By Beth Dodd:
Opportunities for fun are easy to find in the Pikes Peak region even in the chill of mid-winter. Consider the following five events when you are looking at your entertainment options.
It’s time for the annual Moose is Loose shopping and event campaign. This year Moose is Loose has expanded into a “fest” with activities as well as the traditional retail shopping specials.
Sponsored by Tweeds, the Moose is Loose is now in it’s 14th year. The whole thing begins on February 9th, 2014 with a kick off at 10am at Tweeds. Get started with a swag bag, a button, and the all important printed event guide.
On Saturday and Sunday, February 8 and 9 at Hayden Divide Community Park in Divide, the first Rocky Mountain State Games Dog Sled Race will take place. The event is free to the public. The races will go from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
The dog sledding competition will vary from one mile to eight miles. Eleven divisions will be open to Colorado mushers and their dogs. Divisions range from the sportsman’s one mile canicross to the eight mile sprint with eight dogs. At least $1,000 in prize money will be awarded, although the sportsman’s class is not eligible for a cash award.
In preparation for the main event, there will be a dog sledding demonstration from 5 to 9 p.m. on February 7 in Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs as part of the Sochi Olympic Downtown Celebration. Spectators enjoying the dog racing action during the event’s two days in Divide can bring their own dogs along to enjoy the races, but they must be kept on leashes and away from the race courses and the competing teams.
The seventh annual Cripple Creek Ice Festival will be held on February 14, 15, 16 and on February 22 and 23. During this popular event, ice sculptors will carve beautiful works of ice art. The sculptures are sometimes interactive, and you can pose for pictures or play around them. Street vendors and an ice bar add to the fun. Now in its 7th year, the theme of the 2014 Ice Festival is Cartoons in Ice. Past themes have included a Mythological Wonderland, Story Time, Under the Sea, a Military Salute Carved in Ice, a Rocky Mountain Wonderland, and a Medieval theme.
The 2nd Annual Victor Steampunk Festival will give you the chance to get in touch with your retro-futuristic side on February 21, 22, and 23. Costumes add to the fun but are not required. This year’s event includes even more ways to have a blast in the past than last year. During the Steampunk Festival, activities will include a Paranormal Investigation at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, and a talk entitled “The Battle for Power in Cripple Creek & Victor. The Cripple Creek & Victor Mine is offering a surface tour of the Strong Mine. Ongoing throughout the weekend, visitors to Victor can visit the Steampunk Emporium and the Steampunk Art Show at Gallery 80860. Also, there will be the Steampunk on Ice Broomball Tournament and a Nikola Tesla re-enactment by the renowned actor, Richard Marold. Victor also offers tours of this historic town. Visitwww.victorcolorado.com for details.
The Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cookoff and Carnivale Parade will bring a party spirit to Manitou Springs on Saturday, March 1. Professional and amateur chefs will compete in Soda Springs Park with their secret recipes! The gumbo cooking will begin at 8 a.m., and judging starts at 10:45 a.m. Public gumbo tastings will follow the judging until 1 p.m. or whenever the food runs out. There is no entry fee for contestants and winners will receive cash prizes & trophies. The competition is limited to 18 total entries. Pre-registration is required. Tastings are two for $1, and ticket sales end at 12:30 p.m.
Manitou Springs eclectic Carnivale Parade through downtown begins at 1 p.m. This is an especially fun parade for children, who will enjoy collecting and wearing the strings of beads given away by the revelers.