Frigid Mardi Gras fun at Keystones Fat Tuesday | SummitDaily.com

Frigid Mardi Gras fun at Keystones Fat Tuesday

LESLIE BREFELDsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

KEYSTONE As my feet and hands unthawed on the way home from judging Keystones Fat Tuesday gumbo contest and float parade, I couldnt help but remember the fun and debauchery of my youth at New Orleans Mardi Gras.As the earliest falling Fat Tuesday in 20 years, it wasnt just the fact that this celebration took place in the mountains; it also fell in the dead of winter.And it was just this cold factor that proved what Summit Countys partiers are made of. The floats were filled with lots of people with … gasp … skin exposed, looking like they didnt even realize they bordered a fine line between fun and frostbite.While a choice phrase for getting beads from New Orleans celebration is omitted from Keystones festivity, the beads, boas and masks of purple, green and gold saturated all of River Run. We started the day off tasting gumbos from five of Keystones restaurants before getting settled into the special judges condo balcony to overlook the parade.The couple-stories tall puppet and stiltwalkers marked the beginning of the event. Super Mario Brothers and characters were represented in one float, while Arapahoe Basin creatively promoted their new backside of Montezuma Bowl by wearing fake butts and dancing to the Sir Mixalot classic.Most featured outlandish outfits shown off by dancing folks. But the highlight was an easy pick. With a theme of Top Gun, ski patrol rolled in to perform not one, not two, but three skits. They started with a You Can Leave Your Hat On type choreographed dance, before turning the float into a volleyball court. They finished it off with a Iwo Jima-style lifting of a huge ski patrol flag, with a flyover by Flight For Life.I cant say I can remember catching many of the floats in New Orleans during Mardi Gras we were usually trying to find our way around them but here in the mountains, thats where Fat Tuesday is at.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or lbrefeld@summitdaily.com.