Top cultural festival returns with frozen events, music

Celebrating its 15th year in 2016, Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days, March 11-13, is known as one of the most unique and quirky festivals in the country and continues to be a world-renowned spectacle. The home-grown frosty fest pays homage to Bredo Morstoel, who is frozen in a state of suspended animation and housed in a Tuff Shed on dry ice high above Nederland.

Thousands of adventurous, life enthusiasts come annually to participate in Colorado’s “most frigidly fun festival” and view the events along with local, national and international media and entertainment. The event, which was named a Top 10 Best Cultural Festival for 2016 in the country by readers of USA Today among other accolades, also brings a much needed boost to local businesses during a traditionally slow time of year.

FDGD2015f.Jeffrey.V.SmithNew to the festival this year, The Bacon Bourbon & Brews Tent will feature craft breweries, local distilleries, bacon vendors and live music. It will be open March 12-13 and located on Snyder Street between First and Second streets behind the Brain Freeze Tent. Also new this year, the Reanimate Yourself tent, coffin races and costume polar plunge have been relocated to Guercio Field at the east end of First Street due to impacts to Chipeta Park and its neighbors and “logistical reasons.” Finally, a new $10 per day charge for entry to the three music showcase tents has been implemented in an effort to turn the festival from an expensive party to a self-supporting event.

FDGD2015a.Jeffrey.V.SmithOther than a few tweeks and the addition of a third tent, attendees can expect an event similar to those in the past including favorite events and more than 30 local and national bands.

The annual Parade of Hearses and procession of coffin race teams, sponsors and non-profits, March 12 at noon, begins at the Teen Center and goes up First Street to the west. Spectators can line-up along First Street to view the spectacle and cheer on favorite race teams. Parade participants must check-in and line-up at the Teen Center.

Those craving the “full frozen experience” can “walk the plank of the Blue Pearl on its inaugural voyage” in Guercio Field and jump into the cold water below, March 12 from 1-2 p.m. A warming tent is provided. The entry fee is $20 with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Nederland Food Pantry.

FDGD2014a.Jeffrey.V.SmithCoffin Racing takes place in Guercio Field, March 12 from 2-3:30 p.m. The object of the Coffin Race is to slide, roll, drag or carry a coffin through an obstacle course to the finish. Six pallbearers (team members) carry the coffin with a rider inside through the obstacle course. Finish times will be determined when the last team member has crossed the finish line. The top four teams race in the quarter finals with the top two racing for first and second place. First place takes home $300, second place gets $200 and third place wins $100. A special award is presented for best spirit. The entry fee is $75 per team. Complete rules and registration can be found on the festival website.

FDGD2015b.Jeffrey.V.SmithOther contests include the Brain Freeze Contest, March 12-14 from 3-4 p.m. in front of the Brain Freeze Tent on First Street. The entry fee is $5. Participants go head-to-head downing frozen drinks in a race for fun prizes. The first to finish wins.

Icy Turkey Bowling, March 12-13 from 1-3 p.m., takes place in front of the Brain Freeze Tent on First Street The entry fee is $5. Pins are the target and a frozen fowl the “ball.”

The Pioneer Inn Frozen T-Shirt Contest, March 12 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and March 13 at 1 p.m. is a popular event with cash prizes for men and women. The entry fee is $10. Contestants race to put on frozen T-shirts, using only the ground and their bodies. The solidly frozen and folded T-shirts can prove to be worthy opponents.

FDGD2015c.Jeffrey.V.SmithCreated by Sundance Café owner Hillary Stevenson and modeled after the Seattle Fish Market, the Frozen Salmon Toss, March 13 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Sundance Café awards prizes for the furthest flung fish. Frozen salmon are provided. The entry fee is $5.

A Rocky Mountain  Oyster Eating Contest takes place at the Stage Stop in Rollinsville, March 13 at 3 p.m. Race to eat as many Rocky Mountain oysters as possible. The entry fee is $7.

Snowy Human Foosball, March 13  from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. takes place in Guercio Field. It’s just like foosball, but with real people and in the snow. The entry fee is $30 per team. Proceeds will benefit Torin Perret.

New this year, the free Cosmic Comedy Bus will be parked outside the Bacon, Bourbon & Brews Tent, March 12 from 3-5 p.m. and March 13 from 1-3 p.m. Stop in to enjoy 90 minutes of features and open mic or come chill in the bus anytime.

Free screenings of  Kathy and Robin Beeck’s award-winning “Grandpa’s in  the Tuff Shed” documentary takes place every 30 minutes at the Black Forest Restaurant, March 12-13 from 11 a..m.-4 p.m.

FDGD2015p.Jeffrey.V.SmithKick off each day with the FDGD Pancake Breakfast March 12-13 from 8-11 a.m., at the Nederland Community Center. Enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes plus eggs, sausage, coffee and juice for $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for under 12. The breakfast is sponsored by and proceeds support the Nederland Area Seniors.

As usual, The Blue Ball kicks off the event’s Music Showcase, March 11 from 4 p.m.-midnight in the ReAnimate Yourself Tent in it new location in Guercio Field. The event, which has a $20 entry fee, includes music by Euforquestra, Widow’s Band and Funky Tony Heroes. It also includes the popular Ice Queen and Grnadpa Look-alike contests at 8 p.m. as well as PBR and Upslope beer on tap along with drinks with Finlandia Vodka.

Check out a wide variety of live music from local and nationally touring bands in the three festival tents, March 12 from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and March 13 from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Visit for complete festival information, purchase tickets and advance register for events.


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