Frozen Dead Guy Days has a new home: Estes Park.
This beloved annual festival has been held in Nederland since 2002. Now, however, it’s venturing north.
Organizers had initially decided to cancel this year’s festival, citing operational hurdles after COVID-19, a lack of support from the Town of Nederland and other challenges.
But the team behind The Stanley Hotel and Visit Estes Park rallied to keep Frozen Dead Guy Days Alive. This year, it will be held March 17-19. You can buy tickets and book lodging packages online on the Frozen Dead Guy Days website.
The Royal Blue Ball will take place at The Stanley on March 17 and will feature performances from The Polis Ambassador, Eddie Roberts & Friends and Evanoff. On the same day, a welcome party will take place at Bond Park featuring A-Mac & The Height, as well as Chain Station.
The festivities will continue on March 18 at the Estes Park Events Complex with performances by Break Science, the Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Magic Beans, Bill & Jillian Nershi featuring Jason Hann, A-Mac & The Height, Toubab Krewe, Cycles, Tenth Mountain Division, Drunken Hearts, Shakedown Street, Tejon Street Corner Thieves, Banshee Tree, Brothers of Brass, Flash Mountain Flood, The Pamlico Sound and Living Room Band.
Other events throughout the weekend include coffin races, a fashion show, a brain freeze contest, a frozen t-shirt contest, frozen head bowling, a polar plunge, psychic readings, haunted tours, a ghost hunt and a Sunday brunch, to name a few. There will also be tons of food trucks, plus after-parties at various bars in Estes.
If you never made it up to Nederland for Frozen Dead Guy Days, or you could just a refresher on the story behind this quirky festival, here’s the gist. A Norwegian named Bredo Morstoel, aka Grandpa Bredo, died of a heart condition in 1989. His family covered his corpse in dry ice and shipped it to a California cryonics facility, where he was frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Four years later, they once again moved his frozen body, this time to Colorado. Grandpa Bredo’s Colorado-based daughter Aud Morstoel and his grandson Trygve Bauge both strongly believed that cryonics—freezing dead bodies in the hopes that they could someday be revived—were the wave of the future; they even hoped to someday open their own cryonics facility. The corpse stayed, on ice, in a shed for many years near Bauge’s home in Nederland.
Because of a visa issue in the mid-1990s, Bauge had to move out of the country and could no longer take care of Grandpa Bredo’s frozen body. Aud Morstoel stepped in to help. The city tried to evict Aud Morstoel for living in a home with no plumbing or electricity and, understandably, she worried that if she had to move out of her home, Grandpa Bredo’s corpse would defrost. Well, the city found out about Grandpa Bredo’s body, too, and told Aud Morstoel she needed to get rid of it.
The story went viral and, as a result, the Town of Nederland made an exception to its rules and allowed Grandpa Bredo’s corpse to stay. Ever since, a rotating crew of caretakers has ensured that the body stays frozen.
And what will happen to Grandpa Bredo’s corpse now that the festival has moved to Estes Park?
John Cullen, who owns The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, tells KUNC that Granpa Bredo will probably stay put in Nederland. However, according to Westword, Grandpa Bredo could end up moving back to his native Norway or, possibly, he may end up in Estes Park after all. Only time will tell.
The most recent Grandpa Bredo caretaker, Brad Wickham, retired in March of last year and, according to the Mountain Ear, passed the torch to Amanda Macdonald, the former co-owner and event coordinator for Frozen Dead Guy Days.