Grand Lake: Carnival offers full day of family fun
February 1, 2008
This years Grand Lake Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras Dance theme is The Age of Aquarius, with activities for the entire family to fill an entire Saturday. The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with tea pot curling. Eight teams will compete on the town rink aiming cement-filled teapots toward a bulls eye target and their opponents markers. A bonfire and hot chocolate to keep players and spectators warm. Apparently, last years winning team with Town Manager Shane Hale will be unable to defend their title due to a scheduling conflict. So, first place is up for grabs.Meanwhile, kids are encouraged to enter the Kids Snowman Contest which takes place all day Saturday with judging at 2 p.m. (snowmen must be complete by 1:30 p.m.). Entry is free and all participants get an ice cream cone.Colorful and creative snow sculptures will also be popping up around town throughout the day. Audiences are encouraged to vote for their favorite. Businesses and individuals to watch for, who usually showcase some incredible artistic talent, include Manes to Tame, Circle D grocery store, Pancho & Leftys, and last years champions at the Grand Lake Brewing Company.Volunteers from the Grand Lake Historical Society will also be guiding free tours through the Historical Kauffman House Museum, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. down by the lake shore. Built in 1892, the museum was operated as a hotel until 1946 by the Kauffman family. A gallery was added in 1990 to house additional exhibits. Exhibits highlight area history and feature items to include books, quilts, skis and winter sports equipment, clothing, furniture, stereopticon photos, iron kitchenalia, kerosene lamps, postcards, paintings, photographs, scrapbooks put together by the Grand Lake Womens Club, Junior Club scrapbooks, dolls, and some very interesting history on schools in the Grand Lake area.The Carnivals famous parade begins at 12:30 p.m. and leads east down Grand Avenue and in front of the town square. Always a crowd favorite, parade watchers will get to see the curling teams, as well as a sneak peek at the upcoming competing teams for the exciting bed sled races, Mardi Gras Grand Lake Style celebration and dance candidates for king and queen, best 1960s-style dressed dogs, and much more all dressed for the occasion.Following the parade, parents and children are encouraged to join in a free parent/child sled pull in front of the town park. Then, at about 1:15 p.m., Bed Sled Race teams gear up for the popular annual competition, including 2007 champs from Sagebrush BBQ Grill. Teams of three-to-four people push their modified bed holding one rider against each other across the finish line. Not only is it a great spectator sport, but the costumes and decorated beds are a sight to see. Age group is 18-plus and teams may enter for a $25 entry fee.Once the bed sleds have been put to rest (about 2:15 p.m.) the Human Bowling event begins on the south end of Pitkin Street with divisions for adults and kids alike. The game consists of two lanes and one rider who is pushed on a saucer sled by two bowlers into 10 empty water jug pins. Entry is $10 and winners receive cash prizes.Later on in the day guests are invited down to the town beach around 3 p.m. to enjoy a bonfire and free Tug-o-War through a snow bank. Activities also include gunny sack races on the lake, free for adults and kids; judging of the snow sculptures, and fireworks on the lake will signify the end of the Winter Carnival and the beginning of the Mardi Gras celebration.From 8 p.m. to midnight Pancho and Leftys Mexican restaurant at the east end of town is hosting a Mardi Gras Dance for those 21 and older. The evenings event features live music from band Mogambus, crowning of the king and queen, $100 prize for guests with the best costume, announcement of the days winners, as well as appetizers at 10 p.m. and drink specials. Entry is $10 and beads and masks are available for purchase.So far, king and queen candidates include Liza and Jason Allen on behalf of The Lariat Saloon, Donna Gore and Rick Howard for Grand Mountain Bank, Schelly and Jeff Olson for the Rustic Urn, Laura and Don Summers for the Waconda, and heartwarming schitzu canine couple Cloe and Cowboy, sponsored by ReMax of Grand Lake. For $1 per vote, collected at the various sponsor locations, participants may support who they think should be crowned Grand Lake Winter Carnival royalty for the year. Winners receive two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the United States. To participate in any of the events, call Suzi Maki at (970) 531-1914. For more information on the Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras Dance, call the Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at (970) 627-3402.