowned musicians entertain audience of all ages during the three-week-long series.

This year’s series includes violin and piano duets, chamber concerts, world concerts, Irish fiddle concerts, and performances by Conservatory students. Some performances are coupled with experiences, like samplings of artisan desserts or a multi-course dinner paired with wine and a live auction. For families with children, a special concert, Tubby the Tuba and Peewee Piccolo, will play near the end of the series, on July 25th.

While many of Durango’s visitors come to bike, hike, or ski, Music in the Mountains offers a special treat for those who prefer the sounds of a string orchestra or the power of the piano. For more information, visit www.MusicInTheMountains.com.

 

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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.

Cool Down and Get Down at Rhythm on the River

photo credit: longmontcolorado.gov

 

On July 7th and July 8th, when the heat of the day subsides, Longmont residents and visitors will head to Roger’s Grove Park for the city’s annual Rhythm on the River, a zero-waste summer festival that started in 1995 with a mission to celebrate arts and the environment and educate visitors through music and interactive exhibits. 

The festival runs from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on both days and offers activities for children, teens, and adults. Art enthusiasts can participate in the Artful Experience, a tent where teens and adults can create one-of-a-kind wall hangings. At the Play Place, children can bounce on one of many inflatable structures. At Outdoor Adventure, bolder visitors can test their skills on a climbing wall, a ropes course, or in a kayak. Home Depot even hosts an activity—build your own wood toys! Other activities include a 5k, a duck race, and Illuminate Your Mind, presented by the Longmont Library.

Music is set to play on two stages throughout the festival. With headliners like Rob Drabkin, Euforquestra, Wild Child, and Policulture, visitors are guaranteed a great time. Shuttles are available for bringing visitors to the event and will circle Boston Ave., Hover Rd., 3rd Ave., and Sunset St. Food will also be plentiful as local restaurants make up “restaurants row” by serving their most popular dishes.

Bring your family, bring your friends. Whatever you do, don’t miss this awesome Front Range festival. For more information, visit www.LongmontColorado.gov.

 

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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.

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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo credit: travelcrestedbutte.com