Historic Douglas County, Inc.
January, 2015… Welcome to the New Year and the first full month of winter in magnificent Douglas County. For those of you who received new Volkls, Elans or Rossignols under the tree this past Christmas, you’ll probably be hitting the slopes early in this New Year. For all of those of us non-skiing types, there is plenty to do in January in both Douglas County and “up above,” so to speak, in the various winter wonderlands of Colorado.
The year past, 2014, in many ways was both a history event-filled year and a history-making year with numerous changes across the County, State, our Good Ole U. S. A. and the World. Don’t worry, I shall not attempt to recap all of them or rant about world changes in this brief message, but I will touch on the area where Historic Douglas County, Inc. (HDC) saw noteworthy growth in the type of event that draws significant numbers of the public …festivals! No, festivals did not pop out of the blue onto our radar screen in 2014; the number of them in the County and state have been growing over the last two or three years. However, in 2014, the number of festivals really expanded and the focus of the festivals broadened dramatically. What had generally been a festival focused on a singular subject such as agriculture, crafts, arts or historic venue touring got thrown into a blender in 2014. Festivals became multi-functional, mixing what-had-been-single-focused subjects …crafts, history and site viewing, offering “…just about everything for anyone!” Not only did festivals become multi-functional in 2014 but the numbers of festivals seemed to double! Seemingly, everyone did a festival! There weren’t many late spring, summer and early fall weekends that were not filled with one festival or another in the County. And, the attendance of these events …in the multi-thousands! What will 2015 bring to top that! Well, time will tell. But, for now, let’s take a look at January, 2015…
Let’s start with winter in Colorado. I earlier conjectured that those with new skis would likely be “hitting the slopes” in early January. Well, if Santa Claus didn’t so equip you …or, if you are not inclined to attempt harrowing battles with downhill snow, you likely may want to go to the High Country anyway.Lot’s of great fun in Colorado’s ski areas. Remember, my comments about the explosions of festivals in the spring, summer and fall? Well, festivals have found their way through the December 21 gate of the Winters Solstice! During January 11 through 17, Breckenridge hosts a unique Norsk event, Ullympic Competition …featuring all ilk of such contests that never, ever graced the Grecian Parthenon …frying pan throwing …doing what with goldfish? …plus, great food and lots of entertainment and adult beverages. Aspen bumps into the Ullympics with its own festive celebration, Wintersköl Festival (January 8 through 11). Now if you would like to stay a wee bit closer to the Front Range and only go up to the first tier of the slopes, there’s the Estes Park Winter Festival (January 16 through 19) and the Winter Park Winter Festival (January 24 and 25). All great mountainous venues and events where you would get a chance to dip your toe in the snow, so to speak, or just kickback by the fire and sip on some hot chocolate while chewing on a piece of lefse!
Meanwhile, here on the Front Range, January is always a bit slower than other months for history events; I guess that’s because we’re attempting to recover from the Christmas – New Year’s holiday season and trying to teach our brain that “2015” now belongs on the checks we write! However, there are a number of happenings with which you can whet your history taste buds. Castle Rock Historical Society starts the history events on the second Thursday of the month at the Phillip S. Miller Library with a couple of “purported” historic happenings of the past, UFOs Over Castle Rock and The Monster of Plum Creek …both subjects maybe a bit more hysteric than iron-clad-solid history! Speaking of iron-clad history, Parker Area Historical Society follows with such the week after the appearance of Castle Rock’s UFO program with Rosie the Riviter. Speaker Gail Beaton really brings WWII’s Rosie to life. Roxborough Area Historical Society delves into the archaeological digs of Lamb Spring with Author, Archaeologist Jack Warner from whom you can glean all sorts of fascinating information about ancient man and extinct mammoths, camels, the American horse, ground sloths and ancient bison that have been found at the site in northwest Douglas. Comparing historical subjects, Lamb Spring is Douglas County’s early history while Castle Rock UFOs should be considered the future focus of what we might expect. But, don’t hold your breath!
Cherokee Ranch & Castle’s January is filled with tours of the Castle and their magnificent teas. Two specialty teas, the Downtown Abbey Afternoon Tea and Afternoon Tea at the Castle not only take you back in time but give you a bit of a feel of how proper teas were conducted in early twentieth century England. Oh by the way, if you are just now considering the Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea, it sold out. There are other teas that Castle offers …check their schedule on their events calendar at Cherokee Ranch & Castle Calendar. And, if you didn’t know, each of the Castle’s teas includes a tour of the unforgettable Castle. A tea at the Castle really does take you back in time.
I talked earlier about January being the month of recovery from the holiday season and the start of the New Year. The ball of history events for 2015 really just starts rolling in January. Down south of the border, Douglas County’s border that is, the Palmer Lake Historical Society is hosting their annual Potluck Dinner and Membership Drive (January 15) …always a fun, FREE get together. A number of January historical programs tend to “roll in” a bit late. So, keep checking the HDC HDC Events Calendar to see entrants that are a little late in announcing January events. And, let me give you an early heads-up for February. Mark your calendar for February 7 …that is the date of Healthy Living Expo in Castle Rock. A really fun, educational affair. Watch for it in February.
I also wanted to just remind you of Historic Douglas County’s educational resources that we offer, totally FREE to all schools and non-profit organizations. If you haven’t yet done so, please investigate our Educational Resources page on this website. We offer programs, character re-enactments and provide a good listing of historical books about our pioneering history in and around Douglas County. Our character re-enactments have really become popular for elementary schools to assist them with their history curriculums. In January, HDC will be headed to Cougar Run Elementary. I refer to our group of HDC re-enactors as the HDC Players!”
Before I sign off on this monthly message, let me touch on one of my favorite hobbies, sports in Colorado…
Congratulations! The Air Force Falcons won the Idaho Potato Bowl and the CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves won their Division II National Title against feisty Minnesota State (Mankato). The other two of Colorado’s major college pigskin teams either didn’t get to a bowl game or didn’t win the bowl they played. I shall not name names; you know of whom I am speaking. CSU Football – lost a coach to the Florida Gators and were smashed in their Las Vegas Bowl game 45 – 10 …UGH! Next coach is coming from the Georgia Bulldogs, let’s hope he does as well as Jim McElwain did coming from Alabama’s offensive coordinator position.
The Denver Broncos, very consistent, they were 3 – 1 in each of the quarters this season (dividing the 16 game schedule into quarters). The Broncos do get a bye week to heal a vast assortment of bumps and bruises. They will then host either the Bengals or the Steelers on Sunday January 11th. With a win they would travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts to play the dreaded Patriots. I believe that only one team can beat Seattle – it’s the Dallas Cowboys! My best pick: Seattle vs New England in Phoenix, Seattle wins easily.
The Avalanche went from last to first in 2013-14; let’s hope they do NOT reverse this and go from first to last 2014-15! The Nuggets appear to be in for a LONG season. Erratic does not begin to touch their play in the initial third of the season. Realistically, playing in the superior Western Conference, they do NOT have a chance at a playoff berth unless they resurrect the early 1990’s Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan in his prime! Very sad to be out of it so early …?
Well, with those questionable words, I shall sign off for January. Have a prosperous coming year …and, as said earlier, mark your calendar for the Healthy Living Expo in February.