Dave and Cindy Love may appear as normal citizens were you to meet them in the street today, but just last weekend they were royalty. The dynamic local duo were chosen as Ullr King and Queen for the 50th annual Ullr Fest, striding about Breckenridge in long furred capes and ornate Viking hats. The coronation was the latest event marking their long history with the town and the community.
Cindy, originally from upstate New York, first arrived in Breckenridge 34 years ago, on a whim.
"My girlfriend and I decided to come to Colorado for the summer; that was 1979," she said. Though they had only planned to stay for the summer, "we liked it. We didn't want to go. We wanted to stay, so I stayed."
Like most young people who move to Breckenridge, Cindy worked as a waitress for a while before becoming involved in banking. She's been doing it for more than 30 years and is currently the vice president of Centennial Bank.
Dave moved to town about 17 years ago, but said he has been visiting Breckenridge ever since 1961. Originally from Colorado Springs, Dave would come up to the county for skiing and skied in Breckenridge in the very first year that it opened. It was much different back then, he said, nearly half the size it is now and the roads were unpaved. He also attended Breck's very first Ullr Fest.
"It was much less elaborate," he said, in comparison to this year.
Not only was he present at the first celebration, but it was his uncle who was crowned king of the festival.
Though he had previously worked as a journalist, when Dave moved to Breckenridge he opened Love Bagels. He first sold bagels directly from his store, then later turned his business wholesale. Now he supplies coffee shops and cafes all over Summit County with bagels, including his favorite - parmesan peppercorn.
Though he used to be an avid skier, Dave said he doesn't do it all that much anymore.
"I was never much good, but I was always fast," he said with a laugh.
Cindy admits she does cross-country skiing more than downhill these days and prefers to be accompanied by her dogs, Sam and Abby. Both agree that golf is a favorite pastime and that they love going to the Breckenridge golf course during the summer. They also enjoy traveling, both around and outside the country.
"We like the beach, we love the beach," Cindy said. "When we're not in the snow, we like to be at the beach." Growing up near Lake Ontario, she said that the Great Lakes are a favorite destination of theirs.
The Loves are also involved in the community, volunteering and attending events. Cindy sat on the Breckenridge Resort Chamber board for a number of years and is now a BRC ambassador, which means she attends many events and social functions.
"I just tag along with her," said Dave.
Mostly, though, no matter the time of year, they are in love with Breckenridge, not only for its natural beauty but the community that surrounds it.
"The sense of community, that's the main thing," said Cindy when asked why she likes Breckenridge so much. "People just go out of their way to help each other. It gives you a really good feeling."
"Wonderful people, they really are," Dave agreed.
"Everybody knows everybody. It's awesome," Cindy added.
To become king and queen of Ullr Fest, the two people must be nominated by community members and then approved by the BRC. Though Dave said he was surprised at being chosen, Cindy merely grinned.
"It's something I've wanted to do for a really long time," she said.
The first step after being chosen was to be fitted for crowns. Or, in this case, horned Viking helmets. Local artist Lauren Lewsadder makes new king and queen helmets every year. This year's were in gold and black (for Dave) and gold and white (for Cindy), adorned with snowflakes and a golden "50" at the back to represent the golden anniversary. All in all, impressive finery, but at a price.
"The helmets were heavy," said Dave.
"Seriously, it weighed a ton," Cindy said of her queen helmet. "She did an amazing job."
The helmets have now retired to a place of honor upon a shelf in the Love household, mementos of their favorite part of Ullr Fest - the parade.
"I enjoyed the parade. It was a very different perspective when you're on a float riding down the middle of the street," Dave said.
As they made their way down the street, they tossed presents out to the crowd - individually wrapped bagels.
"Everybody that knows us, they're like, 'We want a bagel!' Then people would be like, 'I got a bagel ...?' then somebody else would be like 'I'll take that!'" Cindy said, laughing as she remembered watching locals' and tourists' reactions to their prize. "You could see it from the float, it was pretty funny."