Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival: Nederland, Colorado, U.S.A.
Party with Frozen Grandpa Bredo
Yes. There really is a dead guy on ice in a shed in Nederland, Colorado! And, Grandpa Bredo is the perfect excuse for the annual Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival packed with partying and fun events. Birthed as a mining town, some now claim Nederland to be one of the remaining bastions of hippydom, so a festival of this nature isn’t out of character.
The winters in Nederland (a community of approx. 1,400, located 17 miles [27km] west of Boulder, CO) are long, and cabin fever is severe. But, as the daylight hours increase, spring is about to arrive, and locals prep for the craziness accompanying ski season’s end, everyone is ripe for the Frozen Dead Guy events.
Grandpa Bredo died in Norway, was packed in ice, and shipped to a cryonics facility in California, where he resided in liquid nitrogen for 3 years. He was then transported to Nederland, where his daughter, Aud, and grandson Trygve, were planning to build their own cryonics facility. Grandpa was kept on ice in a shed awaiting a cure for death, but Trygve was deported for visa expiration and Aud was forced to move from her house because there was no plumbing or electricity. After much bickering and publicity, Bredo was “grandfathered” into a town ordinance forbidding the keeping of dead bodies and body parts. Trygve secured the services of a local environmental company, which packs 1,600 pounds (726kg) of ice around Grandpa every month. And a new festival was born.
The 21⁄2-day festival, held the first weekend in March, includes lots of wacky events. The Ice Blue Ball on Friday evening includes a Grandpa Bredo look-alike contest followed by a midnight champagne tour that includes spending an hour with the Frozen Dead Guy.
Saturday features a slow parade, an obstacle course, coffin race (six pallbearers carrying a coffin with a rider, all in costume), the adrenaline-filled Polar Plunge, a frozen dough ball toss, a pack your pants with snow contest, a frozen T-shirt contest, and a late night Pub Crawl. Sunday’s events include the Sundance Salmon Toss, a Beach Volleyball Contest, and a Blue Ball (Rocky Mountain oysters) Eating Contest. Entry forms for these events can be obtained through the Nederland Chamber of Commerce.
Nederland is easy to reach by car and local bus service from Boulder. During early March there is still skiing at nearby Eldora Ski Resort and several major ski resorts, including Vail, Copper, Keystone, and Winter Park, all within a 2-hour drive. Central City, an old mining-turned-gambling town a dozen miles (19km) away, is home of the famous Face on the Barroom Floor. A visit to the old cemetery at the far end of town is interesting and worthwhile. And Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, is a great place to spend a day or two.
Nederland Chamber ( 303/258-3936; www.nederlandchamber.org). Visitor Guide to Boulder (www.normankoren.com/Boulder.html).
When to Go: First weekend in Mar.
Denver International Airport (59 miles/95km).
$–$$ Mountain View Chalet Cabin Rental ( 303/258-9219; www.mtnviewchalet.com). $ Best Western Lodge At Nederland, 55 Lakeview Dr. ( 800/279-9463 or 303/258-9463; www.bestwesterncolorado.com/hotels/best-western-lodge-at-nederland).