estes park winter festival Fun For All At The Estes Park Winter Festival in Denver


Estes Park Winter Festival

January 13-15, 2012
Prices vary by event
Full schedule of events

This January, the third annual Estes Park Winter Festival will come to town, and Denverites and mountain locals will rejoice. Offering a variety of family friendly wintertime activities during this festival, come to Estes Park if you are looking for something different other than skiing and snowboarding from a mountain escape. The Estes Park Winter Festival is the perfect example of winter fun in Colorado, and has a little something for everyone.

“A focus of the Festival from the first year, was for there to be activities for families to enjoy all at the same time.  The festival is fully enclosed, so kids can roam without parents worrying,” Elizabeth Fogarty, project manager for the Winter Festival, said.

“Parents can walk around inside the heated pavilion building and sip on beer or wine, enjoy live music and peruse the merchant booths while their children enjoy the activities inside and outside the pavilion,” Fogarty added.

Local businesses look forward to this time for extra exposure from tourists, both local and out-of-state. As Fogarty explains, “there is so much going on in Estes over the Winter Festival weekend, you will likely leave not being able to enjoy it all.  Besides the Winter Festival, there are restaurant specials, lodging discounts and retail deals all over town; including the annual Town Scavenger Hunt.”

Local hotels are offering great deals, so head up and check out the festivities for the entire weekend. Check out the ice sculptures and the ice slide, or learn how to snowshoe. Don’t forget to sign up for the town-wide scavenger hunt and have some fun competing to win lodging or other prizes from local merchants.

Related: Top inns in Colorado’s mountain towns

Estes Park Winter Festival Céilidh Barn Dance
Fairgrounds at Stanley Park
Estes Park, Colorado
Date: Jan. 14th
Time:  7p.m. – 12 a.m.
Price: Free
Huddle around a bonfire and enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores beneath the stars in Estes Park. Cowboy poetry and ghost stories will provide the spooky entertainment for your little ones. You can also warm up in the pavillion with a barn dance. Adult beverage will be served for an additional fee.

estes park snow 2 Fun For All At The Estes Park Winter Festival in Denver

(credit: Marsha Hobert)

Interactive Ice Castle
Fairgrounds at Stanley Park
Estes Park, Colorado
Dates: Jan 14th and 15th
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: Free; included with admission
Enter an enchanting winter wonderland with an ice Candy Land castle and ice sculptures. Highlights include a snow-cone luge, maze and ice carving. The kids will be all smiles as they slip and slide their way through this icy adventure.

Chili cook-off in Stanley Park
Fairgrounds at Stanley Park
Estes Park, Colorado
Date: Jan 14th and 15th
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: Free; included with admission cost
Keep warm by sampling some spicy chili. The two-day chilli cook off will feature local restaurants and aspiring chilli chefs. For an addition cost, the kids can enjoy pony rides at this event.

Live music featuring Coyote Grace
Fairgrounds at Stanley Park
Estes Park, Colorado
Date: Jan 14th and 15th
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: Free; included with admission cost
Take a break from the outdoor festivities and stay toasty in the heated pavilion. Enjoy a day of live music featuring local Colorado bands and Coyote Grace

The festival is also a great location for a romantic get-a-away. Head up to Este Park and take your partner line dancing at the barn dance. Sit back and listen to local bands while tasting a variety of local beer and wine. There will also be stargazing, carriage rides, spa deals and tons of shopping.

Related: Estes Park named top 25 destination in the US

The events are either low-cost or free, making this the perfect weekend trip to relax and have some post-holiday-stress fun. You can also head up to Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoy the amazing views and scenic splendor that only Colorado in the winter can offer.

Even if you can only make it up for one day of the festival, Estes Park is close enough to Denver that this could easily be a great day trip. Check out the full list of activities and start making your plans to enjoy the Estes Park Winter Festival.

Related: Top winter events and festivals in Colorado.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at


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