Janet Day: Mary Jane birthday bash has something for everyone | SkyHiNews.com

Janet Day: Mary Jane birthday bash has something for everyone

Birthday Bash. Mary Jane is celebrating another birthday and the old girl still knows how to throw a party. There’s enough going on in town and at the resort from Friday through Monday to keep everyone happy: Fireworks, a parade, bump clinics, ski races, snowshoe tours, a dinner/dance, ice-sculpting contest and an MJ look-alike contest. Web sites for the Winter Park-Fraser Chamber of Commerce and Winter Park Resort have all the details.

New this year is the Mary Jane on Parade contest. It’s modeled after the successful Cows on Parade that debuted in Chicago in 1999 and has since been copied around the country. The Chicago event gave hundreds of artists full-sized cow sculptures to decorate as they saw fit.

The cows were displayed around the city, reproduced on a smaller scale as gift items and launched many imitators, including the painted horses now found in just about every airport gift shop, Denver’s buffalos along the 16th Street Mall a few years ago and countless other paint-the-animals events. Since most of our animals are hibernating or at least hiding right now, chamber officials decided to let us decorate a person ” Mary Jane. Life-sized cardboard cutouts have already started appearing in businesses around town. MJ, as envisioned by the chamber, is taller than me, has long wavy hair, a long dress and a teasing hands-on-hips stance. She’ll get painted, glued and otherwise decorated and displayed at local businesses for the community to select the best.

Be sure to check out (and of course vote for) my Mary Jane, who will be hanging around the Balcony House at Winter Park Resort this weekend. I’m putting the final touches on her today, then she’ll probably spend some time at other resort locations before settling down in the Balcony House. Many of you may recognize friends, or yourselves, in her. Let me know if you’re able to identify anyone.

Kick the weekend off right by going to the 25th Annual Chef’s Cup dinner/dance at West Portal Station at the resort on Friday night (The 25th event on the 25th of January). The Chef’s Cup, a benefit for Winter Park Competition Center’s youth ski and snowboard programs, brings together chefs from 20 Grand County restaurants to prepare their specialty dishes for about 400 guests who vote for the best. Live music, dancing and a silent auction also are part of the fun. For details or tickets, call the Comp Center at (970) 726.1590.

The Water Stops Falling. I’m so disappointed to learn that the new spa at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, scheduled to open this month, will not include a waterfall Jacuzzi like the one at the current spa. I love that hot tub; it’s really something special when it’s snowing. The falling hot water is a great therapy for an achy neck and shoulders awaiting a massage. Other than that, what I hear makes the new spa sound spectacular. I just wish the ranch’s Web site was kept more current so guests past, present and future can get a better idea of what’s going on and when the new facility openings are expected.

One thing I hope doesn’t change out at Devil’s Thumb is the Nordic Center, their great trails and the patient instructors who suffered through a friend and me learning to skate ski this past weekend. As a snowboarder and decades-long runner, every inch of my body resists any stance that requires being flat-footed. It took me a while to be comfortable not on the balls of my feet. I now understand why my skate-skiing friends are so thin and fit. It’s quite a workout.

Facts and Figures. I’ve always scoffed at newspaper columnists who fill up a lot of space with lists. It’s lazy. Having said that, there’s a treasure trove of interesting stats in the monthly Mile High Market Watch. So, lazy or not, here goes:

– Colorado added almost 100,000 people in 2007, a 2 percent population increase, making us the nation’s eighth-fasted growing state. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

– The state has the country’s fifth highest income (obviously not in a service-based resort community) but ranks 36th for the percentage given to charity.

– Colorado’s public school enrollment passed 800,000 for the first time last year. This, too, is not a good thing in my mind, knowing that a friend’s daughter has to spend her own money buying books and supplies for her science class students in the wealthy Cherry Creek school system. If Cherry Creek is that bad, what must other districts be like?

– The National Ski Club Newsletter reports that 40 percent of ski club trips go to Colorado resorts. All other U.S. snow sports destinations combined total 32 percent with the balance split between Canada and Europe.

– As anyone who’s tried to fly out of here can sense, Denver International Airport is now the nation’s fourth busiest with more than 42 million passengers going through its gates in the first 10 months of last year.

– Colorado ranks fifth among states for restaurant growth and eating-out spending. I think all that growth was crowded into Deno’s Saturday night.

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.

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