Fall Festivals 6
October in Colorado means cooler days and beautiful fall foliage. But this month has a fun, spookier side, with the tricks and treats of Halloween. Take a lantern-lit tour through a cemetery in Glenwood Springs, soak in some horror flicks in Telluride or visit a haunted hotel in Ouray. Here are six spooky activities to get you into the Halloween spirit.
Bizarre Tour of Crime in Boulder
Hear ghost, crime and history stories as the Banjo Billy bus rolls along Boulder’s spookiest haunts. Bus stops include the Hotel Boulderado, Mount St. Gertrude Academy (supposedly haunted by the ghost of Sister Mary Theodore O’Connor) and the University of Colorado’s Macky Auditorium (the site of the 1966 murder of 20-year-old CU student Elaura Jeanne Jaquette, who was raped and beaten to death in Macky’s west tower). Ghost tours run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October.
Coffin Races in Manitou Springs
The legend of Emma Crawford lives again on Oct. 30 during the annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races down Manitou Avenue. Costumed impersonators of Emma, a 19th-century local who was buried in nearby Red Mountain, ride on coffins pulled by teams of “mourners.” Although her coffin washed away years after her burial, she is said to still haunt the mountain town.
Ghosts and Graveyards in Glenwood
Stay at the haunted Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs and try to catch a glimpse of the ghosts. Watch for the murdered chambermaid who appears at night near the Devereux dining room or the ghost of the young girl who died inside the hotel.
For more spooky lore, take a lantern-led tour of Linwood Cemetery, where you’ll hear about Glenwood’s past in graveside tales of John “Doc” Holliday, Kid Curry and other miners and pioneers. Weekend tours begin Oct. 15 through Halloween.
Rocky Horror in Telluride
For three days, horror fans can experience the latest independent horror films in Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House and Nugget Theater. The inaugural Telluride Horror Show, features films, shorts and special programs, as well as gives film-goers a chance to party.
While in town, visit the Telluride Historical Museum, a former miners’ hospital that now is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of patients past.
Ghouls Night Out in Ouray
Wednesdays through Sundays in October, you can take advantage of Ouray’s spooky package for two. Take a haunted tour of Ouray, then enjoy your favorite beverage at the Beaumont Hotel – the alleged home of a murdered young woman’s ghost. After that, you can try to sleep in a comfy room for two at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. The $139 package includes the trip to Ouray.
Spirits in the Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens was once part of the City Cemetery back in the mid-1800s. Take the Ghosts in the Gardens Tour to hear eyewitness reports from past and present gardens staff about decades of paranormal activity. The night will lead you throughout the gardens and to the old Waring House mansion.
The eight-day festival, Nov. 5 – 13, hosts nearly 200 events, many of them free, starting with “Know Your Arts First Friday” on Nov. 5. Dozens of art galleries will be open late in art districts around town, such as Cherry Creek North, the Santa Fe Art District, Tennyson Street Cultural District, RiNo and Belmar Block 7. Get into the scene yourself and take part in the music, art demonstrations, food and drink and even interact with the artists. Look for the special “mile high” $52.80 price tag on the some of the artwork.
“Night at the Museums” is on Saturday, offering an evening in more than a dozen of the city’s top museums. The Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Art Museum and the Molly Brown House Museum will stay open until 10 p.m. so participants can enjoy free programs, music and events. Free shuttle buses will run from one museum to another throughout the night to carry people to all the action.
The Starz Denver Film Festival runs alongside the Denver Arts Week, and features film premieres, seminars with guest actors and directors and hundreds of film screenings with red carpet events. This is part of the Art Week’s “On Stage in Denver,” which also includes special deals and discounts on performances by theater, dance, music and performing arts groups.
A number of additional deals and discounts on the Denver art scene experience and can be found on www.denver.org and www.denver2for1tix.com. For event information, visit www.DenverArtsWeek.com.
If You Go
Night At The Museums Bus Routes
Route 1: Cherry Creek Shopping Center – Denver Art Museum and The CELL – Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Route 2: Cherry Creek Shopping Center – Denver Botanic Gardens – Denver Museum of Nature & Science – Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Route 3: Denver Art Museum and The CELL – Molly Brown House Museum/Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art – Museum of Contemporary Art Denver – Denver Art Museum and The CELL
Route 4: Denver Art Museum and The CELL – Forney Transportation Museum – Black American West Museum – Denver Art Museum and The CELL
Colorado is home to the Great American Beer Festival, one of the largest and most respected festivals of its kind. Think of it as the Academy Awards for the beer industry. For years now beer lovers — also known as cerevisaphiles, beer geeks and beer snobs — from around the globe flock here each fall for the GABF.
The first one was held in 1982 in Boulder, where 22 mostly local breweries participated. Now, GABF hosts around 470 breweries from virtually every corner of the globe. And, the festival has grown so big — an estimated 50,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event — that it is now held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. If you’re a small brewer there’s no better place to show off your beer. If it wins a medal at this prestigious festival expect to brew up a lot more because a cult following will develop quickly.
This year’s GABF runs from Thursday, Sept. 16, through Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010. Over 2,800 beers will be available for tasting. If you can’t find a beer you like here, chances are you don’t like beer at all.
The Thursday and Friday sessions are open to the public and run from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday will have two sessions. The first runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is open only to members of the Brewers Association and the American Homebrewers Association. It’s also the session in which the awards are handed out. The second session is open to the public and runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. This may be the most fun session since the winners (and even the losers) get to let loose and celebrate.
Tickets are $55 per person, per day. The price includes a festival program, commemorative tasting cup and unlimited one-ounce samples of beer. Or be the designated driver for $20 a ticket, and get a festival program, a special gift from the GABF and unlimated sodas in the Designated Drivers Lounge.
If you can’t get a ticket, the Brewing Network plans to podcast every session live from the convention floor. Additionally, TBN will be streaming live video throughout the week, including the awards ceremony on Saturday. So grab a craft beer, tune your web browser to The Brewing Network, and watch it all unfold from the comfy confines of your home. I guarantee the lines will be shorter.
If you’re wondering why Colorado is home to one of the biggest beer fests in the world, it’s because it’s considered the “Napa Valley of the Beer World.” The “Centennial State” became the No. 1 beer producing state in the country by brewing some 23 million barrels of beer in one year, compared to California’s 22 million.
In addition to the behemoth that is the Coors Brewing Co. in Golden and the goliath that is the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Fort Collins, there are more than 100 smaller craft breweries scattered throughout the Rocky Mountains (three of the biggest are New Belgium, Breckenridge and Bristol) brewing up a multitude of beers with virtually everything you can think of.
Americans spent approximately $97 billion purchasing beer in 2007. According to a study done by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the beer industry pumps approximately $12 billion a year into Colorado’s economy. It provides nearly 68,000 jobs and contributes roughly $3 billion in wages and more than $1.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Needless to say, beer plays a vital role in the state’s economic health. So day in and day out, Colorado proves that it indeed is the “Napa Valley of the Beer World.”
If You Go
When not imbibing great Colorado craft brews, Eli Shayotovich is writing about them somewhere on the Interweb. Eli is the Southern Colorado Beer Examiner for Examiner.com, writes “The Beer Bucket List” for MOJO 135, and blogs about beer at Confessions of a Beer Geek (www.ConfessionsofaBeerGeek.com).
From the Editors: We spent a heap of time making sure this story was accurate when it was published, but of course, things can change. Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.
“Yah, yah, yah, yah” robustly sings the lively—but not rowdy—crowd gathered around an oom pah band during Vail’s Oktoberfest. Robust smells of grilled bratwurst and spit-roasted pork blend with lively strains of Bavarian music, while visitors dance to the lively beat on the Vail streets.
Vail is a famous ski destination in the winter, but this scenic Colorado mountain town also boasts one of the best family-oriented Oktoberfests in Colorado. My grandchildren love the children’s play area and the strolling clowns who twist balloons into whimsical shapes.
Vail really roll out the welcome every year during its Oktoberfest. This year the festival is held September 9-11 in Lionshead Mall and September 16-19 in Vail Village. The fun starts on Friday night and continues through Saturday and Sunday.
Activities include bratwurst eating contests, Beck’s adult keg bowling and the fun run of varying lengths for children and adults. All Oktoberfest festivities are free except for the fun run to benefit Children’s Garden of Learning. The run starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept 18 in Vail Village. For more information on activities and to register for the fun run, visit www.vail-oktoberfest.com.
A Culinary Capital
Vail continues to gain recognition as a small but impressive Colorado culinary capital. Whether you dine in town or on top of the mountain, visitors enjoy a delightful mix of culinary attractions from grilled burgers to organic entrees prepared by world-class chefs in both casual and elegant settings. From hip spots to cool classics, Vail also blooms with nighttime activity when the sun goes down.
For German food in Vail, we walked to Pepi’s, which is located in the Gastof Gramshammer hotel in the heart of Vail Village. Owned by Pepi, an Austrian ski racer and his wife Sheika, the restaurant has been part of the local dining scene since 1964. The sun deck is a good spot to watch the local action.
After the Oktoberfest crowds are gone, we sometimes linger another day to stroll through picturesque Vail. My husband and I remember visiting a very different rustic Vail in the 60s when this Colorado town had only one ski lift. Now I like to just sit on a comfortable wooden bench in the golden autumn sunshine and observe the people passing by.
It’s easy to explore the town by foot or by using the free shuttle bus. The shuttle connects Vail Village and Lionshead Mall and also connects East Vail to West Vail, but it’s faster to drive between these two points and park in the big garages.
Near the covered bridge in Vail Village is the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, 231 S Frontage E, which highlights the history of skiing, especially the influential role of the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale during World War II. Located at the top of the Vail Village parking structure, it is the keeper of great skiing heritage and history, including the Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. Exhibits include a timeline about Colorado skiing, Olympic and World Cup memorabilia, the 10th Mountain Division, the Evolution of Snowboarding, and the Spirit of America’s Champions.
Even though it’s already fall during Oktoberfest, the wildflowers still bloom in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, 530 S Frontage Road in Ford Park, and the highest public alpine gardens in North America. We took a guided walking tour and learned more about these magnificent flowers and plants that thrive in Vail’s high altitude climate.
Before leaving Vail, I like to feel the early snow crunch under my shoes when I ride the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain and walk the ski trails. This reminds me that winter is not far away and that soon these resorts will be bustling with skiers. But for now, I savor the quiet beauty of a golden fall day after an exhilarating weekend.
If You Go
For information on Vail’s Oktoberfest and attractions, visit www.vail-oktoberfest.com or www.visitvailvalley.com.
Margaret Malsam is a Colorado freelance writer who has written numerous books.
Set against the rising foothills of the Rockies, Cañon City enjoys a temperate climate, some of the most dramatic scenery in Colorado and numerous tourist attractions that will keep visitors busy. And it’s all 115 miles southwest of Denver.
Dinosaurs walked here, and the proof is in the footprints, replicated for visitors to view at the Dinosaur Depot downtown. In addition to a small but fascinating exhibit of paleontological treasures, you sometimes can watch fossils being worked in a lab. The staff hands out maps so you can explore the place where much of the fossils were found – via an interpretive hiking trail just north of town.
Ancient geological forces created the nearby Royal Gorge. A privately owned park flanks the gorge, so the only way to see it is to pay admission. But while you’re there, take a stroll across the world’s highest suspension bridge, which spans the rims over a 1,000-foot drop. Or check out the very scary Royal Rush Sky Coaster, whereby riders are harnessed up and swung out over the canyon. Yes, it’s as scary as it sounds, but what fun.
Park admission includes a ride to the bottom of the gorge on a vertical tram. If you have a problem with heights, just don’t look down. Admission also includes various shows and other attractions. Mule rides and the Sky Coaster cost extra.
Not far from the Royal Gorge Park is Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway. You might recognize the reconstructed town site from old Western movies, and you might catch the G-rated gunfighter show (corny, but kids seem to love it).
No visit would be complete without a ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. The train, resurrected in the 1990s, takes riders through the gorge, alongside the roaring Arkansas River. You can watch the intrepid whitewater rafters go by, or you can join them. Signs and advertisements for local outfitters are everywhere. It’s more thrilling than the train, but a lot wetter.
If you prefer the drier ride of the train, consider taking the dinner train, a leisurely, elegant meal reminiscent of another era. (For a thrill, do the Murder Mystery Train ride instead.) Or plan to dine at Le Petit Chablis (512 Royal Gorge Blvd., 719-269-3333), arguably the town’s finest upscale restaurant.
If you prefer afternoon or high tea, make a reservation at the new Cañon City Queen Anne Tea House (813 Macon Ave., 719-275-5354). For good Mexican food, stop by the family-owned Ortega’s (2301 E. Main St., 719-275-9437). And for breakfast, locals love the Waffle Wagon (1310 Royal Gorge Blvd., 719-269-3428).
Be sure to visit the Museum of Colorado Prisons, where you can see how the criminal half lived in decades past. It’s next door to the Colorado State Penitentiary.
If you’re in the mood for something more refined, several local museums spotlight the area’s history and artists, while the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey offers award-winning vintages for tasting and for purchase.
Or you can just haul out the old fishin’ pole and drop a line in the Arkansas River.
If you have time, take the drive north from town on County Road 69 to remote Red Canyon for a jaw-dropping bit of scenery. The rugged red sandstone outcroppings may remind you of Red Rocks in Denver or Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
For a weekend getaway, lodging in town ranges from cute bed-and-breakfast inns, such as Jewel of the Canyons, to popular chain motels.
Cañon City celebrates its annual Music & Blossom Festival and the Fremont Art Guild’s annual Spring Craft Fair around the first of May each year. There’s often a Mountain Man Rendezvous over Labor Day weekend. And Buckskin Joe is transformed into a Town of Terror each October.
If You Go
Cañon City Chamber of Commerce
Linda DuVal is a freelance writer who lives in Colorado Springs.