Brooke Burnham
Director of Public Relations, Communications & Social Media
Visit Estes Park, the Destination Marketing Organization


December 28, 2012

Estes Park Winter Festival Adds New Events, Entertainment

ESTES PARK - The Estes Park Winter Festival, one of the fastest growing festivals in the state, has become known for live music, family winter activities, delicious food, Colorado craft beer and wine, --all hosted in the beautiful backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains. In 2013, the 4th annual event, planners have added a macaroni ‘n cheese cook-off, a toboggan run and a huge "live" interactive snow globe. The event, held over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend - January 18 through the 21, will also feature the chili cook-off, local wine and beer tastings and live music, featuring Coyote Grace in the indoor heated pavilion. Activities for all ages include a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting and balloon artists. Most events are held on the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park off of Highway 34 in Estes Park.
The festival kicks off on Friday night, January 18, with a traditional Celtic barn dance, or Ceilidh, with live music, a professional dance caller, Irish dancers and more. Friday's dance offers free admission, complimentary s'mores and hot cocoa, as well as a cash bar.
Saturday and Sunday feature the main festival events, including the chili and mac ‘n cheese cook-off competitions, complete with all you can taste. Patrons will judge "Best of the Fest." For an additional fee, adults can enjoy unlimited craft beer and Colorado wine tastings from their commemorative glass. Live music will be provided both days by Coyote Grace and area musicians, while artisans will be displaying and selling their crafts, jewelry, art and more.
Outdoors, festival attendees can enjoy pony rides, the petting zoo's resident camel, and ‘Snowzilla' toboggan rides. Guest can also climb inside the giant snow globe and commemorate the moment with a free picture. Winter Trails Day takes place on Saturday, January 19 in Rocky Mountain National Park and, as part of the festival, offers free snowshoeing for beginners and experts alike (Park entrance fees apply).

On Monday, the festivities continue downtown in the Estes Park village where a block party will take place with many family activities. Pony rides, the petting zoo, face painting, balloon artists, and a roasted nut cart move to downtown, across from Bond Park. Families can browse the shops, enjoy local dining and free ice skating, sponsored by the Estes Park Winter Festival, at the Estes Park Ice Rink. Monday is also a ‘fee free' day in Rocky Mountain National Park where guests can snowshoe, cross-country ski, take scenic drives and enjoy sledding in Hidden Valley.
Many of the local lodging, shopping and dining establishments are offering specials, packages and savings during the Winter Festival weekend. A scavenger hunt is also conducted throughout town, Friday through Monday. Guests can pick up the list of clues and locations at the Estes Park Visitor Center or at the festival entrance. Hunters complete all of the clues on the list, getting stamps at each location. Each completed sheet will be entered in for a drawing to win one of three "free weekend in Estes" prize packages.
Admission to the main festival is $5 for children age four to nine, $10 for ages 10 and up. Children under four are free. Admission including unlimited wine and beer tasting is $40, ages 21 and older only. Pony rides are $5 and all other activities and the food tastings are included in Estes Park Winter Festival admission. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the festival entrance. A free shuttle will be operating from the Fairgrounds to the Estes Park Visitor Center and the downtown village.
Additional information and lodging specials can be found online at