We asked what residents think is worth preserving. Hereâ€™s what they said.
YOUR GUIDE TO
CONTENTS 7 So many parks, so little time
25 What do you mean you haven’t been on the Fort Collins’ trolley?
9 Spring Canyon Community Park offers big views, big fun, even for a dog
27 Fort Collins Symphony holds a big place in my heart and Fort Collins
11 Fort Collins natural areas and trails connect us to nature, peace amid growth
28 The Lyric brings back communal experience of movie-going
14 Soapstone Prairie a home for wildlife, a place for us to connect with nature
32 Why we love The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
18 Fort Collins craft breweries make growing city feel small again
34 Online guide to the Colorado outdoors
20 Like Fort Collins, Odell brewery has grown while maintaining its unique feel 22 Old Town brings diverse people together 23 Old Town holiday lights brighten our hearts and reignite childlike wonder 24 Shambhala Mountain retreat for the curious, who seek spiritual guidance
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Sean Hall, known as DJ Wadada, puts on his headphones at the silent disco during FoCoMX on April 27, 2018, at Old Town Square in Fort Collins. Timothy Hurst/The Coloradoan
REBECCA POWELL IS A CONTENT COACH AT THE COLORADOAN.
6 » FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO
Northern Colorado isn’t the same anymore. The population, of course, has grown — Fort Collins alone has nearly doubled in the past 30 years and it grew about 14 percent in the past 10 years — and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. With that, there are negatives and positives, depending on your point of view. Growth has brought more traffic and development, but also more economic opportunities, innovation and workers. We asked Northern Colorado residents to share some of the things that make the place they call home great. We asked them to tell us, in the midst of change, what they think is worth preserving. In most cases, the places, events and features they chose either preserve a quiet, leisurely or nostalgic way of life or contribute to our community connectedness. You can read about them in this edition. In the coming year, we will continue to explore the ways growth is affecting our community of Northern Colorado and how regional leadership is influencing the direction. One thing is certain: Northern Colorado will continue to look different with each passing decade. For now, here’s what residents think is worth preserving.
Finn Garwood, 7, climbs his way up a wall on the playground at Fossil Creek Park in 2017. Timothy Hurst/ The Coloradoan
SO MANY PARKS, SO LITTLE TIME BY HOLLY ENGELMAN
Children swarm the playground at Twin Silo Park in south Fort Collins. Coloradoan Library
From large to small, amenities abound at the city of Fort Collins’ community, neighborhood and pocket parks. If you’re a parent or anyone who takes care of young children, you know how critical parks are when your little one needs to run wild and take in some fresh Colorado air. Fort Collins is teeming with parks — from large community ones to FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 7
Sawyer Garwood, 3, spins at the playground at Fossil Creek Park in 2017. Timothy Hurst/ The Coloradoan
LEARN MORE ABOUT FORT COLLINS PARKS
According to the city of Fort Collins website, there are seven community parks and 43 neighborhood/ pocket parks. Parks are open daily between the hours of 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Visit https://www.fcgov. com/parks/ to see a list and map of the city’s parks. Year-round restrooms a must? Horseshoe pits the centerpiece of your picnic gathering? The website also allows you to search for the perfect park for your family with a filter feature.
little pocket ones. Here are a few of our family’s favorites: TWIN SILO COMMUNITY PARK It is one of the city’s newest community parks, opening in November 2017. The 54acre park at 5552-5564 Ziegler Road honors south Fort Collins’ agricultural heritage by incorporating two 48-foot-tall silos into the park’s playground design. In addition, the park features an orchard, a dog park and community gardens, among other things, according to the city of Fort Collins park planning and development website. Why is Twin Silo fun for kids? This park is a blast because, thanks to the agriculture theme, the playground has really unique equipment — items you won’t see anywhere else in Fort Collins. FOSSIL CREEK PARK Also in south Fort Collins at 5821 S. Lemay Ave., this park was established in 2003 and is unique for its prehistoricthemed playground. The play area is bordered on two sides with rocky areas — with inclines ranging from gradual to steep — that are fun for kids to climb on. The 99.5-acre park includes hockey and splash areas, a picnic area and much more. Why is Fossil Creek Park fun for kids? This park is especially fun because of one main thing: the mammoth feature. According to the city of Fort Collins, during the construc-
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tion phase of the park, mammoth bones were discovered, so the feature was included in honor of the find, and it’s a big hit with kids who enjoy climbing the big guy. YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD PARK Sometimes, the best park is the one down the street from your house — a neighborhood park. Fort Collins has a ton of them. Among the newest is Crescent Park, located at Maple Hill and Bar Harbor drives in north Fort Collins. This 7-acre park is small but mighty with a tall play structure with twisty slides, a smaller structure for little kids, a gathering area and lots of green space. Why is Crescent Park fun for kids? The super-tall slides provide lots of excitement and enjoyment for kids of all ages. Beyond these three parks, the amenities across the city’s many play areas are vast: ballfields (with and without lights), BMX/bike trails and courses, disc golf courses, fishing opportunities, horseshoe pits, year-round restrooms, tennis courts and water features. To see full list of amenities at Twin Silo, Fossil Creek and Crescent parks, or to learn more about the city’s other parks and find your perfect park match, visit https://www. fcgov.com/parks/. HOLLY ENGELMAN IS PLANNING EDITOR FOR THE COLORADOAN AND A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT.
Dogs run free at Spring Canyon Dog Park. Coloradoan Library
SPRING CANYON COMMUNITY PARK OFFERS BIG VIEWS, BIG FUN, EVEN FOR A DOG BY JESSICA KATER
Almost three years ago, my (now) husband and I moved to Fort Collins from the East Coast with our dog, Riley, riding shotgun. It’s funny, really, how we ended up here. We literally took an online quiz that asks questions in multiple categories and then matches your top 25 US cities that most match what you are looking for. Fort Collins, Colorado was on that list. Hello! Rocky Mountains, upbeat people who like to be outdoors and some of the happiest and friendliest people in the U.S.! We packed up and made the almost 2,000 mile trip and haven’t looked back. One of our top priorities was finding a park that would suit Riley. He was accustomed to daily family walks and loved to be outside. Fort Collins has lots of beautiful parks and outdoor spaces so we had a lot to choose from. We were blessed to find Spring Canyon Community Park less than a 10 minute drive from us. We were not prepared, however, by how this park would transform our lives.
SPRING CANYON COMMUNITY PARK
WHERE: 2626 W. Horsetooth Road, Fort Collins
AMENITIES: Accessible playground, dog park, bike trail, skate park, shelters, water play feature, veterans memorial, tennis courts and sports fields, horseshoe pit, easy access to Spring Creek Trail and Pineridge Natural Area WHAT IT’S KNOWN FOR: Inspiration Playground, designed to be universally accessible to all children
INFORMATION: Get details on more Fort Collins parks at https://www.fcgov.com/parks/
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 9
Thomas Bernhoff skates the bowl at Spring Canyon Community Park. Coloradoan Library
JESSICA KATER LIVES IN LOVELAND WITH HER HUSBAND, BRUCE, AND DOGS RILEY AND ROXY.
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Our first day there was early June, the fields were carpeted in a deep green grass, and the sky was bright blue. The contrast was breathtaking. The views of Horsetooth Mountain were also captivating. The sheer size of it allowed for plenty of exploration that continues to this day. The breeze was refreshing against the warm sun, and Riley looked the happiest we had seen him in some time. We made the trip there almost daily for about a year, always finding a corner or trail to explore or relax. Spring Canyon has something for everyone â€Ś you can walk, run, bike, play in the kids park or on one of the numerous sports fields, skateboard, fly a kite, have a picnic, let your dog run in the (amazing!) dog park or simply sit and take in the fresh mountain air and sunshine. Priceless. We have since moved to Loveland and do not get the opportunity to make a daily trip, but we make sure that Riley (and his new sister Roxy) get a chance to run and play in the place that solidified everything we thought life in Colorado would be: Spring Canyon Community Park.
Cyclists enjoy the peace and quiet of the Cathy Fromme Prairie in southwest Fort Collins in this file photo. Coloradoan Library
FORT COLLINS NATURAL AREAS AND TRAILS CONNECT US TO NATURE, PEACE AMID GROWTH When the days start to get long enough that I don’t have to sneak out of work early to spend some time in Fort Collins’ backyard, I find myself heading to city’s natural areas. There are 49 of them, and now it’s my personal mission to visit each one. That’ll be challenging because I just can’t stop visiting my favorite ones.
Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area is a place where you can still find yourself all alone as you traverse some rolling hills and take in views of the foothills. Its dryland grasses and flowers change with the seasons, and its reedy wetlands are full of sounds in the summer: birds I certainly can’t name and bugs that, thankfully, leave me alone. On those days when I really need to untangle my brain, I can make it a longer diversion, starting from the parking lot on Shields Street and going all the way to Spring Canyon Community Park and back, for a 4-mile round trip.
BY REBECCA POWELL
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 11
Wildflowers at Cathy Fromme Natural Area. Coloradoan Library
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And this is one of the things that makes Fort Collins’ outdoor recreation truly special: the continuation of trails across the city and through these natural spaces. For me, it makes it tempting to keep going when I should instead turn around and go home. Nearby Pineridge Natural Area takes a little more intention to get to if you’re coming from Spring Canyon park but offers stunning views of the jagged foothills. If you don’t feel like stopping there, just cross the road and step into Maxwell Natural Area, where you can hike up to the “A” or Horsetooth Reservior or join with more trails through more open spaces managed by Larimer County.
My new favorite is Arapahoe Bend Natural Area, where you can either walk on a paved trail between fishing ponds or take the dirt trails into more wooded areas. Then you can keep going (of course) and cross over to Ridgen Reservoir, where you’ll find the remains of the historic Strauss Cabin, one of the first log cabins built here. Or you’ll try to guess where the locally famous Council Tree actually stood and imagine the Native American chiefs holding council underneath its massive frame. All of these spaces are here for me to enjoy because voters in the past thought these they were worth preserving. They approved county and city sales taxes to fund their acquisition.
Western meadowlark at Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area. Miles Blumhardt/ The Coloradoan
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As Fort Collins grows rapidly, I will keep looking to these places for a reprieve from traffic and noise. And even though I expect to find more new Fort Collins residents out on the trails and in the natural spaces than I see now, I am optimistic these lands will remain the wilder places that they were designated to be. After all, if our natural areas and trails are among the things that makes Fort Collins so appealing to others, I’m hopeful that means we’ll all strive to treat them with respect and enjoy them together. REBECCA POWELL IS A CONTENT COACH AT THE COLORADOAN AND A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT.
FORT COLLINS NATURAL AREAS CATHY FROMME NATURAL AREA: Park in the lot off Shields Street (south of Harmony Road and north of Fossil Creek Drive) or park in the lot on Fromme Prairie Way, accessible via Harmony Road and Seneca Street.
PINERIDGE NATURAL AREA: Park it the lot on Larimer County Road 42C a mile south of the old Hughes Stadium, or in the lot at the west end of Horsetooth Road (through Spring Canyon Community Park).
ARAPAHOE BEND NATURAL AREA: In east Fort Collins, between Horsetooth and Harmony roads, and Interstate 25 and Strauss Cabin Road. There are three parking lots, one at the east end of Horsetooth Road, one on Strauss Cabin between Horsetooth and Harmony, and at the Harmony Transportation Center. MAXWELL NATURAL AREA: Park in the lot off of Larimer County Road 42C, west of Overland Trail and southwest of the old Hughes Stadium site. Do not park on the main road.
Boating safety, access hours and information: larimer.org/naturalresources (970) 619-4570
And there are 45 more. For information on all of them, including maps, visit www.fcgov. com/naturalareas. FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 13
A herd of bison is pictured at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area north of Fort Collins. Coloradoan Library
SOAPSTONE PRAIRIE A HOME FOR WILDLIFE, A PLACE FOR US TO CONNECT WITH NATURE BY KYLIE SCHUMACHER
It’s late afternoon and the sun is starting to set over the rolling hills of the shortgrass prairie and distant mountains to the west. The landscape glows vibrant orange. We stand in a half circle, about 10 of us or so, surrounding a portable, plastic kennel. Upon first sight it seems to be some strange ritual. A young girl slowly opens the cage door. Everyone holds their breath with great anticipation. There is movement inside. Out runs a long slender body with black feet and tail and panda eyes. It runs a few yards, stops, and turns around. To the romantic, it’s a thank you and a nod goodbye. To the realist, it’s curiosity and wariness in its new surroundings. We watch as Mustela nigripes, better
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known as the black-footed ferret, pounces off into the sunset. Just 30 miles north of Fort Collins, there is a chunk of public land that is home to two of the greatest wildlife success stories of modern times. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area boasts 28 miles of open vistas, pristine grasslands, trails, and rich cultural history. It is part of the Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains project, a conservation effort to create a corridor of protected lands that hosts an abundant diversity of flora and fauna. More notably, it’s home to highly successful black footed ferret and bison recovery efforts.
ABOVE: A black-footed ferret is pictured at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. Kylie Schumacher TOP LEFT: Richard Hohm, left, and John Ball, both of Fort Collins, ride their mountain bikes at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in 2012. Coloradoan Library BOTTOM LEFT: A black-footed ferret is released at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area north of Fort Collins. Kylie Schumacher
Due to the fur trade, plague and outbreaks of distemper, black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct until 1981, when a small population was found in Meteetsee, Wyoming. These individuals were captured and created the foundations for a captive breeding program that continues today. The city of Fort Collins, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, has reintroduced blackfooted ferrets at Soapstone, where prairie dog colonies are managed to support reintroduction. Sharing a similar story line, the once populous American bison, an iconic species of the American West, reached near extinction due to the fur trade and market hunting. As a part of nationwide recovery efforts, the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd was reintroduced into Soapstone in 2015. These bison are descendants of the Yellowstone National Park herd, a herd valued for its unique genetics. Thanks to special reproductive efforts through CSU, the herd is
also free from brucellosis, a disease of great concern to cattle and other wildlife species. I’ll leave you on an important note. Efforts such as these would not be possible without large, continuous tracts of public land to reintroduce these species onto. With increased development along the Front Range and west into the Rocky Mountains, wildlife are losing valuable habitat, and migration corridors are being fragmented. Public land isn’t just for wildlife, either. Without these protected areas, we lose opportunities to hike, bike, climb, camp, hunt, fish and wildlife watch. So when I’m asked what about Northern Colorado is most worth visiting and preserving, Soapstone Prairie Natural Area comes to mind, but I cannot think of any better answer than public land.
KYLIE SCHUMACHER IS A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT, WILDLIFE TECHNICIAN AND REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF COLORADO’S BACKCOUNTRY HUNTERS AND ANGLERS CHAPTER.
SOAPSTONE PRAIRIE NATURAL AREA
WHERE: Soapstone Prairie is 25 miles north of Fort Collins. From Fort Collins, take Colorado Highway 1/ Terry Lake Road to County Road 15 north. Turn north onto Rawhide Flats Road and continue north to the entrance station. The route includes nine miles of gravel road that can be dusty, rough and bumpy, so allow about an hour of travel time. HOURS: Open daily from dawn to dusk in March to November. OF NOTE: Dogs are not allowed. INFORMATION: https://www.fcgov.com/ naturalareas/finder/ soapstone
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 15
Avoid the sting Red. Itchy. Irritating. Unsightly. Did we mention itchy? Nobody likes to spend their summer scratching and uncomfortable, but the bigger concern isn’t the bite itself, it is the possibility of infection with a disease. West Nile Virus has become a yearly presence in Colorado, and unfortunately there is at least one human casualty from the disease every year. The City of Fort Collins has implemented a multi-faceted plan to combat the spread of the disease and monitor the levels of infection in the local mosquito populations. Early in the spring, bodies of water are tested and treated to combat the mosquitos in their larval
stage, before they take to the air. To monitor the adult populations later in the season, traps have been set up all over the city. These traps are checked on a regular basis to determine the portion of mosquitos throughout the city who are carriers of the disease. While the West Nile infection rates generally remain low, if they reach a certain level the City will implement their spraying program to kill the adult population of mosquitos. This program is designed to protect the city residents from disease, but business owners who wish to opt out of the program
are invited to do so on the City of Fort Collins’ website (http://www.fcgov. com/westnile/). The biggest thing that everyone can do to combat West Nile Virus in their own everyday life is prevent the development of more mosquitos, and protect themselves from being infected. The City provides a free backyard inspection to help homeowners keep their properties mosquito-free. Additionally, the City of Fort Collins recommends 4 easy steps to minimize the risk for each individual, and in turn reduce the risk for the population as a whole.
Dusk thru Dawn
Don’t leave standing water around outdoor areas. Whenever possible, drain away standing water, since this is where mosquitos breed and lay eggs. Any small puddle, flower pot full of rainwater, clogged rain gutter, or kiddie pool sitting in the backyard is like a mosquito Club Med. Keep those frisky bugs at bay by keeping things dry.
Half-light times are the most active for the little biters. While dusk especially is a popular time for outdoor activities in the summer, try to limit this time whenever possible.
Bug spray is your friend! Any repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency will be safe and effective when used according to the label. There are many mosquito specific solutions, as well as organic options to try. Search out an approved repellent, and don’t be afraid to use it!
Even in the summer, long sleeves and pants are a good idea. Keeping your skin covered in light colored and loose fitting clothing is one of the best ways to prevent mosquito bites. Unfortunately lightweight and tight fitting clothes allow the little buggers to bite right through, so try to choose something that covers and does not fit too snugly.
BUZZ WITH THE
Mosquitoes breed in water! Drain any standing water in your yard each week.
Keeping covered will do a lot to prevent biting.
Use an approved repellent according to its label.
Mosquitoes are most active dusk through dawn.
fcgov.com/westnile Auxiliary aids and services are available for persons with disabilities.
Patrons pack Maxline Brewing in Fort Collins. Coloradoan Library
FORT COLLINS CRAFT BREWERIES MAKE GROWING CITY FEEL SMALL AGAIN BY SADY SWANSON
In the Napa Valley of Beer, there are no names more famous than Anheuser-Busch, New Belgium or Odell. But Fort Collins’ fantastic beer scene goes far beyond the internationally recognized hometown breweries. Hidden in strip malls across town are more than 20 small breweries with hidden patios, impressive live music and — most importantly — delicious beer. Dodge the Old Town crowds at Equinox or Prost brewing companies, and enjoy secluded patios steps away from Old Town dining and entertainment while feeling like you’re in the mountains, not in the busiest section of town. Gather family and friends — young kids included — at Intersect Brewing
18 » FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO
in west Fort Collins, which has an indoor and outdoor children’s play area. Intersect is one of many breweries that host trivia. Or you can hop over to Maxline Brewing in midtown for Bingo on Monday nights. Maxline — like pretty much every smaller brewery — has an unexpectedly enjoyable patio, especially with it located in the brewery’s parking lot. Head over on a sunny afternoon with you dog to meet some friends and grab a board game from the shelf near the bar to play while enjoying your Peach Mango Pale Ale, saison or coffee porter.
Clockwise from left Kayla Thomas, L’amour Johnson, Patrick McNeill, Lindsey Taylor, Chelsey Urdahl and Bradley Reider react to a question during a Geeks Who Drink pub quiz at Intersect Brewing in Fort Collins. Timothy Hurst/The Coloradoan
From left, Bruce Peters, Taryn Davids and Lisa Summers enjoy an evening at Equinox Brewing in 2014, in Fort Collins. Coloradoan Library
Nathan Kaczmarek helps custumers at Equinox Brewing in 2014, in Fort Collins. Coloradoan Library
Light and dark beers, saisons and sours can be found almost anywhere, and no matter where you go, you’re bound to find something you like. As someone who had trouble finding beer I liked at first, ask the people behind the bar for recommendations. You could be asking the person who brewed the beer themselves. Bring your pooch to pretty much any place for some special attention. Maxline’s employees — and possibly the owner — will most likely come by and pet your pup if you bring them in. Stop into Funkwerks for unique flavors, their can’t-miss saison, and some of the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet. No one to go with? Bring a book and sit at the community table to meet new people and enjoy some live music. Head to Purpose Brewing, another hidden beer treasure, for unique beers and the sought out small-town vibe: The owner will definitely come say “hi” to you at some point. With the hustle and bustle of out-oftown guests and tourists visiting the well-known Anheuser-Busch, New
Belgium and Odell breweries, everyone is still friendly, still waves hello, and still makes small talk while petting each other’s dogs. And of course, I enjoy sitting on New Belgium’s patio after attending a free tour, visiting the Clydesdales at Budweiser, or sipping a Sippin’ Pretty by Odell’s fire pit on a warm night. But to me, nothing compares to the friendly, peaceful atmosphere of a tiny craft brewery. While I only named a few of the city’s small craft breweries, there are plenty more breweries and plenty more ways to explore the Fort Collins beer scene. And with more and more craft breweries popping up every year, stepping inside each one continues to feel like its own community, and makes you feel like you’re in a small town again.
SADY SWANSON COVERS CRIME, COURTS, PUBLIC SAFETY AND MORE THROUGHOUT NORTHERN COLORADO. SHE IS A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT.
Funkwerks taproom manager Kipp Powell, right, answers a question from Jason Pliego, Friday, August 4, 2017, during a tour of the Funkwerks brewery in Fort Collins. Timothy Hurst/ The Coloradoan
SOME OF FORT COLLINS’ SMALL BREWERIES
EQUINOX BREWING: 133 Remington St., Fort Collins, (970) 484-1368, equinoxbrewing.com
PROST BREWING: 321 Old Firehouse Alley, Fort Collins, 970-484-2421, prostbrewing.com INTERSECT BREWING: 2160 W. Drake Road, Unit A1, Fort Collins, 970-682-2041, intersectbrewing.com
MAXLLINE BREWING: 2724 McClelland Drive, Unit 190, Fort Collins, 970-286-2855, maxlinebrewing.com FUNKWERKS: 900 E. Lincoln Ave., Unit B, Fort Collins, 482-3865, funkwerks.com PURPOSE BREWING AND CELLARS: 4025 S. Mason St. Unit C, Fort Collins, 970-377-4107, purposebrewing.com
FORT COLLINS’ BIG BREWERIES ODELL BREWING: 800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins, 970-498-9070, odellbrewing.com NEW BELGIUM BREWING: 500 Linden St., Fort Collins, 970-221-0524, newbelgium.com
THE BIERGARTEN AT ANHEUSER-BUSCH: 2531 Busch Drive, 970-490-4691, www.budweisertours.com FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 19
s ’ r u b l Wi Total e g a r e v e B app e h t d a o l n dow
Kyle Huffman talks to a friend over beers on the patio at Odell Brewing. Coloradoan Library
LIKE FORT COLLINS, ODELL BREWERY HAS GROWN WHILE MAINTAINING ITS UNIQUE FEEL The brewery at 800 E. Lincoln Ave. in Fort Collins has one of the city’s most relaxing patios. BY ERIC LARSEN
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Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: There’s a lesser-known place in Colorado that, while smaller than its more popular sibling, enjoys a widespread reputation for quality without some of the hassles associated with its big brother. That narrative has been shared for years about Fort Collins in relation to Denver. While our city can’t compete with the Mile High City’s volume metrics, it enjoys a cult-like following as a top place to live, work and visit. The same could be said for the leaders of Fort Collins’ vaunted craft beer scene. New Belgium is the clear No. 1. Its best-in-class brewery tours draw 20 » FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO
thousands to the city every year. Fat Tire introduced the amber ale to the masses, and La Folie ushered in the era of the sour beer in the United States. Images of New Belgium’s iconic red cruisers punctuate our city’s landscape and speak to a larger theme of how the brewery’s corporate culture has both embraced and influenced that of Fort Collins culture writ large. Standing at the finish line of this year’s Horsetooth Half Marathon, I couldn’t help but feel a swell of civic pride as two of my oldest
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Eddy Anderson and Sienna Valente-Blough enjoy a set by No Doubt About It at Odell Brewing Co. during the FoCoMX XI music festival on April 26, 2019, in Fort Collins. Tanya Fabian/For The Coloradoan
Recipes & More People sit on the patio at Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins in this July 2015. Coloradoan Library
friends, who traveled from Oregon for the race, marveled at New Belgium’s expanded grounds. Fort Collins owes Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch a debt of gratitude for the vision that turned their neighborhood brewery into an international icon. But as we at the Coloradoan asked readers for essays on what was central to their experience of living in Fort Collins — for what was so uniquely “here” — my thoughts kept turning to the patio at Odell Brewing Co. It was the first place where, seven years ago, I began to bond with the amazing journalists who I’ve had the pleasure to deliver the news with over these years. It’s where I’ve sat and pondered the Rocky Mountains in quiet moments that have only enhanced my appreciation for this place I call home. It’s where I’ve celebrated birthdays and promotions, graduation parties and fond farewells. It’s one of the first places my wife and I dared to take our daughter as we ventured out in the weeks after she was born. There’s a gravitational pull of that patio that sucks me in whenever I think of going anywhere else. Maybe that’s why it feels so much like our
larger Fort Collins community to me. Sure, it’s changed over the years. It’s a bit bigger and more crowded than I’d like on some days. Parking can be a pain, but I can use the walk — either down from Odell’s upper lot or from Old Town’s outskirts. The ironic, disaffected hipsters have found the place, too, and that’s not my favorite. But maybe I’m starting to lose touch with what it’s like to be young as I near my 40s and have a toddler in tow. But it’s a comfortable place and one where the occasional worker still knows me by my first name, often to my surprise. It’s a place for serendipitous run-ins with old acquaintances who I’ve not seen in some time. It’s where I’ve hashed out differences with sources and contemplated big decisions with my wife. It’s always centered me back to what I love about Fort Collins: the people, the mountains, the climate and the creativity. And the beer is pretty good, too. ERIC LARSEN IS EDITOR OF THE COLORADOAN AND A TIMNATH RESIDENT.
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 21
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OLD TOWN BRINGS DIVERSE PEOPLE TOGETHER BY RENEE EASTERBROOK
ABOUT OLD TOWN FORT COLLINS Old Town is the downtown region of Fort Collins, springing from Old Town Square. You’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, interspersed with charming alleyways and plazas with spaces for play or relaxation.
Colorado may be the least uniquely shaped state in the U.S., and Fort Collins itself might just be one of the many cities that this unobtrusive state contains, but to the lucky few who find themselves living or visiting here, it is so much more than that. Many factors make this place a true home. Yet after growing up here, I have discovered certain places make me cherish my home the most. The best example of this is Old Town, the only part of Fort Collins that feels like a home that is not my house. Whether it is winter with the twinkling lights penetrating solemn evenings, or in the summer when the streets are filled with shoppers, bags and bodies gently brushing against each other, Old Town is an indispensable part of the Fort Collins environment because it gives a taste of all the things that Fort Collins stands for. The first thing that Old Town represents for me is diversity. The assortment of restaurants and the plethora of things you can experience in Old Town exemplify all the different cultures and ways of living that are accepted and demonstrated in Fort Collins, making it the unique town that it is. Just by looking at the people walking by, you get a sense that here, nobody has the same past, present or future, and this is a key factor for the way that Fort Collins is welcoming to all. The most important part of Old Town, for me, is the variety of experiences and
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June Gillespie isn’t quite sure what to make of the water jets as other children play in the splash pad on June 6, 2018, at Old Town Square in Fort Collins. Timothy Hurst/The Coloradoan
activities that take place there. You can find yourself window shopping in myriad stores that offer nearly anything you may desire. Or possibly taking a class on an unexplored hobby. An example of this would be a cooking class, which I have taken on multiple occasions. Whether you consider yourself an impressive cook or a novice attempting to figure out how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, these sorts of activities are best experienced in one spot. Most shopping is being replaced by online stores, yet shopping in Old Town is an experience as well as a way to get important items. I cherish the way the Old Town brings people together. I have spent countless evenings with my family out in the midst of Old Town, and I always leave those special gatherings feeling like we have been brought together. Through the activities and festivals that take place, you also get an opportunity to meet and connect with people that you may not have thought that you had anything in common with at first. You can never know Fort Collins until you have discovered the joys of Old Town. No matter what you may crave, this place contains all the diversity of Fort Collins, and that is exactly what we need as a town.
RENEE EASTERBROOK IS A STUDENT AT KINARD MIDDLE SCHOOL.
Dejan Markovikj and Jennifer Fermin take a photo after the holiday lights are turned on in Old Town on November 2, 2018. Coloradoan Library
OLD TOWN HOLIDAY LIGHTS BRIGHTEN OUR HEARTS AND REIGNITE CHILDLIKE WONDER BY JEN HEFTY
DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY LIGHTING CEREMONY
WHAT HAPPENS: Usually the ceremony features refreshments, music, entertainment and a group countdown to the “flip of the switch.” Oftentimes, 3D glasses make the experience more magical for the kids — and the adults. WHEN: Usually takes place the first Friday in November. Exact date and time for 2019 TBD.
WHERE: The annual event takes place in Oak Street Plaza COST: Free
MORE INFORMATION: https:// downtownfortcollins.com/ event/downtown-holidaylighting-ceremony/
There’s something magical about winter in Fort Collins. One flip of a switch takes a time of year I typically dread and turns it into something utterly breathtaking. From early November through Valentine’s Day each year, 100,000 white twinkling lights dance through the trees of Old Town Fort Collins every evening starting at dusk. The display truly makes it the most wonderful time of the year in Northern Colorado. A few years back, out-of-state family members were visiting me in Fort Collins just before Christmas. They’re beer lovers, so we mulled which of the 20-plus Fort Collins breweries we would try that night. Then it hit me; we needed to go to Old Town. “You HAVE to see the lights,” I told my aunt. Holiday lights? She was initially unimpressed at the notion. What could be so special about a traditional holiday lights display? But she was willing to come along for the ride, and for the beer. As we turned from Riverside Avenue onto Mountain Avenue, she was instantly awestruck. “It’s. So. Pretty,” she said, her face pressed against my car window with childlike excitement and wonder.
We walked all around Old Town that night — after our beer tasting at Equinox and dinner at CooperSmith’s — just taking in the magic despite the chilly weather. The beautiful Fort Collins tradition — which does bring with it a hefty price tag — is brought to the community through a partnership between the Downtown Business Association, Downtown Development Authority and the Fort Collins Parks Department, with help from sponsors each year. The low-energy LED lights can be seen along College Avenue — stretching from Magnolia Street on the south to Laporte Avenue on the north. Trees along Walnut Street, Linden Street, Pine Street, Old Town Square, Oak Street Plaza and Mountain Avenue twinkle throughout the duration of the display. If you’re not up for taking a stroll through Old Town to one of the areas many bars, breweries, shops and restaurants, you can always catch a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Whether you’re in town for a day or a week, if it’s wintertime, be sure to experience the magic of the holiday lights.
JEN HEFTY IS THE COLORADOAN’S CONTENT STRATEGIST AND A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT.
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 23
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is shown after being blessed by The Dalai Lama during a gathering of about 2700 people at The Shambhala Mountain Center northwest of Fort Collins Sunday Sept. 17, 2006. Coloradoan Library
People meditate inside the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Red Feather Lakes, CO. Coloradoan Library
SHAMBHALA MOUNTAIN RETREAT IS FOR THE CURIOUS, WHO SEEK SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE Shambhala Center is worth the hour-long drive BY PAT FERRIER
SHAMBHALA MOUNTAIN CENTER RETREAT
WHEN: The stupa is open f rom 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.daily for public visitation. Meditation sits are from 8-9 a.m., noon to 12:30 p.m., 5:30-6:30 p.m. daily in summer and 5-6 p.m. in spring.
WHERE: To visit Shambhala Mountain Center take U.S. Highway 287 to Livermore, then get on to County Road 74E, also known as Red Feather Lakes Road, for 12.8 miles. Turn left on to County Road 68C (the Boy Scout Road), just past the blue and white sign “Shambhala Mountain Center - 5 miles.” Turn left at the entrance to the center at 151 Shambhala Way. 24 » FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO
Something special happens when you stand in front of or inside the 108foot tall Great Stupa of Dharmakaya or hike the trails at the Shambhala Mountain Center Retreat in Red Feather Lakes. Some experience a spiritual awakening, others find a sense of calm and peace. And some find it a place of hope in the midst of uncertainty. The Shambhala Mountain Center, a sacred Buddhist retreat surrounded by 600 acres of natural splendor, is an unexpected find in the foothills of Northern Colorado. Nestled among ponderosa pines, aspens, bright blue sky and rock outcroppings about an hour northwest of Fort Collins, the retreat is a place to shut out the noise, shed the distractions and think, reflect, pray, meditate or just be among the quiet. Although the heart of the Shambhala Mountain center is the Stupa, the center itself offers year-round retreats featuring Shambhala teachings including indigenous wisdom traditions, body awareness practices, contemplative arts, mindful living, wellness, yoga, meditation and more. Built as an homage to center founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
after his death, construction on the stupa began in 1988 and it was consecrated in 2001. It is one of the most significant examples of sacred Buddhist architecture in North America, according to its website. The Dalai Lama visited in 2006, blessing the center and delivering a message about the role of compassion in global leaders. It was the first visit to Colorado in nine years for the religious leader of Tibet and the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work promoting self-determinism for the Tibetan people while opposing violence. Considered the heart of the Shambhala center, the stupa stands for compassion and peace and is believed to promote health, harmony, prosperity, longevity and peace, bringing together the physical environment with the wisdom and blessings of Rinpoche. A giant Buddha greets the curious, those who come to find spiritual guidance or meditate on the cushions below.
PAT FERRIER IS A SENIOR REPORTER COVERING BUSINESS, HEALTH CARE AND GROWTH ISSUES IN NORTHERN COLORADO. SHE IS A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT
Maddox Sorenson, of Loveland, waves a flag as he waits to ride the Fort Collins City Railway’s trolley during the Fourth of July 2013 celebration at City Park. Sorenson is held by his mother Jhoni. Coloradoan Library
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T BEEN ON THE FORT COLLINS TROLLEY? It is amazing that many new and older residents have never seen or ridden the most incredible Fort Collins Municipal Railway Streetcar operation on West Mountain Avenue. You can ride along for over a 3-mile round trip down a tree-lined street passing beautiful historic homes just like citizens did from 1919 to 1951. Other than Old Town, the trolley is our biggest pride and visitor attraction in Fort Collins. People used it to go to work, to shop, to play and you can do that again as it is operating the first weekend in May to last weekend in September, noon to 5 p.m. and holidays. The volunteer 75 motormen, conductors and depot agents have now operated the car longer than the city did historically, from 1985 to 2019 so far. On May 19 of this year, we celebrated 100 years since Trolley Car No. 21 arrived in Fort Collins! It is Car 21’s birthday! This Fort Collins treasure is entered in the national, state and local Registers of Historic Places. People come from all over the world to ride it. Here it is right in our community for all to enjoy.
When the trolleys were taken out in 1951, we were the smallest city in the nation to have a trolley, we were the last to operate in Colorado (there were 12 systems — Denver gave it up in 1950), we had the lowest fare in the nation, and it was the last Birney Car operation on the North America continent. A goal is to have the trolley, entire line, and original 1907 Streetcar Barn become a National Historic Landmark, a step above National Register, putting it in the same class as Mesa Verde, Red Rocks Park, and Lindenmeier Site. When it was described to the Keeper of the Register in Washington, D.C., she said “write it up!” The trolley is owned by the city, but after years of deterioration, in the 1980s, it had a “ground-up” restoration at no cost to the city by the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society Inc. FCMRS is a nonprofit, 501(c) (3), all-volunteer organization. They re-built over a mile and half of railroad track buried two feet in the median, re-built 100-foot concrete street crossings, moved 70 trees,
BY CAROL TUNNER
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 25
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LEFT: Four-year-old Emma Barnes enjoys her first ever trolley ride while sitting with her dad Jim in 2007. Coloradoan Library
ABOUT THE FORT COLLINS MUNICIPAL RAILWAY
WHERE: Railway runs on Mountain Avenue between City Park, 1501 W. Oak St., and Howes Street, with boarding at the park, Shields Street, Loomis Street and Howes Street. COST: $2 for adults, $1 for seniors and children; free for anyone under 3 WHEN: Noon to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays, operates May through September
INFORMATION: http:// www.fortcollinstrolley.org
bought/strung overhead wire, set new poles, built a power supply, built a loading area in City Park, and built a storage barn, all free to the city. Two hundred local businesses donated money, equipment and labor. Professional companies laying railroad track would cost a million and a half dollars alone in 1985. Then the FCMRS restored the historic Colorado Agricultural College (Colorado State University) Station Depot (1925-1933) and moved it to the City Park trolley loading area at Oak and Roosevelt streets. They have been restoring a second car, No. 25, for the last 10 years. Go see them working Saturday mornings in the 1907 Car Barn at 330 N. Howes St. There may have been no greater all-volunteer project in Northern Colorado. Come ride the trolley, the best kept secret in Fort Collins! CAROL TUNNER IS A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT AND SERVES ON THE BOARD OF THE FORT COLLINS MUNICIPAL RAILWAY.
ABOVE: The Fort Collins Symphony will open its 7th season on Oct. 5. Coloradoan Library LEFT: Fort Collins Symphony Musical Director Wes Kenney conducts a patriotic tune as Uncle Sam to celebrate Fourth of July at City Park on Tuesday. Coloradoan Library
FORT COLLINS SYMPHONY HOLDS A BIG PLACE IN MY HEART AND FORT COLLINS BY KAY EDWARDS
ABOUT THE FORT COLLINS SYMPHONY
NEXT UP: The Symphony’s next performance is a free Fourth of July concert at 8:15 p.m. at City Park. The concert will be performed again at 6 p.m. July 5 at Fox Acres in Red Feather Lakes, for $20 per person (16 and younger admitted free).
The Season 70 Platinum Season begins on Oct. 5. For details and tickets, visit the website. INFORMATION: http://www.fcsymphony.org
My favorite space in Fort Collins is wherever our beloved Fort Collins Symphony is performing! In the summer, our Symphony performs on July 4 at City Park, and during the fall, winter, and spring, they are playing mostly at the Lincoln Center and sometimes at Timberline Church. The Fort Collins Symphony is about to celebrate its 70th Platinum Season, truly an incredible feat for a nonprofit arts organization with an active all-volunteer board of directors. This wonderful orchestra began as a volunteer community organization under the thrilling yet formidable baton of Maestro Will Schwartz and has evolved into an orchestra of professional musicians who delight our community with every note. Our musicians, who are mostly based in Northern Colorado, have been under the direction of Maestro Wes Kenney for the past 16 years. Maestro Kenney, an internationally recognized conductor, also makes his home right here in Fort Collins. I am inspired to write this because of the important role the Fort Collins Symphony has played in the space I’ve called home most of my life. This wonderful orchestra inspires over 4,300 fourth- and fifth-grade students each year when it presents the Youth Education Series concerts. In addition to performing five concerts of classical music, the organization also hosts a Pops concert, performs at the Friends of the Symphony’s kid-friendly Musical Zoo,
and accompanies other arts performance groups like Canyon Concert Ballet and Opera Fort Collins. I am also proud of the leadership role the Fort Collins Symphony occupies in our community. The organization raises three-fourths of the money necessary for the orchestra to perform a free patriotic concert on the Fourth of July as a gift to the community. The organization is also a leader in establishing two arts engagement programs: B Sharp for those living with dementia and their care providers and Open Notes for underserved and at-risk youths. B Sharp, now a signature community collaborative program of Dementia-Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado and in partnership with CSU, is a communitybased music intervention program that research shows is improving the cognitive and social well-being of individuals with dementia and their care partners. Whether at City Park or in the Lincoln Center, I hope our community will join my husband Larry and me this coming season as we make space on our busy calendars to hear the glorious music of Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Mozart and Mahler as performed by our Fort Collins Symphony. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is with the Fort Collins Symphony!
KAY EDWARDS IS FORT COLLINS SYMPHONY BOARD EMERITUS AND A FORT COLLINS RESIDENT.
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 27
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THE LYRIC BRINGS BACK COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE OF MOVIE-GOING BY JACY MARMADUKE
WHERE: 1209 N. College Ave., Fort Collins INFORMATION: Find movie times at https://lyriccinema.com/ or 970-426-6767
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28 » FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO
I’ve always had a hard time with movies. When I was younger, the runtime of everything from “Napoleon Dynamite” to “The Lion King” overwhelmed my petite attention span. By the time I outgrew that, going to see a movie had morphed from a spontaneous outing to a special occasion requiring days of foresight, lest you land in the row of recliners placed inexplicably close to the screen — all for a parade of sequels, reboots and superhero flicks. The Lyric filled the hole that massive megaplexes ripped in my heart. Stationed in its 10,000-square-foot, spaceship-inspired theater since the fall of 2017, Fort Collins’ independent movie theater has been part of the arts community here for over a decade. Its 2017 move from Old Town to North College Avenue nearly tripled its square footage, upped its theaters from two to three (one of which seats 250) and made room for a much bigger bar and restaurant. A bunch of my favorite Fort Collins memories have taken place at the Lyric, both in its old location and its new one. I went to my first Fort Collins party at the Old Town location on Halloween 2015, decked out in a face-full of black
and white makeup that wouldn’t budge from my skin when I got ready for work the next morning. I saw one of my favorite short films, “Pearl,” an immersive, 360-degree tale of a man and his daughter traveling the country in their home-slashhatchback, at the Lyric’s showing of the 2017 animated shorts Oscar nominees. I faced the fear well-known to socially anxious people everywhere when I saw my first movie alone at the Lyric in 2018. (I chose “The Shape of Water,” and the whole experience was so unexpectedly sumptuous that I caught several more showings solo within the next few months.) After reporting on the 20-year anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, I swallowed my fear and spoke to a crowd of 200 at a screening of “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” about the social progress that has evaded America since 21-yearold Shepard was murdered in Wyoming because he was gay. I saw my first movie with my boyfriend at a Valentine’s Day screening of “Amelie.” The Lyric is a place where watching a movie feels like the communal experience it once was. That’s not to say you can’t have that kind of experience at a non-
independent theater, but for me, it comes a little easier at the Lyric because of the homespun feel and personal touches — like the slate of movies you generally can’t find anywhere else in town, the church pews in the big theater, the murals slathering the hallways that lead you to your show and the vegetarian poutine on the café menu. (I am admittedly biased on that last one. I’m a gravy hound and had never found meatless poutine anywhere in Fort Collins.) I remember back when the Lyric was preparing for its move to a bigger space and some people worried it might lose its charm, but it didn’t. Instead, the Lyric found room to grow and further cemented itself into Fort Collins culture. Our growing, changing city needs a place like the Lyric, where everyone’s welcome to take a break from the day-to-day, settle into a dark room and open their eyes to stories and ideas that change the way we see the world.
An audience watches the big screen at the Lyric. Tanya Fabian/For The Coloradoan
JACY MARMADUKE COVERS ENVIRONMENT AND OTHER TOPICS FOR THE COLORADOAN.
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 29
FIND A HOME THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Downtown | 970-690-7230 FTC-South | 970-481-2363 FTC-South | 970-310-1902 Downtown | 970-219-5922 FTC-South | 970-690-6878 FTC-South | 970-215-8844
FTC-South | 970-481-4947
Greeley | 970-518-5573
FTC-South | 970-691-9010 FTC-South | 970-391-1842 FTC-South | 970-219-2362 FTC-South | 970-566-3516
FTC-South | 970-412-0390 FTC-South | 970-215-1067 FTC-South | 970-903-3483 FTC-South | 970-222-4847
Loveland | 970-218-5183
FTC-South | 970-222-4841
FTC-South | 970-690-1732 FTC-South | 970-286-4321 FTC-South | 970-301-8150 Downtown | 970-420-0040 FTC-South | 970-988-2207 Downtown | 970-227-3990
FTC-South | 970-567-3942 Downtown | 970-310-8643 FTC-South | 970-829-1914 FTC-South | 970-310-3607 FTC-South | 970-231-6043 FTC-South | 970-226-1222 4703-A Boardwalk Drive, Fort Collins • (970) 226-3990 | 125 S. Howes St, Suite 120, Fort Collins • (970) 482-1781 | 750 W Eisenhower Blvd, Loveland • (970) 669-1234 1275 58th Ave, Suite A, Greeley • (970) 330-5000 | 4006 Cleveland Ave, Wellington • (970) 206-8343
Sam Woffort, left, and Benjamin Nortey, right, both 5, find a comfortable seat on the bed of a pickup as the sun sets and the previews begin at the Holiday Twin Drive-in in Fort Collins, July 10, 2005. Coloradoan Library
STEP INTO FORT COLLINS’ TIME MACHINE, THE HOLIDAY TWIN BY ERIN UDELL
There’s a special place in Fort Collins just under the stars and east of the foothills. In the winter months, it doesn’t look like much — at best, a vast dirtpacked open space with funky light poles. But when the city thaws out each summer, one sudden turn off of South Overland Trail can take you right back in time. For more than 50 years, The Holiday Twin Drive-In has been delighting movie-goers with old-fashioned double features on its beloved twin screens in southwest Fort Collins — making it one of the last remaining drive-in theaters in Colorado. On warm summer nights, you can typically find cars clamoring to get a good spot. Families set up lawn chairs, and truck beds turn into cozy date night nests as cartoon hot dogs and fountain drinks dance on screen to remind movie-goers of the nearby concessions stand. Fireflies — yes, fireflies! In Colorado! — have even been spotted glowing against the night sky at the drive-in.
HOLIDAY TWIN DRIVE-IN
WHERE: 2206 S. Overland Trail, Fort Collins HOURS: Doors open at 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Shows begin at dark. INFORMATION: www.HolidayTwin.com
The Holiday Twin Drive-In opened as The Starlight in 1968, during the heyday of the drive-in movie theater. And thanks to Wes Webb — its late, longtime owner who purchased the theater in 1979 — the drive-in was able to weather the tougher decades to come. Over the years, drive-in theaters closed, including The Pines Drivein just south of Fort Collins and The Sunset Drive-in, which once stood on Stuart Street near Indian Hills Circle. As development pressures mounted, Webb started selling off his other drive-in theaters located in Utah. By the early-2000s, the Holiday Twin Drive-In was all that remained, and Webb could often be spotted in one of its drive-up box offices on summer
nights, mingling with moviegoers and doling out treats to dogs through the booth window. Even after interest from developers in the mid-2000s, Webb’s wife, Stephanie Webb, recalled refusing to sell. “I turned to him and said, ‘Wes, the Holiday Twin is bigger than you or I.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘I know,’” Stephanie Webb told the Coloradoan earlier this year. Though Webb passed away earlier this year, Stephanie and her two sons are once again continuing the Holiday Twin tradition this summer. As they have many summers before — as the sun dips behind the foothills and the sky goes orange, then black — the Holiday Twin’s screens will continue to fire up for another night at the drive-in.
ERIN UDELL, A COLORADOAN REPORTER, IS KNOWN FOR HER QUIRKY FEATURE ARTICLES, TRUE CRIME PODCASTS AND STORIES THAT GET TO THE HEART OF FORT COLLINS.
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 31
Sarah Kyle’s son, Blake, watches a goat kid frolic during a recent visit to The Farm at Lee Martinez Park. Sarah Kyle/The Coloradoan
WHY WE LOVE THE FARM AT LEE MARTINEZ PARK BY SARAH KYLE
Coloradoan content coach Sarah Kyle and her son, Blake, spend almost every Saturday at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park in Fort Collins. Here’s why. If you ask my son what we he’d like to do on a Saturday, he will almost always — in a painfully cute fashion — respond with, “Mommy, can we pleeeease bike to The Farm?” With very few exceptions, he usually gets his way. What can I say? The Farm at Lee Martinez Park is one of our favorite places. It’s where I got to watch my brave little then-2-year-old set off on his first of countless pony rides (and he remembers the names of almost all of those ponies, even now). It’s where I learned that his favorite farm animal — with zero competition — is a
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turkey. It’s where we got to see Patches, an absolutely adorable spotted lamb, just days after he was born this spring. And over the next few months, it’s where we’ll watch him and all the adorable goat kids grow up. Thanks to the Barnyard Buddy Pass my mother-in-law gifted us for Christmas, we visit The Farm anytime its doors are open. My husband wonders why Blake and I don’t get tired of seeing the same animals over and over again. But for me, it isn’t just about petting sheep and watching pigs roll around in mud puddles — “muddles” as my son calls them.
Sarah Kyle’s son, Blake, rides Tico during his first pony ride of the season at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park. Sarah Kyle/ The Coloradoan
VISIT THE FARM
The Farm at Lee Martinez Park is located at 600 N. Sherwood St. in Fort Collins and has the following hours:
June through August: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays September through October: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
November through March: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays April through May: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
The Farm is closed on major holidays as well as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Admission is $4 for guests ages 2 and over. You can also purchase a Barnyard Buddy pass for $85, which includes unlimited visits for up to four people each visit and half-price admission for additional guests. You’ll also get an invitation to an exclusive Santa on the Farm event. Call 970-221-6665 for more information. Want to feed the animals? You can purchase food for 25 cents per scoop.
Every time we visit The Farm, I get to see my child’s face light up with pure joy. I get to see him in his element. Blake, who is now approaching 4 years old, runs from pen to pen to say hello to his friends. And yes, the animals are his friends. On a recent trip, just after he got a new pair of shoes, he ran over to one of The Farm’s two turkeys and asked if the bird liked his shoes. Repeatedly. He even lifted up his leg to make sure the turkey got a good enough look at them to decide. For his first pony ride of this year, he insisted on wearing his button-up shirt and cowboy boots. And no matter how long we stay each time, as soon as we pedal or drive away, he tells me he misses the animals. Without any fear, he hikes the steep wooden stairs to The Farm’s silo and, once inside, spins around and experiments with all the delightfully noisy ways he can make his voice echo. And when we’re finally done saying hello to all of our barnyard friends, we run down the hill to the nearby playground, where we’ll spend another hour swinging, climbing and zip-lining the afternoon away. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. Being a working mom, our weekends are like gold. I’m not running around the house in a panic to get anyone out the door on time. I’m not rushing from school to work, praying I pull in with a minute to spare before my first meeting, only to realize that I forgot my lunch, laptop or both. I just get to be in the moment with Blake, no timetable hanging over our heads other than when pony rides start for the day. And that, my friends, is pretty priceless.
Have an aspiring horse rider? Pony rides opened for the season in April and continue through Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. The approximately 10-minute rides cost $5 per rider. You will be responsible for leading your child around the ring. Riders must be between the ages of 2 and 12 and under 150 pounds.
V ISI T D OW N TOW N
SARAH KYLE IS A CONTENT COACH AT THE COLORADOAN AND A NEVER-CAFFEINATED-ENOUGH MOTHER TO A 3-YEAROLD. SHE AND HER FAMILY LIVE IN AND LOVE FORT COLLINS.
FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO « 33
Scenes from the Horsetooth Half Marathon on Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo. Tanya Fabian/For The Coloradoan
CHECK OUT OUR ONLINE GUIDE TO THE COLORADO OUTDOORS Whether you want to hike your first Colorado 14er, find a last-minute campsite in Northern Colorado or explore Horsetooth Reservoir, we can help.
34 » FYI: YOUR GUIDE TO NORTHERN COLORADO
Are you ready for a summer of exploring Colorado? Whether you want to hike your first fourteener, find a last-minute campsite in Northern Colorado or explore Horsetooth Reservoir, we can help. We’ve curated a guide, available at http://bit.ly/outdoorsguide, to help you live your best Colorado life this summer. In it, you’ll find these articles: How to prepare for your first Colorado fourteener How to take precautions on Longs Peak How to dodge crowds at Fort Collins, Larimer County trails 5 trails to hike before summer heat sucks the fun out of them Beat the heat with this refreshing and easy Colorado waterfall hike Hike to wreckage of a WWII-era plane in Northern Colorado 3 Northern Colorado hikes to try this spring Hiking with dogs: What you should know Top 5 Fort Collins hikes for kids Hike these trails instead of Horsetooth Rock Visit these 7 alpine lake hikes to escape the heat Visit these 5 Northern Colorado waterfall hikes 5 great Northern Colorado wildflower hikes How to navigate Rocky Mountain National Park’s summer crowds
25 ways to enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park Find this sandy beach at Rocky Mountain National Park A procrastinator’s guide to finding a campsite in Northern Colorado How to bear-proof your Colorado campsite Horsetooth Reservoir things to do: renting a boat, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, horseback riding and climbing How to protect yourself, your dog from rattlesnake bites How to bear-proof your Colorado campsite What to know about Colorado mountain lions on the prowl Common questions about bobcats in Larimer County Wildlife watching guide. Seven tips to stay safe on the Poudre River A guide to rafting season
2019 OUTDOOR CONCERT SCHEDULE 2019 OUTDOOR CONCERT SCHEDULE
Friday, July 12 2019 OUTDOOR CONCERT SCH ZIMBIRA Friday, July 12 - African Fusion Pop ZIMBIRA
- African Fusion Pop
Friday, July 19 Friday, July 12 SOUL SCHOOL Friday, July 19 ZIMBIRA
in us from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Great Lawn at hapungu Nights thisGreat summer Join Sculpture us from 6Park p.m.ontoFriday 9 p.m. on the Lawn at r free entertainment! Chapungu Sculpture Park on Friday Nights this summer
- Funk/Rock SOUL SCHOOL - African Fusion Pop - Funk/Rock
Friday, July 26 Friday, July 19 6 MILLION DOLLAR BAND Friday, July 26 SOUL SCHOOL
- 80’s 6 Rock MILLION DOLLAR BAND - Funk/Rock for free entertainment! - 80’s Rock u can find us east of Macy’s and The Promenade Shops Join us from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Great LawnAugust at 2 Friday, Friday, July 26 Centerra, Kendall and Centerra Parkway. You canjust findoffusChapungu east of Macy’s and The Promenade Shops Sculpture Park on Friday Nights this summer& THE MOUNTAIN FOLK URBANIAK Friday, August 26 MILLION DOLLAR BAN at Centerra, just Kendall and Centerra Parkway. foroff free entertainment! Mountain Country ing your picnic basket, blanket or chairs to unwind. URBANIAK & THE MOUNTAIN - 80’s Rock FOLK - Mountain Country Bring your picnic unwind. Youbasket, can findblanket us eastor ofchairs Macy’stoand The Promenade Shops njoy complimentary popcorn, while supplies last. Friday, August 2 at Centerra, just off Kendall and Centerra Parkway. URBANIAK & THE MOU Enjoy complimentary popcorn, while supplies last. r more information, visit www.centerra.com - Mountain Country Bring your picnic basket, blanket or chairs to unwind. For more information, visit www.centerra.com
Enjoy complimentary popcorn, while supplies last.
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Your Guide to Northern Colorado