2016 Cripple Creek Ice Festival a Reminder of Days Gone ByPosted: February 22, 2016
I’m a Colorado native and one of my favorite Colorado festivals is the Ice Festival in Cripple Creek. For two weeks in February each year, Bennet Street becomes a frozen fantasy land. On the weekends, the fantasy comes alive before your eyes as chainsaw wielding artisans carve huge blocks of ice into beautifully crafted images to enhance the annual theme. It’s amazing.
This year, walking Bennett Avenue on a weekday afternoon was like a blast from the past, with an old west motif that called to the history buff in me. Themed sculptures included interactive sculptures for the kids, even the big ones, such as the covered wagon slide and a maze running almost the length of the exhibit, with old town false fronts and mine entrances, and a coal-burning locomotive for photo ops.
Of course, in a town where gambling is a main attraction, we also had to have a lucky horseshoe. I guess even in the old west folks could use all the luck they could get. The ice miner and his mules were specters of a time long past, appearing ghostly in the afternoon light.
I’ve been going to Cripple Creek since I was a little girl, long before the days of the Ice Festival, before gaming was legal, when Cripple Creek was still an old west town with brick sidewalks and a real live melodrama diner theater. Most kids these days have never booed and hissed for a villain, or cheered for a hero, except perhaps in a video game, if that. I remember those days with a loving fondness, walking the brick sidewalks of Bennett Avenue after the show with my parents, looking in the shops and business establishments, with wide-eyed wonder. It’s a bygone era, relived in my memories with a visit to this frozen western fantasy world.