Jetset destinations for your New Year’s daydreaming pleasure |

Jetset destinations for your New Year’s daydreaming pleasure

Sometimes I imagine having my own jet, able to fly off to any location on a whim. Then my mind spirals back to reality and I remember I couldn’t afford the gas even if I had a plane.

Or the staff to pilot it.

If I did own a jet, I would certainly be busy in 2015. There are so many cool events going on across the country that I can’t even keep up with them. Even if I had the means. If I could be a coastal jet setter, I would start the year off by jumping into cold water.

I would take the plunge.

More specifically, the Polar Plunge. Jumping into ridiculously cold water isn’t always ideal in January, but it can wake up the body, and soul, after a hectic holiday season of fighting over flat-screen TVs and “Frozen” dolls. One of the most famous of these annual endeavors is the Coney Island Polar Club’s plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve seen it on TV, but something tells me this experience is best had first-hand, just to see how cold the waters off New York can be on New Year’s Day.

Maybe next year.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is on my bucket list, but what I would really love to see is a favorite Bayou event for many musicians and artists from the valley. I know Bob and Mary Noone, of Glenwood, enjoy attending New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, as well as The Starlets’ Shanti Gruber. They’ve been known to head south at the end of April to witness a wide range of eclectic sounds live, from jazz to rock. The Noones often recruited musicians for Glenwood’s popular Summer of Jazz series, now called Summer of Music. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Noones hosted a slew of jazz musicians from New Orleans, many displaced and rebuilding from the devastation. That was a summer most in Glenwood won’t forget.

Two words: Trombone Shorty.

Last year’s New Orleans Jazz Fest closed with Trombone Shorty, a hometown kid who made it big and is often remembered in Glenwood for playing one of the most festive performances the Two Rivers Park bandshell has ever hosted. The 2014 Jazz Fest also headlined Widespread Panic, Bruce Springsteen and John Fogerty, so it’s one of those musical events that transcends the limits of a single-genre show.

I can’t wait to hear who plays the fest this year.

In July, the daddy of all comic-themed conferences comes to San Diego. Like Jazz Fest, it is epic in proportion and has been called the world’s largest of its type. For four photo-worthy days, Comic-Con International, or just Comic-Con, brings fans of comic books, science fiction, fantasy and pop culture together, all under one big roof.

Just think of all the fantastic photo bombs.

Many fans of the various film, book, gaming, and collectible genres come to Comic-Con dressed as their heroes — super and otherwise — so attending this colorful event is a dream for an imagination freak like myself. I like to go through life believing anything is possible, and Comic-Con is along those lines of near-endless potential.

Search Comic-Con under Google Images and see what I mean.

I think my favorite of the results is the dude dressed as Wonder Woman. He’s a little hairier than the Diana Prince I know, but who’s to judge?

Certainly not me.

By fall, I would have hope to saved up enough jet gas money to attend the nation’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, called Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Glenwood Springs and Carbondale throw some pretty mean Oktoberfest parties, but this one takes the streusel cake, according to Internet buzz. The event’s website estimates about a half a million people gather in the home of sweet Cincinnati-style chili to celebrate fall’s world-famous party that came to world-fame in Munich. The late-September bash features six city blocks of beer, brats, polka and chicken dancing.

I imagine there’s lederhosen as far as the eye can see.

Anyone in the Roaring Fork Valley knows there’s always a reason to stay close to home though, all year ‘round. Many of my best times have been spent at Skier Appreciation Day at Sunlight Mountain Resort. It’s nearly impossible to beat a $20 lift ticket for skiing in the Rocky Mountains. And it never gets old seeing other people — note the use of “other” here — ski and snowboard in their bathing suits.

Cold, but clever.

Carbondale Mountain Fair is always worth the wait for the last weekend in July. Just the thought of this magical weekend in the mountains makes me smile like I’m at Oktoberfest. In my travels, that have not included my own private jet, I’ve rarely come across a community festival that kicks off with a huge drum circle featuring percussion instruments of all shapes and sizes.

Or ends at night with fire dancing.

Mountain Fair is no ordinary community festival. And for that, I am thankful to the universe knowing such peace and love exists in the world. At least for one weekend. Mountain Fair has the kind of vibe I can hardly describe. Mountain Fair must be experienced. I hope to keep re-checking it off my list of to-dos that make me feel as alive as jumping in the Atlantic in January.

Or skiing in a bikini.

April E. Clark wishes everyone a happy and healthy New Year. She can be reached at

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