|Denverites love any excuse to put on a costume, so October is a busy month, filled with a series of wacky events that keep the Guinness World Record people busy. In just 30 days, Denver will host the world’s largest Zombie Crawl, the world’s largest Gorilla Run and the world’s largest beer festival.
Blame it on the Beer!
You can blame the early October craziness on the beer. Denver Beer Fest kicks off activities from Oct. 4-12 with more than 150 beer-centric events, from tap takeovers and firkin tappings to beer-paired dinners and meet the brewer nights.
It’s all an appetizer to the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF), which rolls into town Oct. 10-12. This is the largest gathering of suds lovers in the world with more than 49,000 beer geeks attending for the privilege of tasting some 3,000 different beers produced by 600 different brewers. More beers will be available for tasting in 2013 than at any other single spot in history. Tickets sold out in less than 15 minutes.
If you don’t have tickets, don’t worry – there are still 150 beer-related events taking place throughout metro Denver during the over-lapping Denver Beer Fest, not to mention some 26 downtown Denver breweries and tap houses.
Many GABF-goers come in costumes, ranging from fetching frauleins in dirndl skirts to people dressed as hops, wizards, or even big mugs of beer. Scottish pipe bands add to the madness, squealing up and down the aisles as 15,000 people try to taste as many exotic beers as they can squeeze in during one of the four, four-hour tasting periods. On the streets outside, pedi-cabs and beer wagons do a brisk business, escorting festival goers from pub to pub and safely home as well.
There’s a serious side to GABF as well, and the medals awarded at this “Super Bowl of Beer” in more than 85 categories are considered the most prestigious beer medals in the business.
Streets Covered with Zombies
The largest zombie gathering in history will take place in downtown Denver on Saturday, October 19 when some 16,000-plus blood splattered crazies drag themselves down the 16th Street Mall in a day-long event that can be as funny as it is horrifying.
The Annual Denver Zombie Crawl has already been documented as the largest zombie event in the nation, and for this – the 7th annual crawl – the organizers are again shooting for a new Guinness World Record. Why is Denver home to so many zombies? Why not? Colorado already has the Frozen Dead Guy Festival, so why not a festival of 16,000 undead strolling the streets.
The day begins at 11 a.m. with the Organ Trail. This zombified version of a 5K event is a run, walk or crawl around downtown Denver that mixes the gross parts of Fear Factor with the clue solving of the Amazing Race, and puts them all together in a Haunted House. Zombie teams solve clues to find locations and move to checkpoints, and it’s all very complicated, but the main attraction is seeing the creativity of the other zombies.
And they are creative. And horrifying. There are zombie cheerleaders, zombie nurses, zombie brides, zombie Playboy bunnies, and even a complete zombie marching brass band. There is so much dripping blood that by day’s end, the 16th Street Mall is actually stained with pools of blood – all fake, of course – and you can mark the path of some zombies by their smeared trails.
Entire families of undead join the parade, all of them – from young tots to bewildered-looking parents — covered with horrific wounds, exposed entrails, axes in their heads, and always – the vacant stare of the undead. The scariest thing of all are the hundreds of zombies who wear “dead-eye” contacts, giving them that strange, glowing, far-away look.
Zombie ground zero is Skyline Park, but really, the entire mile-long 16th Street Mall (and its 42 outdoor cafes) are crawling with zombies all afternoon. If you come as a spectator, the most fun is to pick a spot in a café that lines the Mall and enjoy the parade of horror as it saunters by.
If you’re a zombie amateur and want to join in the parade, come at 12 noon, where Zombie Crawl officials will help you with makeup.
There’s a re-creation of Michael Jackson’s zombie “Thriller” dance at 3:55 p.m., and the “official” parade down 16th Street Mall for the world record goes from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., ending with costume contests at Skyline Park and a Zombie Crawl after-party at Casselman’s at 8 p.m.
Whether you come dead – or alive – you’ll laugh, you’ll be grossed out, you’ll be horrified and quite frequently scared, sometimes all within one minute, but you’ll come to appreciate the creativity that exists in Denver, at least in the underground world of the undead.
Run Gorilla, Run!
A week after the zombies leave town, downtown Denver is inundated with gorillas – thousands of them! The 10th Annual Denver Gorilla Run is Saturday Oct. 26 with more than 3,000 people in gorilla suits running a 5K to benefit the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The cost of the race is $99, which includes a full gorilla suit (available in different sizes). Participants from each of the nine previous races are being encouraged to dig out their suits and show up to help re-set Denver’s current Guinness World Record for a gorilla run with even higher numbers.
As if gorilla suits were not enough, racers are encouraged to dress up the suits, so there are gorilla families, gorilla bands, gorilla blonds…old gorillas, young gorillas and even Hawaiian gorillas.
After the race there is a gigantic block party for everyone in the city with food trucks, craft beer, and bands, all in front of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s oldest and largest brew pub. The Wynkoop was founded by current Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the first former brewer to be elected state governor since Sam Adams in 1793. All of which proves the people of Denver appreciate a good beer, as well as a gorilla and zombie or two.
After participating in these world-record events in The Mile High City, you’re going to be exhausted! Go to visitdenver.com/hotels/
It’s 360 days out and I am already crawling with exctiment thinking about next year’s Organ Trail Urban Adventure Race.
This race is seamless with organization and brings out rocking obstacles that will make you laugh, gasp and stretch your brain power. Racers dressed as zombies geared with a fresh sheet of clues to solve. We were lead on foot and public transport as far North as Five Points and as far east as Uptown. Figuring out the clue to get to the checkpoint is just the beginning of the fun and feeling of accomplishment! At each stop you have to compelte a challenge whether it be a dance off with zombies, joining the Thriller Dance on the 16th street mall or hopping in a potato sack racing opposing teams.
Organ Trail is a race I would happily shell out the cash for year after year. That’s because the clues and challenges switch up each year offering a completely fresh experience. Figuring out the clues will mkae you think but not so much that you feel frustration. This race caters to everyone, whether racing for the $300 cash prize or just for the experience. Hope to see you zombie crawl next year ready to experience a race that truly is unique from any other.
Salem, Mass., has earned a reputation as the unofficial Halloween capital of the world. But it’s not just at Halloween when visitors are lured into the town where several people were accused of being witches during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. This led to a plague of mass hysteria in the small puritan village.
Here’s a quick brush up on the history: a 12 year-old girl, Ann Putnam Jr., and a group of here friends started rumors that they were suffering “afflictions,” including convulsions and speaking gibberish. This lead to the harsh and untrue accusations of witchcraft against many 72 people, 19 of whom were hung, and at least ten others died in the inhumane conditions in the prisons. Ann Putnam Jr., eventually took back her accusation and publicly apologized. But it was too late.
The Witch Dungeon Museum sets the stage by performing a mock trial based on real transcripts. You will see Sarah Good hopelessly defend herself against Ann Putnam’s lie. Trials like this continued for thirteen months until the Governor’s wife was accused of being a witch, causing him to put an end to all trials.
By admitting you were guilty, your life was spared but in horrific conditions. The Puritans covered up the original dungeon because they were ashamed of themselves for believing such outrageous lies. Family members were able to visit loved ones in cells but it would cost them, putting extra cash in the pockets of the Puritans. An accused person was also forced to give up their land, which meant neighbors started accusing neighbors so they could cash in on more property. Kids even accused their own parents.
Sometime in the 1950’s a phone company purchased the land where the old dungeon housed innocent prisoners. An integral part of history was discovered when they broke the foundation, the original dungeon. The Witch Dungeon Museum laid its blueprints from the actual cells. You will see just how tight corridors were, the dirt they slept on, even when the floors flooded, and the rodents that slept next to them.
The Salem With Trials are a dark part of history but because of the experience at this museum it’s not forgotten. [Gallery not found]
We have all carved pumpkins, but why? The tradition of carving pumpkins started in Ireland. Irish people carved all sorts of veggies like turnips, gourds, pears and potatoes. Burning lumps of coal were placed inside the lanterns and were eventually replaced by candles. They illuminated windows from October 31st to sunset the next day to honor deceased relatives and friends. To some, Halloween was the most magical night of the year but that was not the case for everyone.
Some people placed their carved lanterns in windows to keep evil spirits at bay. One spooky Halloween tale is about the original Jack O’ Lantern. He was not a pumpkin but a person that loved to play pranks, even with the Devil. One day he tricked the Devil to climb up a tree. Meanwhile, sly Jack placed crosses around the base of tree so the devil could not come down. Only when Jack took a promise from the Devil that his soul would not be taken away when he dies, he allowed the Devil to come down. But some say the Devil was fueled with revenge, and not just against Jack.
Irish immigrants brought Halloween Tradition to the U.S. It was here they discovered our native vegetable, pumpkins. Pumpkins and pumpkin carving is still the number one symbol to represent Halloween. Whether you believe in the evil spirits associated with the holiday it is a day that brings friends and family together with enthusiasm and joy. [Gallery not found]
[Gallery not found]Primitive Fear is exactly what it sets out to be, a haunted house that is the first of it’s kind. Your eerie experience starts with strobes lights so fierce and fog so thick your vision is cut off. When you finally escape by feeling your way out of the room you exit into a new place, completely silent and still. This intensifies the fear because you know it won’t stay that way, something’s coming. Along the way you will hear unidentifiable and intimidating noises. You may never figure out what they are or where they are coming from. But it doesn’t matter because more terror is lurking ahead.
The actors inside are some of the best in the industry. Their talents extend beyond common scare tactics like jumping out of dark corners or creeping up behind you. Actors draw you in by interacting with you and even engaging you in conversation. Your lip could be quivering to strongly to mutter back an answer. Some actors leave the gory make-up behind and almost look like normal people but still have the power to chill your bones. If you are a thrill seeker Primitive Fear is waiting with the lights off.