Snow Goose Festival (Lamar)

What: High Plains Snow Goose FestivalAlanBauer_SnowGoose1
Where: Lamar
When: 3 days in mid- to late-February

Snow Goose: Considered to be the most abundant goose in the world. This this is a prime opportunity to view these beautiful white geese by the thousands as they make their travel plans to return to the Arctic from their winter nesting areas.

There is a fee to participate in many of the events of this festival, but there are a number of outstanding activities and presentations which are free. Some of these require that you pre-register, so see the contact information at the bottom of this page. We’ll list a few of the free activities of the 2007 festival — check the website for a current listing.

Jackson’s Pond Tour (Eads) – Hear how the community has planned to save their natural area and wetland. Pre-register by calling (719) 438-2200.

AlanBauer_SnowGoose2Wildlife tour at John Martin Reservoir State Park – Keep your eyes peeled for raptors including Ferruginous Hawks, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks and Kestrels. With luck, you may also spot Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and Great Horned Owls.

Wildlife Watch Class – Enhance your outdoors experience by learning how to have more luck in spotting and watching wildlife. This class is being offered by the Division of Wildlife.

Kid Zone – Here’s a fun atmosphere for kids to learn about snow geese and other birds.


For more information, contact:
Lamar Chamber of Commerce
(719) 336-4379


Special thanks to photographer Alan L. Bauer for giving us permission to use his images of Snow Geese. Please visit for even more samples of his outstanding photography.

Arkansas Valley Fair (Rocky Ford)

What: Arkansas Valley Fair
Where: Rocky Ford
When: 5 days in mid- to late-August

If you’ve been in Colorado in August, you know “Rocky Ford” is synonymous with the best cantaloupe in the world! Good news: Rocky Ford watermelon is also fantastic. Even better news: The Arkansas Valley Fair, featuring Watermelon Day, has been growing strong since 1878 (yes, we really meant to say 1878, not 1978!!!)

j0283673Come enjoy several days of fun, food, and entertainment featuring contests, parades, music, crafts, and (of course) Watermelon. While there are a few special events that require paid tickets, most of the fair events are free. Your kids of any age will have a blast, especially on Kid’s Day. The whole family will delight in the Watermelon madness, including a watermelon seed spitting contest and the dreaded open watermelon pile (on Watermelon Day). Plus, if you love a parade, be sure to show up on Parade Day!

Mmmm-mmmm. This is going to be delicious!

For more information, contact:
Arkansas Valley Fair
P.O. Box 188
Rocky Ford, CO 81067
(719) 254-7723

Music and Blossom Festival (Cañon City)

What: Cañon City Music and Blossom FestivalMusic & Blossom Festival parage (Cañon City CO)
Where: Cañon City
When: Weekend in early May

Strike up the band! Hey, let’s strike up dozens of bands!

While the “blossom” part of this festival seems to be dependent on whether a few local fruit trees are doing well this spring (vestiges of a time when there were many orchards in this area), there can be no doubt that the “music” portion of the weekend is in full bloom. Schools from across the state and even a number of schools from other states send marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, and orchestras to perform and compete at this musical weekend.

The most popular event is the parade on Saturday afternoon down the main street of Cañon City. Marching bands of all shapes, sizes, and ages perform. Uniforms range from kids in jeans and identical t-shirts to elaborately costumed musicians led by majorettes and followed by flag teams, all in coordinated colors and cadence.  Interspersed among the bands are antique cars, soldiers, Shriners, clowns, funny cars, and other visual delights. Bring a lawn chair, or sit on the curb to enjoy this spectacle.

Music & Blossom Festival parage (Cañon City CO)Other events include indoor performances by the bands and orchestras as they compete in their various musical divisions. Food booths and a craft fair are scattered around the parade area. On Sunday, there are other entertainers on stage near the center of town. There are even some rodeo events and a fly-in at Fremont County Airport scheduled to coordinate with the festival.

For more information, contact:
Cañon City Music & Blossom Festival Corporation
PO Box 1914
Cañon City, CO 81215-1914

719-275-7234 (festival information)
800-876-7922 (Chamber of Commerce)

Great Fruitcake Toss (Manitou Springs)

What: Great Fruitcake TossGreat Fruitcake Toss (Manitou Springs)
Where: Manitou Springs
When: First Saturday in January

At last, the answer to that age-old question: How do I get rid of this *$&*@#! fruitcake?

People in Manitou Springs have found the answer. Throw it as far as you can, by any means that you can, and hope it’s never found again. You can come watch this amazing event for free (however, contestants pay a small fee or donate a can of non-perishable food to enter the events).

To be fair, separate prizes are given to numerous special tossing divisions. That is, athletes choosing to toss their fruitcakes by hand are not competing directly with those who use a catapult, giant slingshot, or spud gun (or is that a fruitcake gun?). The audience needs to be ever-vigilant for those fruitcakes that end up being tossed straight up in the air by contestants whose timing on the catapult isn’t quite perfect. You know you’re having a bad day when you get hit in the head with a frozen fruitcake falling from hundreds of feet above you.

Great Fruitcake Toss (Manitou Springs)Several local Inns offer Fruitcake Toss specials, including a heavy-duty cake to use in the event, and advance coaching on the art of fruitcake tossing.

The day also includes Catch The Fruitcake where teams compete to see how many they can catch from their devices that launch them into the sky (Hand Tossing not allowed with the Catch Competition), and an Accuracy Competition in which teams compete to try to hit targets out in the field.

Heads up!


For more information, contact:
Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce
354 Manitou Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829

800-642-2567 or (719) 685-5089

Additional directions:
Exit US 24 and turn west into Manitou Springs on Manitou Avenue.

The event is held in Manitou Springs Memorial Park, located in the 500 block of Manitou Avenue (on your right as you drive west).

Chile & Frijoles Festival (Pueblo)

What: Chile & Frijoles FestivalChile & Frijoles Festival (Pueblo)
Where: Downtown Pueblo – 1st and Union
When: 3rd Weekend after Labor Day in September
Friday, 3:00 PM –11:00 PM
Saturday, 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Sunday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

2011 Update:  We’ve learned that the Festival will be charging a small fee (admission $2; kids 12 and under-free) starting this year. Since this was one of the first items we listed on this site, we’ll keep this page online so people know about the change.

Ahhh, the incredible aroma of roasting chilies turning over hot flames! Sample a variety of salsas made by local farmers as you admire colorful Ristras – chilies tied on a string. Unfortunately, the displays of frijoles – that’s “beans” in case you didn’t know – aren’t quite as exciting to the nose and eyes. Not to worry! Kids can participate in The Art of the Bean, where they compete in age groups for the best sculpture constructed completely using beans (and mostly Pinto beans at that). Or check out the Great Bean Spit Off. Both bean-spitting accuracy and power will be judged. If the kids are still looking for something to do after all that excitement, send them over to the Piñata breaking area where they can let off a little steam.

Both commercial and non-commercial competitions are held for best Red Chili, Green Chili, and salsa recipes. The “Holy Frijoles” Cooking contest features cooked beans (again, Pintos must be the predominant ingredient). The public can help judge the Best Bean Dip in Pueblo by stopping at participating shops along Union Avenue for a sample and to place their votes. We suggest you try to schedule sampling the bean dips before you participate in the Jalapeño Eating contest.

Chile & Frijoles Festival (Pueblo)If you’ve had your fill of chile and frijoles for a while, check out the farmer’s market, the fine art show, live entertainment, and our favorite, the “Salsa & Cerveza” Brew Fest. Sorry, the brews aren’t free. 

Finally, for you car-buffs out there, the Festival often includes one or more car shows to participate, so watch for Corvettes or other cool cars at the festival.


For more information, contact:
Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce

Cinco de Mayo (Denver)

What: Cinco de Mayo CelebrationCinco de Mayo performers
Where: Denver – Civic Center Park
When: Saturday & Sunday (closest to May 5th) from 10 AM to 8 PM

!Fiesta! Come along with us and be entertained.

Cinco de Mayo (“5th of May”) is a celebration of Denver’s Latino culture and heritage. It commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. But, it’s more than that. Cinco de Mayo is a time for festivities galore.

The Denver Cinco de Mayo Cultural Celebration had its beginning in 1987 and has grown each year into what is now recognized as the largest such event in the United States, and it just keeps getting bigger. This outstanding event attracts in excess of 400,000 people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Cinco de Mayo arts & craftsMariachi bands, live performances on multiple stages, children’s activities, piñatas, a variety of dance troops, a parade; Cinco de Mayo is a happening, an event not to be missed. You just have to be there to feel the ambiance and experience the wafting aroma of ethnic foods. Words alone cannot adequately describe this exciting event. You are part of the celebration.  Come mingle with your friends, both old and new. We’re sure you’ll want to make this celebration an annual tradition for years to come.


For more information, contact:
NEWSED Community Development Corporation
901 W. 10th Ave., Ste. 2A
Denver, Colorado 80204
(303) 534-8342

Additional directions:
Civic Center Park is located in Downtown Denver at 14th Avenue and Broadway between the Denver City and County Building and the State Capitol.

Ullr Fest (Breckenridge)

What: Ullr FestUllr Festival (Breckenridge CO)
Where: Breckenridge
When: One week each January

Once upon a time, the Norse winter god, Ullr (OOOL-er), was traveling around the Northern Hemisphere depositing snow, when he happened to find himself in the resort ski town of Breckenridge. Locals were pleased to receive Ullr’s gift of snow, and decided to celebrate each year (not coincidentally, during a period known to be a little slow where tourism is concerned) to encourage even more snow on their scenic town and ski area.

Early versions of the festival (then known as “Ullr Dag”, which translates to “Ullr Day” for those of you who don’t happen to speak Norwegian) were pretty wild, and included a huge bonfire of burning skis, and prodigious amounts of alcohol. Things got so exciting that the event was canceled for a while during the early 1970s.

However, it was resurrected by the local Chamber of Commerce in 1979. The recent versions are still a big bash, but the bonfire has been toned down to a “campfire” because it wasn’t very “environmentally healthy.” Still, the local bars and restaurants enjoy offering games and specials to draw in the crowds, and there are numerous fun and sometimes a bit wild events all week.

Ullr Festival (Breckenridge CO)There are snowshoe and Nordic skiing events, the crowning of the King and Queen of Ullr, and a free ice skating party at an indoor arena. But the fun really gets going at the Ullympics, when athletes (and we use that word lightly) participate in strange and hilarious events.

Finally, don’t miss the parade of floats down Main Street. Helmets with large horns are everywhere, as are ski decorations, people dressed in costumes as snowflakes, snow bunnies, and who knows what else. The winning float for 2004 even included a mini-snow slope complete with a brave skier.

If you want an excuse to party, this winter celebration will certainly accommodate you!


For more information, contact:
Breckenridge Resort Chamber
P.O. Box 1909
Breckenridge, CO 80424

(877) 864-0868

Ullr Fest info

Spring Splash (Winter Park)

What: Spring Splash at Winter ParkSpring Splash - closing day at Winter Park Ski area
Where: Winter Park Ski Area
When: Closing day – usually a Sunday in mid-April

Ah, the last day of the ski season! What better way to celebrate than by skiing through an obstacle course and attempting to end the run by water-skiing (on snow skis or a snowboard) across an icy-cold pond!

Unfortunately, it’ll cost you an entry fee to actually participate in this insanity directly. So, why not stay warm and dry and laugh as you watch other people struggle to keep their skis or snowboards on top of the water? Contestants often wear unusual attire to add to the festive atmosphere of this traditional event. You may see skiers in swimsuits, hockey uniforms, Batman costumes, or even a giant, cuddly elk (or was that a moose?).

Spring Splash - closing day at Winter Park Ski areaIn another contest, people in decorated cardboard boats demonstrate how poorly cardboard floats once it starts to get soaked.

When you tire of watching the skiers do their thing, enjoy some free live music on the decks of restaurants at the base of the mountain.

Winter Park Ski Area, which opened in 1940, is one of the oldest ski areas in Colorado still operating. The historic Ski Train still brings skiers from Denver most weekends of the winter, traveling through the Moffat Tunnel and depositing passengers at the base of the main lifts.

For more information, contact:
Winter Park Resort
P.O. Box 36
Winter Park, CO 80482

800-979-0332 or 970-726-1564 or

Snow Sculptures (Breckenridge)

What: International Snow Sculpture ChampionshipsSnow Sculptures (Breckenridge CO)
Where: Breckenridge Riverwalk Center (Between Washington Street & Adams Avenue)
When: Late January or early February

The Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships have been held for over 13 years. With sculpture names like Prometheus (2002), A Fishing Tail (2003), Winter’s Oasis (2004), and The Nautilus (2005), this isn’t your backyard “let’s make a snowman” contest.

The unique snow sculptures are hand crafted works of art which are created over a period of 65 hours from 10 foot by 10 foot by 12 foot tall, 20-ton, specially formed blocks of snow. Artificial snow is used for the best consistency. Front-end loaders dump snow into frames, and volunteer “snow stompers” work to compact the snow.

Four person teams from all over the world meet here in Breckenridge to compete in this yearly event. All sculpting is done using only hand tools.

You might think that there are thousands of dollars in prizes to win as a result of this competition. Nope. The teams get a free ride to and from the Denver airport, and free room and board during the 5-day sculpting period. Winners enjoy recognition for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place as well as awards for Peoples’ Choice, Kids’ Choice and Artists’ Choice, but no cash awards.

Snow Sculpture (Breckenridge CO)You’ll marvel at the attention to detail each of these teams apply to their design. It’s fun to visit the sculptures one day and then return the next to see how they are taking shape. Each sculpture has a drawing on display for spectators to see how the finished product will look.

Each year brings a different selection of sculptures and teams. Present and past sculpture designs can be found on the website referenced below.

If “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was one of your favorite movies, you’ll also not want to miss the additional event where intricate ice carvings are created using chain saws. Each carving is sculpted into a glowing statue.

Dress warmly and plan on staying around to view all of these exciting displays during the day. Catch dinner at one of the fine Breckenridge restaurants and then return after dark to catch some breathtaking views as the sculptures are lit with attractive lighting and the artists work into the night.

For more information, contact:
Breckenridge Resort Chamber
P.O. Box 1909
Breckenridge, CO 80424

(800) 789-SNOW / (800) 789-7669
(970) 547-3100

Snow Sculpture Championships

Frozen Dead Guy Days (Nederland)

What: Frozen Dead Guy DaysFrozen Dead Guy Days (Nederland CO)
Where: Nederland
When: 2nd or 3rd weekend in March
Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday

“Grandpa’s Still in the Tuff Shed.” No, we’re not talking about an elderly, eccentric resident of Nederland who refuses to leave his workshop. We’re talking about what most of us would call a deceased Norwegian gentleman named Bredo Morstoel, who passed away in 1989, but is certainly not forgotten. In fact, his grandson, Trygve Bauge, is paying to have dry ice delivered on a regular basis to a Tuff Shed where Grandpa is being cryogenically preserved (according to Trygve, who the INS deported back to Norway after a disagreement about the need for him to have a green card).

At the time of Trygve’s departure, very few people knew Grandpa was on ice in Trygve’s back yard. His mother (Grandpa’s daughter), however, was distressed about her son’s departure, and fretted to a friend, “What am I going to do about the bodies?” Soon, the whole town of Nederland learned that Grandpa and another “cryogenic client” were stored in an old tin shed.

As you can imagine, this news created quite a stir. The family of body number 2 decided to bury their relative in a more traditional manner, but Trygve insisted that Grandpa should remain where he was. A law was passed making it a crime to keep corpses on private property. However, Grandpa was (wait for it…) “Grandfathered in.” A local radio station arranged for a nice, new Tuff Shed for Grandpa, Trygve found a company to continue delivering dry ice to keep Grandpa at a comfy -60º F, and the annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festivities were born!

Frozen Dead Guy Days (Nederland CO)The schedule varies somewhat from year to year, but perhaps there will be a showing of the hilarious feature-length film, “Grandpa’s Still in the Tuff Shed” (small fee) on Friday night. On Saturday and Sunday, enjoy the Snow Sculpting contest, watch the passing coffins and hearses during the Parade down First Street, cheer on your favorite team in the Coffin Races, or shudder at the lunacy of the people participating in the Polar Plunge for Charity.

There are also art and craft displays, children’s activities, a Frozen Dead Van Smash, snowshoe races, and more. Although there is a fee to actually participate in many of the events, nearly all events are free to watch.

Dress warmly and give our best to Grandpa.

For more information, contact:
Nederland Area Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 85
Nederland, CO 80466
(800) 221-0044 or (303) 258-3936