Guys. Hey guys. You guys. Guess what time it is? That’s right. It’s time for Durango’s annual Snowdown! It’s gonna be a hoedown! Get ready for a throwdown! Ahem.
The week-long winter party kicks off Jan. 29 and runs through Feb. 2. This year’s theme is “Safari So Good,” so be sure to keep that in mind during Snowdown’s shenanigans, including the costume ball and the crazy street parade of lights. This is Durango’s 36th annual Snowdown, which got its start in 1979 as a way to give the town (and local businesses) a kick in the pants during the winter doldrums.
And a kick in the pants is right. Each day of Snowdown is packed with zany events such as a scavenger hunt, donut-eating contest, costume contest, bartending contest, speed-dating, trivia night, beer pong tournament and even a game of “ski softball,” a game of softball played on, well, skis and snowboards. Seriously, the list is proverbially endless and hilariously crazy, so here are some highlights:
Friday, Jan. 24, is the final day for entries to register for the Snowdown Light Parade, so get on that. Call 970-749-1816 for more information about registration. Speaking of, the Snowdown Light Parade starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, in downtown Durango, and the shindig gets started with a firework display. No, just the one firework — a single booming firework to mark the start of the parade! (Don’t worry; there’s a real fireworks display Saturday night.)
Nothing says “winter” like…spaghetti? Eh, whatever. Slurp it up during the Snowdown Spaghetti Dinner 4:30-7 p.m. Friday, the 31st. The Durango Winter Sports Foundation is sponsoring the 13th annual spaghetti dinner, prepared by Mutu’s Italian Kitchen, and dished up at the Elks Lodge on 9th Street, just half a block from the parade. There will be two seatings for dinner: pre- and post-parade.
The phrase “balloon rally” is kind of self-explanatory, but obviousness doesn’t make it any less spectacular to watch 25 beautiful hot air balloons ascending in the Animas Valley’s frosty early morning air. The Saturday “Mass Ascension” starts at 8 a.m. and is held next to the railroad tracks on U.S. Highway 550. In conjunction with the balloon rally, don’t miss the Snowdown Balloon Rally Train, which allows passengers to watch the hot air balloons take off from the comfort (and warmth) of the Durango & Silverton train. After the ascension over the Animas Valley, the Durango train continues to Cascade Canyon before returning around 1:30 p.m. Get your tickets now while the Durango train is offering a BOGO deal, which is only available by phone or in person. Call 888-872-4607 or stop by the depot at 479 Main Ave. in Durango.
For those who want to get fancy, hit up Snowdown Prom on Saturday night at Sorrel Sky Gallery, 828 Main Ave., for martinis, hors d’oeuvres and some champagne. Meanwhile, the Durango Contra Dancers will be putting on a Snowdown hoedown with a contra dance at the VFW Hall, 1550 Main Ave. (For those of you who don’t know, contra dancing is a type of country or folk dancing that’s sort of similar to square dancing.) And if none of those tickle your fancy, get thee to Derailed Pour House at 725 Main Ave. for the On Safari Costume Dance Extravaganza to rock out to ’80s and ’90s music and for a chance to win trips to Hawaii and Mexico. (The Hawaii trip is chosen at random, but the Best Couples Costume and Best Dance Moves wins a trip to Mexico!)
So, you get the drift: There’s gonna be a whole lotta of partying and crazy fun-having during Snowdown. That’s why you should book your room at the Durango Quality Inn today, so you can join in the five days of Snowdown shenanigans.