Estes Park, CO

What's new with Frozen Dead Guy Days?

Brittany Anas
Coffin races take place in this 2016 file photo from Frozen Dead Guy Days. The festival has been relocated to Estes Park in 2023.Photo by(Photo By Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver

(Estes Park, CO) After strained relationships with Nederland, Frozen Dead Guy Days is moving to Estes Park this year, and festival-goers can expect a few new events at this year’s quirky gathering.

Frozen Dead Guy Days, a 20-year-old festival, will take place on St. Patrick’s Day weekend (March 17-19) at the Estes Park Events Complex and The Stanley Hotel, with satellite events happening throughout the mountain town.

There will be a coffin race and a polar plunge, but festival-goers can expect some new events this year as the event settles into its new home in Estes, including a deadman fashion show and roaming freak show acts.

Also, Lumpy Ridge Brewing Company is crafting a special Frozen Dead Guy Days beer.

While the schedule is still shaping up, here’s an early look at the Frozen Dead Guy Days 2023 events:

  • Live Music and Entertainment: A lineup of local and national acts will be released soon.
  • The Blue Ball: This iconic FDGD event will be held at the historic Stanley Hotel and will feature live music, dancing, DJs and more.
  • Coffin Races: Teams of “pallbearers” will race head-to-head through a course full of obstacles, mud, snow, and drills in a grandstand setting.
  • Irish Wake: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Frozen Dead Guy Days style, and toast to Grandpa Bredo all night long.
  • Brain Freeze Contest: Eat your heart out with the area’s best local ice cream.
  • Deadman Fashion Show: Come dressed in your finest “dead guy” duds to win prizes and mingle with your fellow attendees.
  • Bands & Bloodys Sunday Brunch: Close out the frigidly fun weekend with live music and themed brunch menus at restaurants around town.

Frozen Dead Guy Days celebrates the stranger-than-fiction story of Norwegian native “Grandpa” Bredo Morstel, who became a sensation in 1995 when his body was discovered in a Tuff Shed in Nederland. His family believed in cryogenics and transported his body to the United States after he died in 1989. (He remains cryogenically frozen under dry ice in Nederland).

His legend grew among Nederland residents, and a winter festival was born to honor Grandpa Bredo with quirky events and activities. It caught on in a big way; and by 2022, Frozen Dead Guy Days attracted approximately 20,000 attendees.

“Frozen Dead Guy Days is going to be a fundamental shift for Estes Park,” says John Cullen, owner and CEO of The Stanley Hotel. “Together, we’re going to create a winter festival playground and we are proud to have The Stanley be the host hotel for it.”

Festival organizers originally canceled the annual festival in November, citing operational hurdles. In the new partnership with Estes Park, proceeds will benefit workforce housing and childcare in town.

Visit Estes Park and The Stanley Hotel have committed to donating all proceeds from ticket sales that surpass operational costs to the area’s recently established workforce housing and childcare funding mechanism.

“We’re very excited to give new life to this iconic Colorado festival while maintaining its quirky vibe,” says Kara Franker, CEO of Visit Estes Park. "Estes is built for events like this as we have the right venues and infrastructure to suit the festival’s size. Additionally, it will support the town during a slower season and ultimately give a boost to workforce housing and childcare."

Tickets for Frozen Dead Guy Days will go on sale in late January 2023.

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Brittany is a journalist in the Denver metro area with more than two decades of writing and editing experience. She covers travel, restaurants and other lifestyle topics.

Westminster, CO

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