What began 19 years ago as indisputably one of the world’s strangest spring festivals, Frozen Dead Guy Days is still running strong, drawing curious visitors from around the globe to the tiny mountain town of Nederland, Colorado, located about an hour’s drive from Denver. This year’s festival is March 13–15.
For a chilling good time, you can join the annual celebration honoring Bredo Morstoel, Nederland’s most famous resident. In 1989, Bredo’s cryogenically frozen body was deposited in a garden shed on private property in Nederland by his grandson, Trygve Bauge. Bauge’s intention was to turn his shed into a cryogenics facility, but his deportation to his home country of Norway put an end to his ambitions. While the grandson was forced to leave, the body remained — with no preventative ordinances in existence, Morstoel’s unorthodox presence in the town was grandfathered in. To this day, regular dry ice deliveries keep him frosty, while the ensuing festival garnered worldwide media coverage and a huge following.
This year’s entertainment includes three tents featuring live music, with the kick-off Blue Ball: A Cosmically Frozen Affair on Friday the 13th, complete with Silent Disco and a costume contest crowning of the Cold-As-Ice Queen and Grandpa Bredo. Other highlights include a Costumed Polar Plunge, Frozen Dead Guy Days Pancake Breakfast, Grandpa’s Mall Crawl along 1st Street, frozen tee-shirt contests, ice turkey bowling, Snowy Human Foosball, timed Frozen Fix-A-Flat bicycle repair contest and an ice-carving competition.
Other not-to-miss happenings include the Frozen Dead Poet Slam, where participating poets deliver their musings from a soap box on the main street across from the Not Yet Dead in Ned Tent, and the Coffin Races & Parade of Hearses, during which teams of seven navigate an obstacle course while pulling a coffin and fake corpse behind them.
Plan ahead — lodging is severely limited in the small town, which offers only one small hotel. Heated controversy over the 2019 decision by town administrators to significantly limit short-term rental properties negatively affected the ability of the town to absorb the number of visitors hoping to take part in the festivities, and requires many guests to stay in the towns of Boulder and Estes Park, either of which can mean a long, hairy drive in spring snow conditions.
Throughout the weekend, visitors can take in screenings of the award-winning short film Grandpa’s in the Tuff Shed at the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center in the Caribou Shopping Center on Lakeview Drive.
Can’t make it? Tune in to Frozen Dead, the new on-demand independent media series based on the Nederland story.
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