By Bill Basore
Every so often you stumble upon an event so bizarre and strangely compelling, you just have to make a road trip out of it. So it is with the annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival in Nederland, Colorado, population 1,500, a former mining town in the mountains west of Boulder.
If frozen turkey bowling, coffin races, and drinking to the eternal health of a Norwegian grandpa who's been in cryogenic suspension for more than 20 years sounds like your cup of tea, you'll want to be in Nederland the first weekend in March.
And you won't be alone. Last year's festival attracted 15,000 celebrants. The New York Times named the event to its "Top 10 Best Parties of the Winter" list last year, alongside New Or-leans Mardi Gras and Rio's Carnival.
Activities include a polar bear plunge, the frozen salmon toss, frozen turkey bowling, a frozen t-shirt contest, a brain-freeze competition, the Parade of Hearses, the Seventies-themed Fever Blue Ball (with a Stayin' Alive Grandpa costume contest)--even kids activities such as science experiments with liquid nitrogen!
Food is abundant at Frozen Dead Guy Days--including all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts--as is music. Known for its music scene, Nederland's biggest party of the year includes live performances all weekend at restaurants and pubs around town.
When you're ready to thaw out, lodging in the Nederland area ranges from cabin rentals to historic B&Bs like the Goldminer Hotel. Closer to Boulder, you'll find more choices.
Residing in a Tuff Shed on private property in town, the man behind this celebration of all things frozen is tended to year round by Bo Shaffer, also known as the Ice Man.
Every month, Shaffer and a team of volunteers pack 1,600 pounds of dry ice around Bredo Morstoel in his sarcophagus--where he patiently awaits the day science can reanimate him and cure him of the heart disease that killed him in 1989.
Frozen Dead Guy loyalists traipse out to the Tuff Shed every March to have a drink with Grandpa Bredo. If you prefer your adult beverages surrounded by the living, you'll want to check out the microbrews from Avery and Left Hand brewing companies in the ReAnimate Yourself Beer Tent.