Celebrating Colorado, and girls named Heidi
Local travel writer hosts her own festival in Ouray
By John Gardner
If anyone knows about a great small-town festival in Colorado, it’s Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, or as avid Surveyor readers may know her, the Mayor of HeidiTown.
As a travel writer and blogger of Colorado festivals, and a long-time Surveyor contributor, when the Mayor of HeidiTown goes on a weekend trip, over 3,000 people accompany her on her adventures through her social media posts and her blog Heiditown.com.
“I probably love Colorado more than most people because I lived in the Pacific Northwest,” said Kerr-Schlaefer. “I’m so amazed at how many different kinds of landscapes we have in this state; you have mountains and plains, small towns and big. It’s just so dynamic.”
HeidiTown.com is a blog focused on Colorado festivals and travel, which Ker-Schlaefer started in 2007; reviewing books, movies and restaurants. It wasn’t until about 2010 that she dedicated the blog to covering Colorado festivals. If it’s ice climbing in Ouray or drinking beer at the Winter Park Beer Festival, HeidiTown subscribers get all the details of adventure and relaxation around Colorado.
“I always hear people say, ‘I live vicariously through you,’” Kerr-Schlaefer said.
So, after a several years of traveling to festivals, the mayor decided that she may as well have one of her own. HeidiTown Fest, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 23-24), is a festival celebrating Colorado, as well as girls named Heidi, according to Kerr-Schlaefer.
“It’s really not a festival in that we’re going to have a band or anything like that,” said Kerr-Schlaefer. “It’s a chance to visit Ouray and live life like the mayor.
HeidiTown Fest offers two unique packages: Guests can choose between two hotels, the Ouray Chalet Inn or the Matterhorn Inn; and two excursions, including a four-wheel-drive excursion with Alpine Scenic Tours, or rafting with RIGS Adventure Company. Each package also comes with passes to Ouray Hot Springs Pool and tickets to the HeidiTown Fest VIP party on Saturday night.
Packages start at $280 and include two nights for two people. A third night can be added for $80.
“This is your chance to come do a weekend as I do a weekend,” she said.
On Friday and Saturday nights there will be social events at locations around town.
Kerr-Schlaefer, who lives in Loveland, chose Ouray specifically to get people to travel to some of Colorado’s most remote and beautiful destinations.
“Ouray is thrilled to be the location for the first annual HeidiTown Fest. Nicknamed ‘The Switzerland of America,’ we are the perfect Colorado mountain location for unique gatherings and festivals,” said Heidi Pankow, public relations manager at the Ouray Chamber Resort Association.
Being the inaugural HeidiTown Fest, the mayor is unsure as to how it will be received, but she hopes to continue the festival, popping up in different towns across the state each year.
“The thing that sets this event apart from anything else in the state is the fact that it will be mobile,” she said.
But the goal is what the mayor’s goal has been from her first blog post: get people interested in the things that happen in their home state.
“Get around your state and see what’s out there, you know?” Kerr-Schlaefer said. “If HeidiTown Fest is the only way you do it every year, then alright, cool. Every year we’ll find a new, cool place to bring you to.”
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