This year, the coffin-carrying competition at Nederland's Frozen Dead Guy Days gets seriously stiff. The annual festival, which begins today, celebrates Bredo "Grandpa" Morstoel, the cryogenically frozen Norwegian who occupies a Tuff Shed behind the home of his dearly deported grandson. The festivities include the Cryogenic Parade, tours of Grandpa's home and a costumed polar plunge, along with frozen-T-shirt, snow-sculpting, frozen-pizza-throwing and Grandpa-look-alike contests. The coffin races, the weekend's highlight, start at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The 2003 Manitou Springs Emma Crawford Coffin Race Champions have thrown down the frozen gauntlet, challenging the Workingman's Dead, the home town's undefeated Carhartt-clad local crew. Problem is, the latter team has retired. And although "thrilled beyond words" to be world-record holders, says Dead team member Brent Marincic, "we want to let someone else share the joy." At press time, race organizers had not given up hope for a great sarcophagus-shlepping face-off. "We've been calling them every day to see if they'll race," says event director Amanda MacDonald. "Plus, the greatest athlete in Belgium will be competing." A Belgian TV crew will film his efforts at all the weekend's events.
New to this year's festival is an opening ceremony tonight at 7:30 p.m. A relay of runners will carry a glowing, smoking, giant ice cube from Grandpa's house to the roundabout in town. There, the "ice-cube torch" will light a sculpture of the gramps-sicle, the Dead Guy Chorale will burst into Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party," and revelers dressed as skeletons will dance in the streets.
For information, call 720-374-6742 or go to www.nederlandchamber.org/FrozenDeadGuyDays. -- Shara Rutberg
The Lucky 7K keeps heels reeling.
While today's Runnin' of the Green! Lucky 7K may be many other things, it's also the unofficial start of Denver's outdoor-running season.
Year after year, participants break out the running (or walking) gear and take to the streets of LoDo in what's become a rite of spring. While some serious competitors strive for speed, most come out to feel the blarney rather than the burn.
The greyhounds cut loose today at 10:15 a.m., chasing off on the approximately 4.3-mile course that begins and ends in front of McCormick's Fish House, 1659 Wazee Street. Then the more leisurely 7K walkers begin their amble, as do those runners and strollers going only two miles in what's dubbed "the Irish Punt," so they can return in time for first dibs on beer and food. Mix in a block party with Irish music and stepdancers, and there are plenty of reasons for Irish, and non-Irish, eyes to be mile-ing.
Proceeds benefit the Volunteers of America; entry fees vary. For information, call 303-694-2202 or visit www.bkbltd.com. -- Ernie Tucker