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'We want to rescue this festival': Visit Estes Park board votes to host 2023 Frozen Dead Guy Days

Estes Park sign
Posted at 11:13 AM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2023-02-07 12:24:27-05

UPDATE | Jan. 25, 2023 — Tickets for Frozen Dead Guy Days in Estes Park are now on sale for the event, which will run March 17-19. Tickets cost $29 now and will increase in February. Click here for the schedule of events.

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ESTES PARK, Colo. — About a month after Nederland canceled its 2023 Frozen Dead Guy Days, the Visit Estes Park Board approved a plan to bring the festival back to life in Estes Park.

Over St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2023, the festival will welcome guests at The Stanley Hotel.

"This is big," said Kara Franker, CEO of Visit Estes Park at the board meeting Thursday evening. "This is the first time publicly we’re talking about this huge collaboration that we are undertaking between Visit Estes Park and The Stanley. This is not stealing this festival, this famous festival from Nederland. This is rescuing it."

Frozen Dead Guy Days celebrates the true story of “Grandpa” Bredo Morstel, a Norwegian public official who died in 1989. That year, his grandson, Trygve Bauge, had him cryogenically preserved in the hopes he could one day be re-animated. Morstel's body was eventually moved to Nederland, where Bauge planned to build his own cryonics lab unit he was deported. He chose and paid Brad Wickham $9,000 each year to buy and deliver between 900 to 1,200 pounds of dry ice every two weeks and cover his grandfather's frozen sarcophagus.

According to The Mountain Ear, Wickham retired earlier this year and a Frozen Dead Guy Day festival co-owner will now take on the responsibility.

Story unearthed about Frozen Dead Guy Days

On Nov. 2, the organizers of Frozen Dead Guy Days, which was born in Nederland in the early 2000s and grew over the years, announced that the 2023 festival was canceled due to "due to numerous factors including our own operational hurdles returning after a two-year COVID hiatus, a lack of partnership with the Town of Nederland, and the challenges of large event production on the safety and security fronts.”

But on Dec. 1, the Visit Estes Park board voted to rescue the festival, which attracts beyond 20,000 people.

"We want to professionalize it," Franker said. "All the crazy stuff — I think we can figure out how to do coffin races or parades or something down Elkhorn (Avenue). I think we could figure out how to do that... We want to keep the fun to it, for sure. And the wacky and the weird."

She added that Visit Estes Park will work with local businesses.

Franker said she has a contact that is working to help bring a big musical headliner too, who will perform at the Estes Park Events Complex.

All proceeds will go to workforce housing and childcare, Franker said.

She said Visit Estes Park is also applying for a grant to sponsor the festival.