Community celebrates newly renamed Frisco History Day |

Community celebrates newly renamed Frisco History Day

The event was renamed to reflect Frisco’s complete history

Angie and Titus Crews pan for gold as part of Frisco History Day, Saturday, July 10, 2021. The day included a picnic in the park, town tours, gold panning, lawn games, a pie-baking contest and live music.
Photo by Ashley Low / Ashley Low Photography

Frisco Founder’s Day is an annual event hosted by the Frisco Historic Park & Museum that’s been a cherished tradition by town officials, residents and visitors alike. This year, the event was rebranded to Frisco History Day to reflect the community’s entire past, and with it came some changes to the activity lineup.

The first time the event’s name changed was actually last year. Museum manager Rose Gorrell said it became “Founder’s Celebration” because of the pandemic and events were spread out over the span of a week to keep crowds at bay. Moving into this year, Gorrell said she and her team felt that it was time to update the event’s name moving forward.

“Thinking about this year, we realized that the term ‘Founder’s Day’ no longer really fit our vision and our mission that we’re dedicated to, (and) that (it) really didn’t tell the entire history,” Gorrell said.

When the event got its start, Gorrell said it was hosted as a fundraiser for the park. Now, it’s a free community event that gives space for other nonprofits to raise funds and teach the community about Frisco’s past. Gorrell also said the new name change was motivated by the Town of Frisco’s efforts to be more welcoming to all communities.

“The term ‘founders’ is also not as inclusive as we’d like it to be,” she said. “One of the town’s priorities is to become a more inclusive community, so this change really just reflected that reorientation and thinking about what that event truly means to the community.”

The intention was to celebrate not just Frisco’s founders and early settlers, but also the Ute people. Gorrell said this tribe included some of the earliest people to visit the Frisco area.

“Their oral history places them here since the beginning of time and there’s also been archaeological evidence that says (they were here) 10,000 years plus,” Gorrell said.

Gorrell said the museum brings in a Ute tribal member from the Aspen Historical Society every summer to talk to visitors about the Ute people, their origin story and their interactions with European-Americans who were arriving in the area beginning in the early 1800s.

The event on Saturday, July 10, had a stacked lineup, and new this year was a pie-baking contest which was added to tie into a new food history exhibit that launched on July 1.

“We included this pie-baking contest as a way to tie that together, and also to capture some of those early days of Frisco when there were a lot more community potlucks,” Gorrell said. “There was a lot more hand-baking (for) everything because you didn’t necessarily have a grocery store nearby. … We wanted to find a way to bring out some of those old-school skills that not necessarily everyone has anymore.”

The winner of the pie-baking contest was Beth Weigand with her pecan pie. Weigand took home the gold prize of a Le Creuset gift basket. The second place was awarded with a pontoon boat rental from the Frisco Bay Marina, and third place was awarded with a private historic town tour led by museum staff.

Also included in the activity lineup was a craft tent where visitors could make puppets, play with sidewalk chalk and grab a take-home craft kit provided by The Frosted Flamingo mobile art studio. There was also an artifact tent where visitors could touch and learn about historical items, and there were gold panning sites and lawn games set up. Girl Scouts were also there selling ice cream.

In addition, guests could also roam the museum, explore the historical buildings on-site and take a free town tour. Later on in the day, visitors were encouraged to picnic in the park, an activity that coincides with the museum’s new food history exhibit, and musician Randall McKinnon played live for a couple hours in the afternoon.

Gorrell said the event was just as well-attended as it was in 2019, and part of the crowd included Jean Liska and her granddaughter, and Courtney Berning, both of Frisco. Liska is from Longmont but has a condo in Frisco and said the two of them frequent the museum grounds so often that they’ve gotten to know the staff quite well.

“We come anytime there’s an activity here in the park,” Liska said.

Bronwen Clark, who lives in Denver with her family but has a condo in Frisco, said the same. She and her family have visited in the past and said the museum grounds are one of their go-to activities in Frisco.

“I have kids and they always enjoy it,” Clark said. “They love the cabins, the historic part anyway, and so we come here at least two or three times every visit because it’s just something fun and different to do.”

Clark said events such as these that focus on local history are important because they serve as a reminder of how far a community has come.

“There’s so much growth happening in the mountains, as obvious by the traffic, but I think it’s sort of nice to think back to how things started to give you a little bit of perspective as to how much things have changed,” Clark said. “Honestly, I don’t know that much about the history of Frisco, so it’s nice (that) the kids have fun and I get to learn a few things.”

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