For over 40 years, Durango has made the most of winter's short days and long nights with a celebration of fun and frivolity: Snowdown. For its 44th year, Snowdown Durango will be decked out in its Elizabethan best. The 2023 theme is A Shakespearian Revelry, A Week With the Bard.
Snowdown 2023 Theme
The upcoming Snowdown takes place Jan 27 - Feb 5, 2023 and is expected to feature some medieval-style attire for this Snowdown in-the-round. With so many options for festival goers to be or not to be, the events are bound to be a spectacle for the ages. Stay tuned for a full schedule as it becomes available.2023 Event Info
History of Snowdown
Durango's Snowdown was originally founded in 1979 as an attempt to bring something fun, bright and festive to Colorado's long winter. It has since grow into one of the largest annual seasonal celebrations in the state. Each year's event has its own theme, ranging from classics like An Old West Snowdown to the outlandish Intergalactic Snowdown, and the special 40th anniversary theme: A Black Tie Affair.
And while the theme changes annually, many of the festival's events remain the same and are part of Snowdown's lasting legacy. More than 100 events are jam packed into this 5-day festival and everything from the annual Parade of Lights down Main Avenue to adults-only fashion shows to winter sporting contests to beer dunks are on the agenda.Snowdown Light Parade
The most popular annual event at Snowdown serves as the kickoff and the finale to this multi-day festival. The Follies is a show put on by local talent featuring some inside scoop and hilarious roasting of Durango personalities. Lively, outlandish and unforgettable, the show features multiple showtimes that you can try and get tickets to via a random drawing from mail-in entries or the secret box office locations. Tickets begin selling long before Snowdown begins. You can also catch a live broadcast at the Animas City Theatre.
Fashion Do's & Don'ts
Another event without an unsold ticket, Fashion Do's & Don'ts is essentially a runway-style fashion show demonstrating Snowdown's theme of the year. Locals decked out in their best theme-appropriate garb strut their stuff down the runway. Patrons purchase tickets in advance for this luncheon and spectator event at the La Plata County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.
Outlaw Josie Pete's Golf Tournament
Assemble a team of four and bring your own putters and golf balls for this outlandish mini golf tournament that takes place all over downtown Durango. Local businesses are hosts to their very own putting holes, and around 60 teams are chosen to make their way from place to place to give it their best shot. After the tournament teams meet up at The Elks Club for the award ceremony.
Search For The Silver Bullet
Since 1997 treasure hunters and would-be riddle solvers have put on their thinking caps and searched for the silver bullet. Clues on the wherabouts of this mysterious item are released all week long via radio broadcasts. Teams slyly compete to follow the clues and discover the silver bullet's location by the Saturday deadline - and before anyone else does - all for a $250 cash prize. There is no second place, so only the most creative and clever may rise to the challenge.
Sat, Jan 14: Secret Box Office Clues Revealed • 6:00 am: Follies tickets will be sold to lucky participants who obtain a special purchase number via a specific set of clues given via radio broadcasts on KIQX 101.3 fm, KRSJ 100.5 fm, KIUP 930 am.
Sat, Jan 14 - Wed, Jan 18: Fashion Do's & Dont's Tickets On Sale at 636 Main Ave • 6:00 am: After the early morning sale on the 14th, remaining tickets for Fashion Do's & Dont's will be sold on Wednesday, January 18 from noon to 1:30 pm at Tequila's Mexican Restaurant at 948 Main Ave. Tickets are $20 each, cash or check only.
Fri, Jan 20 - Sat, Jan 21: Kids Snowdown Follies at Durango Arts Center • 2:00 & 7:00 pm: Join the fun at the DAC stage with singing, dancing, and even more fun acts from Durango's youth.
Fri, Jan 27: Snowdown Senior Bingo at La Plata County Senior Center • 1:00 pm: $1 per Bingo card. Prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd & 3rd place.
Fri, Jan 27: Annual Snowdown Bartenders Contest at Starlight Lounge • 5:00 pm: Those 21 and up compete to create the official Snowdown 2023 cocktail.
Fri, Jan 27 - Sat, Jan 28: A Midwinter Night's Dream Beer Dinner at Carver Brewing Company • 5:00 & 7:30 pm: A multi-course feast with craft beer pairings fit for kings and queens. $65 per person.
Fri, Jan 27 - Sat, Jan 28: Snowdown Follies at Durango Arts Center • 7:00 & 10:00 pm: Lively, outlandish and unforgettable, Snowdown Follies are a favorite event at Snowdown.
Fri, Jan 27 - Fri, Feb 3: Build-A-Bong at Prohibition Herb: Build the most wonderous bong and drop it off at Prohibition Herb by 9:00 pm on Friday, February 3. The winners will be picked the following Saturday at 4:20 pm.
Fri, Jan 27 - Sat, Feb 4: Library Scavenger Hunt at Durango Public Library: Shakespeare has taken over the Durango Public Library. Search for clues all week long and completed quests will be entered in a drawing for a Shakespeare prize basket.
Fri, Jan 27 - Sun, Feb 5: Fair Play at Telluride Bud Co: Determine the strain to be entered to win an ounce.
Fri, Jan 27 - Sun, Feb 5: Hunt For The Quote From Will at Lola's Place: Grab an answer sheet from the bar at Lola's place and search for puzzles, hidden objects and riddles. Fill out the sheet and return it to be entered into a raffle. Drawing takes place on Sunday, February 5.
Sat, Jan 28: Snowdown Escape Rooms at Durango Public Library • 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 2:00 pm & 3:30 pm: Test your puzzle-solving skills as you work to beat the clock in the Durango Public Library's Shakespeare themed escape room.
Sat, Jan 28: Shakes Rear After Show Dance Party at Starlight Lounge • 11:30 pm: A dance party with a live DJ.
Sat, Jan 28: Flying Paper Airplanes at Office Depot • 2:00 pm: Make, decorate with markers, and fly your own plane paper airplane the farthest.
Sat, Jan 28: Fakespear Shakespeare Quote Contest at Starlight Lounge • 5:00 pm: Deliver your best Shakespearean quote. Judged on delivery and costume.
Sat, Jan 28: Crokinole Tournament at Union Social House • 6:30 pm: Learn to play this Canadian board game of dexterity. Beginners welcome. Must be 18+.
Sun, Jan 29: Snowdown Kickoff Party & Theme Announcement at Purgatory Resort • 1:00 - 2:00 pm: Flaunt your fanciest Shakespearian attire and raise your goblets (or aluminum cups) in a toast to all things fun in the snow. Live music, margaritas, and theme announcement for next year's event.
Mon, Jan 30: The Search For the Silver Bullet Begins: Listen to the radio for clues on the location of the silver bullet. Assemble a team and find it by Saturday to win a cash prize.
Tue, Jan 31: Snowdown Follies Gala: The Follies Grand Gala Performance returns for its 40th year featuring favorite bands, showbiz personalities and local commentary.
Wed, Feb 1: Fashion Shall & Shall Nots (Fashion Do's and Don'ts): Strut your stuff and show off YOUR version of a Shakespearean Snowdown Fashion Do's and Don'ts.
Wed, Feb 1: As You Like It MC/DJ Battle at Starlight Lounge • 10:30 pm: Hosted by DJ Tones.
Wed, Feb 1: Snowdown Scavenger Hunt at Billy Goat Saloon • 12:00 - 8:00 pm: Teams of 4 will compete to find as many of the 100 items on the list as possible.
Wed, Feb 1: Art Thou A Local? at Animas Chocolate Company • 2:00 pm: Durango trivia. Prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd & 3rd place.
Wed, Feb 1: Keg Cap Frisbee Golf at Balcony Bar & Grill • 2:00 pm
Wed, Feb 1: Shakespeare Snowdown Crafts: DIY Elizabethan Ruff at Durango Public Library • 4:00 - 6:00 pm: Craft your own version of signature Elizabethan ruff from upcycled old books. Free event and all supplies are included.
Wed, Feb 1: A Midsummer Night's Dream Fairy Cosplay DIY at Durango Public Library • 4:00 pm: An event for tweens and teens.
Wed, Feb 1: Bard Off at Stimulus Café and Coffee House • 4:00 pm: Contestants will have one minute to perform a unique acapella song, dance, poem, musical composition.
Wed, Feb 1: Dauntless Lego Walk at 11th Street Station • 4:00 pm: A timed trial race where contestants walk on legos barefoot.
Wed, Feb 1: Family Feud at Anarchy Brewing • 4:00 pm: $20 entry. Eight teams of 4 battle it out.
Wed, Feb 1: I Challenge Ye To A Duel at Starlight Lounge • 4:00 pm: A sword fight with fake swords.
Wed, Feb 1: Hot Wing Eating Contest at Animas City Theatre • 4:00 pm: Can thou handle the heat without melting?
Wed, Feb 1: Bicycle Roller Races at Zia Taqueria • 5:00 pm: Head-to-head racers on stationary roller bikes.
Wed, Feb 1: Frisbee Olympics at Carver Brewing Company • 5:30 pm
Wed, Feb 1: Spellebration at Gaslight Twin Cinema • 5:30 pm: Showcase your Shakespearean spelling skills
Wed, Feb 1: Ping Pong Tournament at Starlight Lounge • 6:00 pm
Wed, Feb 1: Scotch Doubles Billiards at The Garage • 6:00 pm: Teams of two will play to win this double elimination 8 ball tournament.
Wed, Feb 1: Snowdown Double Darts at Union Social House • 6:00 pm
Wed, Feb 1: Snowdown Euchre Tournament at VFW • 6:00 pm: Two person teams are drawn from a random double elimination tournament.
Wed, Feb 1: The Taming Of The Pinball at Jbo's Pizza and Ribs • 6:30 pm: An international Flipper Pinball Association sanctioned pinball tournament.
Wed, Feb 1: Chancellor's Official Butt Dart Tragedy at 11th Street Station • 7:00 pm: A Snowdown sonnet based on the classic party game: Quarters.
Wed, Feb 1: Cribbage Tournament at Elk's Lodge • 7:00 pm
Wed, Feb 1: Sports Trivia at The Roost • 8:00 pm: Test your sports knowledge at Durango’s home for sports.
Wed, Feb 1: Lip Sync Contest at El Rancho Tavern • 8:00 pm: Solo and group acts allowed. Judging based on best performance and crowd favorite.
Wed, Feb 1: Annual Snowdown Jokedown at Derailed Pour House • 8:30 pm
Wed, Feb 1: Klackers Tournament at Starlight Lounge • 9:00 pm: Durango’s own homegrown game.
Wed, Feb 1 - Thu, Feb 2: Magical Musical Mystery Tour at SKA Headquarters • 6:00 pm: Snowdown's oldest music trivia contest. Finals will be held on Thursday. $40 entry for teams of 4.
Thu, Feb 2: Big Wheel Derby at Balcony Bar & Grill • 2:00 pm: Ride a tiny bike around a loop upstairs. Best time wins.
Thu, Feb 2: Shakespeare Snowdown Button Making at Durango Public Library • 4:00 - 5:00 pm: Deck yourself out in some Shakespearian flair. Create button pins using designs from the library or create your own.
Thu, Feb 2: Name That Tune at 8th Avenue Tavern • 4:00 pm
Thu, Feb 2: Snowdown Beer Pong at The Garage • 6:00 pm: 64 team bracket.
Thu, Feb 2: Ye Olde Trivia at The Powerhouse • 6:30 pm: Four rounds of trivia questions, always including a science and music round.
Thu, Feb 2: Drunken Dictionary at Eso Terra Ciderworks • 7:00 pm: A panel of locals will judge to see if you actually know your Shakespearean vocabulary.
Thu, Feb 2: Knight Fight Night at Animas City Theatre • 7:00 pm: Experience Medieval cage fights, music, and a double dose of Snowdown style chaos. MMA style fights with competitors in armor, melees, and other medieval mayhem await.
Thu, Feb 2: Drag Race & Fashion Show at El Rancho Tavern • 8:00 pm
Thu, Feb 2: Pick-Up Line Contest at The Roost • 8:30 pm
Thu, Feb 2: Arm Wrestling Tournament at Wild Horse Saloon • 9:00 pm: First place receives a cash prize of $100.
Thu, Feb 2 - Sat, Feb 4: Karaoke Competition at 8th Avenue Tavern • 10:00 pm: Contest held every night at 10:00 pm starting on Thursday.
Fri, Feb 3: Snowdown Tournament & Renaissance Fair at Durango Transit Center • 1:00 - 5:00 pm: A Renaissance Fair with real steel armored combat, blacksmith, fire performers, craftsmen, food, Medieval tents, historical reenactments and a tavern run by Steamworks and SKA.
Fri, Feb 3: Skyhawk Scavenger Hunt at Fort Lewis College Clock Tower • 1:00 pm: A scavenger hunt on campus for FLC students.
Fri, Feb 3: Bobbeth The Apple Contest at Eso Terra Ciderworks • 3:00 pm: COVID-safe apple bobbling gauntlet.
Fri, Feb 3: Hand On The Van Competition at Grassburger • 4:00 pm: Hand on the Van is a fun competition for elementary school kids to win prizes for holding their hand on a police car for the longest.
Fri, Feb 3: Spaghetti Dinner at Elk's Lodge • 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Fri, Feb 3: Snowdown Light Parade at Downtown Durango • 6:00 pm
Fri, Feb 3: Annual Snowdown Costume Ball, Post-Parade Awards & Balloon Drop at Main Mall • 7:15 pm: Hosted by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and American General Media.
Fri, Feb 3: Pole Dancing Competition at Wild Horse Saloon • 9:00 pm: Cash prize for first, second and third place.
Fri, Feb 3: Super Silent Disco Dance at 11th Street Station • 9:00 pm
Fri, Feb 3 - Sat, Feb 4: Snowdown Follies Videocast at Animas City Theatre • 6:30 & 9:30 pm: If you missed the ticket sales for the Snowdown Follies live event, watch the show on the big screen at the Animas City Theatre.
Fri, Feb 3 - Sat, Feb 4: Snowdown Follies at Durango Arts Center • 7:00 & 10:00 pm: Lively, outlandish and unforgettable, Snowdown Follies are a favorite event at Snowdown.
Sat, Feb 4: All's Well That Ends Well Best Chest Contest at Starlight Lounge • 10:00 pm
Sat, Feb 4: Shakespearean Preschool Soirée at Durango Public Library • 10:30 am - 12:00 pm: Dress up in your best Shakespearean inspired outfit and shake the morning away at a dance party for preschoolers and their adults.
Sat, Feb 4: Outlaw Josie Pete's Golf Tournament at Downtown Durango • 11:30 am: Golf tournament in the snow? Jump from business to business in downtown Durango and win the coveted prize of being the best golf team. This year's hosts include Gazpacho’s, 2nd Ave Deli, The Roost, Cuckoos, Diamond Belle Saloon, Balcony Bar and Grill, Father’s Daughters Pizza, The Garage, Fired Up Pizza, Starlight Lounge, El Rancho, Olde Tymers Café, Carvers Brewing Co, Taco Libre, Ernie’s 11th St Station, Durango Craft Spirits, The Elks Lodge, Lola’s Place, Seasons and Hermosa Coffee.
Sat, Feb 4: Broomball at Chapman Hill Ice Rink • 12:10 - 5:10 pm: Teams of six compete on the ice rink with wood handled brooms.
Sat, Feb 4: Canine Fashion Show at McDonalds Parking Lot • 1:00 pm: All leashed canines welcome. Categories are funniest, dress alike and Snowdown theme related.
Sat, Feb 4: Cornhole Tournament at American Legion Post 28 • 1:00 pm: Single elimination, 32 teams in brackets.
Sat, Feb 4: Hula Hoop Contest at Gazpacho Restaurant • 1:00 pm
Sat, Feb 4: Invention Convention at The Powerhouse • 1:00 pm: Dress in your finest heavy brocade, stockings, tight-fitting doublets and long billowing dresses and travel back in time.
Sat, Feb 4: Snowdown Limbo at Gazpacho Restaurant • 1:30 pm
Sat, Feb 4: No Tragedy Quaffing Tournament at 11th Street Station • 2:00 pm: A fun, fast paced and hysterical event.
Sat, Feb 4: Snowdown Outhouse Stuffing at Gazpacho Restaurant • 2:00 pm: Bring your friends for a fitting-in-the-privy experience that will bring you closer than you ever wanted to be for an entire 10 seconds.
Sat, Feb 4: Server Obstacle Course at Eso Terra Cider Durango • 4:00 - 6:00 pm: Bring your friends and enemies to gaze upon ye while you attempt to serve a tray through our obstacle course.
Sat, Feb 4: Outlaw Josie Pete's Golf Tournament Award Party at The Elks Club • 4:00 pm
Sat, Feb 4: Search For The Silver Bullet Award Ceremony at The Garage • 5:00 pm
Sat, Feb 4: Chili Cookoff & Bloody Mary Contest at La Plata County Fairgrounds • 7:00 am - 2:00 pm: One of Snowdown's biggest events and largest fundraiser. Put together a team, get your best costumes and recipes, and promote your business while raising money for Snowdown. Teams receive two 3x8 tables for prep work & decoration. Judges will sample all bloody marys and judge for overall best plus other categories. Guests can sample from noon to 2:00 pm and vote for people's choice.
Sat, Feb 4: Mercutio's Revenge at The Hive • 8:00 pm: Punk show featuring Heart Museum, Mommy Milkers, Lo-Cash Ninjas, Bad Fix, and special guest. $5 at the door.
Sat, Feb 4: Booty Shakin' Contest at Wild Horse Saloon • 9:00 pm: Cash prize for first, second and third place.
Sat, Feb 4 - Sun, Feb 5: Balloon Rally & Mass Ascension at Hwy 550 N at Lone Pine Dr • 8:00 am: Viewing can be done from Lone Pine Dr and North Animas Valley neighborhoods.
Sun, Feb 5: Pancake Breakfast & Silent Auction at La Plata County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall • 7:00 am: All you can eat pancakes, ham, eggs, coffee and juice.
Even though a large number of events will be 21+ only, in previous years, Snowdown has enlisted the help of a local organization (San Juan Basin Health Department's Operation Healthy Community Division ) to independently determine what events in town will be family friendly. There are plenty of venues around town offering fun things to do for all ages. Look for the Operation Healthy Community Seal of Approval on the official Snowdown event website.
Snowdown Kid & Teen Follies
The Snowdown Kid Follies are a popular annual Snowdown event that families love. Join in on the fun and watch as Durango's kids sing, dance, perform skits, share their comedic talents and more onstage at the Durango Arts Center. There are multiple performances for both the kid and teen Follies throughout the week, with a Best of Show performance following at the end of the week.More Events
Snowdown: What You Need to Know
Winter in Colorado is a long, dark time. Many days you'll find the sun hiding behind the mountains by midafternoon. Snowdown is a bright spot during the dark winter for Durango. Planning a trip to Durango during Snowdown means bracing yourself for a party of epic proportions. Here are a few things you need to know about Snowdown in Durango:
Who: Snowdown is planned and hosted each year by a non-profit committee and a board of nine directors. Many Durango businesses get in on the fun and host their own events, too. While many of Snowdown's events involve drinking and adult humor, there are many family friendly events and activities throughout the event as well.
What: Durango has been hosting a Snowdown celebration each winter for over 40 years. More than 100 events and activities are fit into a 5-day window. Beard growing contests, joke off, hot wing eating contest, beer plunge, outhouse stuffing and a light parade are all on the agenda.
When: This 5-day festival takes place each winter, usually during the last week in January or first of February. Snowdown 2023 will be from February 1st through the 5th..
Where: Durango, Colorado, tucked away in the Four Corners, is home to Snowdown. The festival spreads across town, with many local businesses hosting celebrations and events.