Kingdom Days: A tribute to the throne like none other
Kingdom Days bring a unique heritage celebration.
A testament to its character and also its sense of humor, in its early days, Breckenridge was known as a “kingdom” rather than an actual town. Of course, one’s first assumption is that the “kingdom” status was coined because it is and was such a special place – unlike anywhere else on earth. But it is actually because 150 years ago after Breck was founded in 1859, mapmakers accidentally excluded it. In jest, but ringing true to its beauty and one-of-a-kind character, the town was often called “Colorado’s Kingdom” until it was incorporated in 1936.
Although royal treasures like silver and gold have been replaced by mountain-based thrills and adventure, Breckenridge still pays homage to its heritage during the annual Kingdom Days, June 13-15.
The weekend is comprised of free, educational fun for the whole family, from saloon and cemetery tours, gold panning, burro rides and lessons in log cabin building to the ultimate tribute to the throne – the world-famous Outhouse Races.
Here are the happenings throughout the Kingdom:
THE Outhouse Races
So is this thing for real? Yes, it sure is. Teams build their own thrones on wheels and one person has to sit on or in it as the team pushes it as fast as possible from point A to point B. It’s hysterical, one-of-a-kind entertainment that pays homage to the hardships (ahem … the necessity to go outside in the freezing cold and rough mountain elements to do your business) of Breck’s forefathers and mothers. Kids games and fun activities between races. FREE. S Main Street 100 & 200 Block. 2 p.m. Sunday – be sure to vote for your favorite outhouse at 1 p.m.
Free fun history lessons:
Historic Walking Tour
Meet at the Welcome Center at 203 South Main Street at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to stroll through the historic district and learn about the town’s true kings and kooks who lived here a century ago.
Barney Ford Victorian Home Tour
Of the dozens of fascinating historical figures, Barney Ford (whose name you have probably seen marking hiking trails and parking lots) was one of the most prominent. A black civil rights leader who escaped slavery to become an entrepreneur, you can visit his home and a special exhibit featuring another Colorado pioneer, Aunt Clara Brown. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 111 East Washington Avenue, Breckenridge.
Edwin Carter Discovery Center
He could have been the first log cabin builder … he was unquestionably the smartest. Visit Professor Carter’s learning center, where children can build projects of their own.
Washington Gold & Silver Mine Tour
Find out how the kingdom became rich with an underground adventure and first-hand mining experience, including a tutorial in how to pan gold. 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday, reservations required. Call 970-453-9767 or email them at breckheritage.com. 465 Illinois Gulch Road, Breckenridge.
Summit Ski Exhibit
Sure, it’s summer, but the sight of wobbly wooden skis always helps you appreciate your modern sticks any day of the year and the fascinating artifacts from the 10th Mountain Division will make you proud to be an American. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 308-B South Main Street, Breckenridge.
Blue River Plaza Extravaganza
This is where the Old West party is at all weekend with free kids burro rides, gold panning lessons with take-home nuggets, face painting and train rides (and be sure to visit the real-life Engine 9 Locomotive in front of the Ice Rink) on Saturday and Sunday.
Haunted Tour of Breckenridge
You’ve heard the stories, right? Where there is history, there are ghosts and there is no better way to learn the details than by strolling through haunted sites and hearing the details from historians in the know. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 13, The Welcome Center, 203 South Main Street, Breckenridge. Reservations required by 5pm/24 hour cancellation required. $15/adults, $10/kids ages 4-12. 970-453-9767 or breckheritage.com.
Tombstone Tales at Twilight
Stroll through the old Valley Brook Cemetery and hear the riveting history of individuals put to rest there. 5:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, Reservations required by 3:30pm/24 hour cancellation required. $15/adults, $10/kids (Ages 4-12) 905 Airport Road. 970-453-9767 or breckheritage.com.
Behind Swinging Doors Saloon Tour
Saloons could be where the real scary stuff happened back in the mining days. Tour the town’s historic saloons and taste the spirits of the Breckenridge Distillery. 5 p.m. Friday, 21 and over only. The Welcome Center, 203 South Main Street. $15. Reservations required by 4pm/24 hour cancellation required. 970-453-9767 or breckheritage.com.
National Repertory Orchestra Opening Night
The magical strains of the orchestra meet the massive acoustics of the Ten Mile Range during the NRO’s season opening performance “Welcome to the New World” at Riverwalk Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 13. For tickets, call (970) 547.3100.
Father’s Day Festivities:
Head to Main Street Station at S. Main Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for fresh produce from local farmers, hand-crafted gifts and goodies.
The Pine Beatles bring their catchy twang to Blue River Plaza from 12- 2 p.m. Sunday to kick off the Outhouse Races.
- Shauna Farnell