GRAND LAKE — No one’s quite sure when the Grand Lake Winter Carnival began — old editions of the Sky-Hi peg it somewhere around 2000 or 2001— but Avis Gray, one of its original founders, remembers it came after a quiet start to the winter.
The town’s beloved musician, the late Steve Cormey, visited her at her store and they gazed out the window at dark and gloomy weather.
“He told me about Grand Lake in the ‘60s, when they had a carnival in the summer that raced beds on wheels,” Gray said. “So I said, ‘What if we have the same sort of event that has beds on sleds instead?’”
Over a decade later, the bed sled races are still going strong, and the Winter Carnival has become a favorite winter tradition. The event’s sponsorship and coordination has since been turned over to the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce and a slew of volunteers, but little else has changed. Curlers still use the old teapots earlier organizers filled with concrete outside of Gray’s shop. There are still outlandish costumes and snow sculptures. And there’s still plenty of local music, first led by Cormey, which is a major theme for this year’s carnival.
Carnival coordinators have tagged this year’s carnival theme as “The Superstars of Music.” Participants and spectators are encouraged to dress as their favorite musical icons, from Mozart to Britney Spears. Events on Main Street include past favorites, like teapot curling, the king and queen contest, and Superstars snow sculptures, as well popular ones added in later years, like snow golf and human bowling. Keeping with this year’s theme, the “Grandy Awards” and ball will feature Grand County’s local musical superstars, including the Acme Band and Peggy Mann.
This year’s royalty contestants include David and Cathie Hook with the Town of Grand Lake, Samantha Miller and Austin Anderson with Sagebrush BBQ and Grill, DJ and Alex Pritt with Pancho & Lefty’s, Jorge Valera and Beck Meadows with El Pacifico, Kenny Kimball and Paul Holzfaster with El Pacifico, Annie Palen and Frances Transue with Cricle 3, and Wanita and Bill Nash with the Lariat Saloon and Grumpy’s.
Events last all day on Saturday, Feb.1, starting at 9:30 a.m. All proceeds benefit the Grand Lake Fireworks Fund. For more information, call 970-627-3402.