Breckenridge Kingdom Days features outhouse races, historic tours, family activities | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge Kingdom Days features outhouse races, historic tours, family activities

Jessica Smith
jsmith@summitdaily.com

It all started with a map.

Of all the stories and lore that come out of Breckenridge's history, the story behind the nickname "The Kingdom" is one that really seems to define the unique character of the town and its residents.

The story goes that a group of Breckenridge townspeople came across an old map that left Breckenridge off, marking it as a "no man's land." While this map may never have existed, the idea of Breckenridge as its own separate kingdom stuck and continues to be celebrated today.

Appreciating the town's history as an Old West mining town is the big impetus behind Kingdom Days. The event takes place at the beginning of each summer, featuring a weekend's worth of activities. This will be its ninth year.

"It's a way to showcase our museums and the historic tours we have in town," said Sandy Metzger, events director for the Breckenridge Tourism Office. "We add things like the outhouse races to put a fun element in and maybe help bring in a different crowd that may not come to the museums … (and) to show our heritage in a fun way."

OUTHOUSES ON THE RUN

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Arguably, one of the quirkiest aspects of Kingdom Days is the Outhouse Races. And they're exactly what they sound like — teams of people build outhouse-type structures on wheels and then race each other down the block.

There are some very basic regulations for the racing outhouses, such as they must have four sides and a doorway, be at least 4 feet tall and have a seat with a hole in it for the rider. It can use any kind of wheel, but must be entirely human-powered. One person rides and the rest push or pull to be the first to cross the finish line.

Once the basic structure is complete, the next priority is decoration. Teams often also have themes and dress in costume.

"We've had so many great ones," said Metzger, when asked to name a few outhouses that have stood out to her over the years.

Team names get creative too, with plenty of outhouse-themed puns to go around. The Pooper Troopers all dressed up as jailors, Metzger remembered, with their rider in the outhouse "jail" in a striped uniform. The Breckenridge Distillery crew dressed as hillbillies, with a bourbon barrel outhouse, and another year a team dressed as track runners under the name "Jamaican Me Poop."

The races take place on Sunday, June 21, which Metzger describes as the "signature day" for the Kingdom Day weekend. The Ridge Street town party will start around noon, and, around 1 p.m., the crowd will have a chance to take a look at the soon-to-be-racing outhouses and vote for the People's Choice winner. At 2 p.m., the races will begin.

As it turns out, racing an outhouse can be fairly lucrative. Cash prizes go to the top three winners — first place is the Golden Throne with $300, second place is the Silver Moon with $200 and third place is the Bronze Bucket with $100. The People's Choice also gets $100 and a golden plunger. New categories added this year include Best Outhouse, Best Team Outfits and Best Effort, and also include cash prizes.

"The new categories make it fun and reward the people who are out to have a good time and give the spectators a good show," said Rachel Zerowin, public relations manager for the Breckenridge Tourism Office.

Metzger encourages people to get to Ridge Street early in order to get a good view of the races.

TOURS, FACE PAINTING, GOLD AND MORE

The outhouse races are just one aspect of an entire weekend of activities in Breckenridge. From Friday through Sunday, there will be free tours at four different locations, as well as a variety of walking tours that feature local mines, hiking trails, in-town history and even ghosts.

Some old traditions are still alive and well today, as evidenced by the Gold Prospectors of Colorado. The group will be offering lessons on gold panning techniques, with participants able to keep whatever bits of gold or gems they find.

"These guys are great, they have a real passion for it," Metzger said.

When they're not teaching greenhorns how to pan, the prospectors will be participating in the Colorado State Gold Panning Championships, and spectators are encouraged to watch.

Sunday will feature a variety of activities going around the signature outhouse racing event. Many are focused on children, such as free train rides, a bounce house and face painting. Historical characters in full costume will also be strolling down the street, willing to stop for photos or impart historical facts about Breckenridge.

"It's an event about the history and the culture of our town," Zerowin said, "but I love the way the community comes together and makes it fun in the spirit of Breckenridge and our laidback and fun attitude."

Breckenridge Kingdom days

For more historic tours and information, visit http://www.breckheritage.com

Friday, June 19

Annual Sidewalk Sale

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Colorado State Gold Panning Championships; get free instruction and watch expert demonstrations; Blue River Plaza on Main St.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Barney Ford Victorian Home Tour, 111 E. Washington Ave.; Edwin Carter Discovery Center open, 111 N. Ridge St.; High Line Railroad Park open, 189 Boreas Pass Road

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Historic Walking Tour, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Washington Gold & Silver Mine Tour, 465 Illinois Gulch Road

5 p.m. — Behind Swinging Doors Saloon Tour, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

5:30 p.m. — Tombstone Tales at Twilight, Valley Brook Cemetery, 905 Airport Rd.

Saturday, June 20

Annual Sidewalk Sale

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Breckenridge Farmers Market, Main Street Station, 505 S. Main St.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Colorado State Gold Panning Championships; get free instruction and watch expert demonstrations; Blue River Plaza on Main St.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Barney Ford Victorian Home Tour, 111 E. Washington Ave.; Edwin Carter Discovery Center open, 111 N. Ridge St.; High Line Railroad Park open, 189 Boreas Pass Road; Summit Ski Exhibit, 308-B S. Main St.

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Historic Walking Tour, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Washington Gold & Silver Mine Tour, 465 Illinois Gulch Road

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Gold Panning at Lomax Gulch, 301 Ski Hill Road

1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. — Kids Sing-A-Long, Blue River Plaza on Main St.

5 p.m. — Behind Swinging Doors Saloon Tour, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

7:30 p.m. — Haunted Tour of Breckenridge, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

7:30 p.m. — National Repertory Orchestra concert, Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave.

Sunday, June 21

Annual Sidewalk Sale

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Colorado State Gold Panning Championships; get free instruction and watch expert demonstrations; Blue River Plaza on Main St.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Barney Ford Victorian Home Tour, 111 E. Washington Ave.; Edwin Carter Discovery Center open, 111 N. Ridge St.; High Line Railroad Park open, 189 Boreas Pass Road; Summit Ski Exhibit, 308-B S. Main St.

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Historic Walking Tour, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Washington Gold & Silver Mine Tour, 465 Illinois Gulch Road

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Gold Panning at Lomax Gulch, 301 Ski Hill Road

Noon to 2 p.m. — Main St. Party

Noon to 2 p.m. — Free face painting, Ridge St. exchange lot

Noon to 2 p.m. — Free tumble bubbles, Arts District square, corner of Ridge and Washington

Noon to 3 p.m. — Free bounce house, Ridge St. arts square

Noon to 4 p.m. — Free kids train rides, Ridge St.

1-2 p.m. — Outhouse Races People’s Choice Voting, Ridge. St. exchange lot

2 p.m. — Outhouse Races, 100 Ridge St.

5 p.m. — Behind Swinging Doors Saloon Tour, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.

5:30 p.m. — Tombstone Tales at Twilight, Valley Brook Cemetery, 905 Airport Rd.

7:30 p.m. — Haunted Tour of Breckenridge, The Welcome Center, 203 S. Main St.