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Winter Park: Mary Jane’s birthday a chance for everyone to celebrate

by Cyndi PalmerSky-Hi Daily News
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The next few days and nights are jam-packed with fun-filled events for the entire family at Winter Park Ski Area and within the town of Winter Park.Local chefs will come out from their kitchens to compete in the 25th Annual Chef’s Cup Race and Benefit Dinner Dance at Winter Park Resort’s West Portal Station Friday, Jan. 25. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. at the resort’s West Portal Station as almost two-dozen chefs put on a spread of specialties for around 400 guests. This favorite event allows locals and visitors alike to sample the culinary creations of restaurants from the Fraser Valley area and vote for their favorites – best appetizer, best entree and best presentation.Those participating in the culinary contest include Deno’s Mountain Bistro, Devil’s Thumb’s Ranch House Restaurant, Doc’s Roadhouse, Five Mountain Tavern & Club Car, Hernando’s Pizza, Middle Park High School’s Pro Start students, Moffat Station / Derailer Bar, Showboat Catering, Untamed Southwest Grill and Wild Creek Brewing Co.Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 7 p.m. followed by dinner. The evening’s festivities round out with dancing and live music from the Sheryl Renee Band (sponsored by Margaritaville) until 11 p.m. Guests enjoy the evening’s events along with complimentary beer, wine and unlimited sampling, provided by Beringer Winery and Mary Jane Ale/Coors.A silent auction will be held throughout the cocktail and dinner hours. Items up for bid in the silent auction include a Food Network Challenge VIP backstage tour for four, UPS flight simulator and instructor for a party of four, two tickets to Tab Benoit’s Fat Tuesday show with the Grand County Blues Society in Winter Park, DU hockey tickets, a Beringer Winery Tour, sporting goods, hotel and golf packages, personal chef services and artwork by local Karen Vance.Proceeds from the Chef’s Cup Benefit Dinner Dance will be used to support the Winter Park Competition Center and its youth ski and snowboard programs. Advance purchase tickets are available at the Competition Center office, at the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce, or through central reservations at the ski area. For more information and tickets, call the Winter Park Competition Center at (970) 726-1590.Mary Jane’s Birthday Bash celebration continues as visitors and residents are invited to enjoy events throughout the weekend. Like the mountain named in her honor feisty Mary Jane was not to be taken lightly in her day, and as columnist Janet Day wrote, The old girl still knows how to throw a party.Bash festivities on Saturday include a pancake breakfast 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Mary Jane, snow sculpture contest 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Winter Park Resort (vote for your favorite at the Balcony House Guest Services desk), free bump tips from Winter Park Resort’s Ski and Ride School 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., guided snowshoe tours from the Winter Park Visitor Center 2 to 3:30 p.m., live music by local band Hunker Down 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Mary Jane, Mary Jane Look-Alike contest at Mary Jane’s base at 3 p.m., aprs ski at the Club Car restaurant at Mary Jane 3 to 6 p.m. with Mary Jane Ale specials and birthday cake, Destination Downtown event featuring the new SnowZone in Hideaway Park 4 to 7 p.m. with a sledding hill, human bowling, pick-up broomball games and a beginner snow-skate park; music in Hideaway Park with free hot chocolate and birthday cake 5 to 7 p.m., lighted parade floats and goodies starting at 6 p.m. on Main Street, and a fireworks display to immediately follow.During the Mary Jane on Parade contest, which makes its debut this winter and is modeled after Chicago’s Cows on Parade in 1999, local businesses are given life-sized cardboard cutouts of Mary Jane to decorate and display at their businesses around the towns of Winter Park, Fraser and at the ski area. Guests are also encouraged to vote for their favorite among the participants: Club Car at Mary Jane, Winter Park Resort Balcony House, Beaver Village Resort, Winter Park Visitor Center, Trail Ridge Art, Kut Above, Cascades Cabin, Smokin’ Moe’s, Plant Orphanage, Christy Sports, Moose Hollow, B’ Jammin’, Be …, Mountain Grind, Grand Sports, Rudi’s Deli, Winter Park Organic Market, Millenium Bank, Ski Broker in Fraser, and Destinations West/Fraser Visitor Center. Ballots are due back at the Winter Park Visitor’s Center by noon Sunday.Sunday’s events start out with bloody Mary specials at the Club Car restaurant at Mary Jane 7:30 to 9 a.m., more free bump tips from Winter Park Resort’s Ski and Ride School 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (meet at the top of the Super Gauge Express every hour on the hour), guided snowshoe tours from the Winter Park Visitor Center 2 to 3:30 p.m. and aprs ski at Mary Jane’s Club Car restaurant 3 to 6 p.m.Mary Jane’s Birthday Bash also features a geocache high-tech scavenger hunt for GPS enthusiasts Saturday and Sunday, with participants to register at the Winter Park Visitor Center; as well as free demos (limited) and retail and rental specials at the Mary Jane Shop 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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