Nederland is a quiet, small Colorado mountain town for most of the year. Its close proximity to Denver and plethora of beautiful mountain views studded with aspens draw small crowds of hikers and campers to its many surrounding trails.
But one weekend in March every year, thousands of people from all over race to Nederland for its famous winter festival, Frozen Dead Guy Days. That’s right! A celebration in honor of a local frozen dead guy, Grandpa Bredo!
This year Frozen Dead Guy Days will be held from March 18th – 20th. Registration and wristband pick-up is from 9am-noon on Saturday and Sunday, but most of the activities those days don’t begin until 11am, according to the Frozen Dead Guy Days website.
The festivities kick off on March 18th with Blue Ball Friday in the Re-Animate Yourself Tent from 4pm – 1am. Enjoy live music, food, specialty Frozen Dead Guy Days brews, and cosmic cocktails at the Big Dipper bar. There will also be a Grandpa Bredo look-alike contest and moon dance competition. Tickets for this event are $25 online or $30 at the door, and cosmic attire is highly encouraged. In fact, costumes are encouraged all weekend long!
You can purchase a Saturday or Sunday general admission presale ticket through the website for $25 or pick up tickets the day of at any of the live music tent entrances for $30. The general admission ticket grants you access to all 3 heated live music tents, which will feature over 30 live bands! All outdoor activities and events are free. VIP tickets are available for $175 and include a 3-day all-access pass, bottomless cup, VIP lounge, parking, and more!
What festivities take place at Frozen Dead Guy Days? If it’s fun and can be done in the cold, it goes on the event list! Some of the icy events include coffin racing, costumed polar plunge, frozen t-shirt contest, snowy human foosball, frozen turkey bowling, ice carving, and a brain freeze contest.
History of Frozen Dead Guy Days
The story about Frozen Dead Guy Days stretches from Norway to California to Colorado, and it’s a tale that has captivated attention from people around the world.
Grandpa Bredo Morstoel was born and raised in Norway, where he enjoyed a full life and spent his time painting, fishing, skiing, and hiking the mountains of his homeland. Sadly, he died of a heart condition in 1989. But that’s where the story gets interesting. Instead of a typical burial, he was packed in dry ice and shipped to a cryonics facility in Oakland, California. He was placed in liquid nitrogen for almost four years.
In 1993, he was moved to Nederland, Colorado, to stay with his daughter Aud Morstoel and his grandson Trygve Bauge. He stayed there for years under cold cover, taking up residence in a Tuff Shed near his grandson’s house in the hills above town. In the mid-90s, Trygve was deported to Norway due to an expired visa. Aud had to step in to take care of the household, including keeping her father on ice. But shortly after, she faced eviction for living in a house without electricity or plumbing, and Grandpa Bredo would be left alone to thaw out before his time.
Aud was worried about what would happen to her father, so she spoke to a local reporter, who talked to the Nederland City Council. The City Council passed Section 7-34 regarding keeping bodies, making it illegal to store a frozen human or animal in your home. Luckily, Grandpa Bredo was grandfathered in and allowed to stay since he had been there before the section was passed. Thanks to the local reporter, the story became an international media sensation, and he has been well cared for ever since!
Grandpa Bredo is now over 110 years old and still resides in the Tuff Shed behind Aud’s house above Nederland. It takes 1,600 pounds of dry ice to keep Grandpa at a steady -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 2002, Nederland’s residents started a small festival celebrating their claim to fame as the town with the “frozen dead guy,” and it’s grown bigger and bigger ever since. The community bursts to life every March as people come together to enjoy being alive by celebrating the dead!
Frozen Dead Guy Days have something to do for people of all ages, and it’s unlike any other event you have been to before. Dance all night in costume, feast from 14 different food vendors, jam out to live music, or test your tolerance in one of the very cold contests. Bring your friends along; this is one winter festival you won’t want to miss!