Snowmass celebrates 25 years of Fat Tuesday revelry
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Wintery Colorado may seem like an unusual location for a Mardi Gras celebration, but the resort town of Snowmass Village hosts one of the oldest Mardi Gras festivals in the Rocky Mountains.New Orleans natives have made a pilgrimage to Snowmass’ slopes for Mardi Gras since 1980, bringing a hefty dose of purple, green and gold spirit with them. Snowmass locals quickly caught on and created an official event that celebrates 25 years of Fat Tuesday revelry on Feb. 20.
“We plan to make this quarter-century anniversary one of the best parties of the season for the whole family,” said Susan Hamley, marketing director for the Town of Snowmass Village. “From mask-making for kids to crawdad boils, king cakes and late-night revelry, Snowmass offers the ultimate Mardi Gras mountain destination.”This dawn-until-wee-hours authentic fête draws more than 3,000 visitors annually and includes traditional Mardi Gras elements such as a madcap costumed parade, king cake giveaway, bead throws, crawdad boils, Hurricane drink specials, and celebrations late into the night.
Snowmass kicks off the celebration early this year with the first of the season’s Bud Light Big Air Friday competitions today. Regional athletes huck their best moves off a 40-foot jump followed by music, prizes, and fireworks. On Sunday, the Snowmass Poker Run takes over the mountain with participants seeking out the best poker hand as they ski all over competing for a $1,000 cash prize. That evening, a free Bud Light Hi-Fi concert takes place at 7 p.m. on the Snowmass Village Mall with The Samples, while during the weekend and President’s Day Lift Ops vie for bragging rights in the Crazy Hat Contest.Fat Tuesday starts at dawn on Feb. 20 with the Mother of All Ascensions, a costumed uphill snowshoe race that regularly draws more than 250 competitors and also celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. The race begins at 8,500 feet in altitude and traverses up an additional 1,741 feet for $15,000 in prizes. Starting around the noon hour, local restaurants such as Zane, The Cirque, and Big Hoss Grille offer Cajun food, hurricane drink specials, and crawdad boils.
The afternoon is filled with festivities including the Kids’ Carnival with mask making, face painting and stilt walkers, the coronation of a local king and queen and a bead throw with nearly 29,000 necklaces thrown into the crowd. The annual parade is filled with floats, bagpipers, a marching band, dancers, cheerleaders, stilt walkers, clowns, costumed revelers and more. Cash prizes will be awarded for best costume, best float, and best use of this year’s theme “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler.”After the parade, the party moves indoors to local hot spots such as Zane’s Tavern, Mountain Dragon, Big Hoss Grille, and the Cirque, which are celebrating with live music, Mardi Gras giveaways, and Fat Tuesday food and drink specials.
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Grand Valley hosted a triangular Saturday, taking down Glenwood Springs and Paonia in team scores.