Plan your Summit County weekend: Dia de los Muertos celebrated in Breckenridge |

Plan your Summit County weekend: Dia de los Muertos celebrated in Breckenridge

Learn the history and significance of the danza to Dia de Los Muertos. Grupo Huitzilopochtli Danza Azteca has been in the Denver area for 40 years and is under the direction of Capitan Raul Chavez, a 5th generation danzante from Mazatlan, Mexico. This hands-on dance workshop will prepare families for the candle light vigil on Saturday night and the Altar dedication on Sunday. Participants will be able to join in one of the grupos sacred dances for these two events, if they wish.
Joe Kusumoto / Special to the Daily |

Dia de los Muertos, which translates to Day of the Dead, is coming to Summit County a week early. For three days, from Friday to Sunday, workshops on face painting, art installations and community events will be taking place in the Breckenridge Creative Arts District. This community celebration kicks off on Friday with the opening party and reception, which includes free traditional face painting, music, food, a cash bar and a reception for artists Stevon and Arlette Lucero, whose exhibition is on display at the Old Masonic Hall through the month of October.

There are so many activities to get involved in surrounding Dia de los Muertos weekend, including a candlelight vigil and community march, a community dance and altar dedication, dance workshops, felt-art workshops, collage making, sugar-skull decorating, paper-flower making, skull-mask painting and many other art and culture opportunities.

To see a full schedule of events surrounding the Day of the Dead festivities, check in the Summit Daily’s print calendar or online at

Why Colorado needs wolves

Go on a camping trip anywhere in the Colorado Rockies and you won’t hear the howl of a distant wolf. Since roughly 1944 the wolf has been absent from our state. State and local Sierra Club chapters want to bring this predator back to our rugged valley floors. Join Summit County’s local headwaters group this Friday and learn through film what our landscape would really look like if the wolves were reintroduced. Starting at 7 p.m. at Breckenridge’s Colorado Mountain College campus, there will be a film block, featuring four short films, including two animated shorts, that explore the myths, reality and benefits of wolves.

The feature film of the evening is “Living with Wolves,” which follows Jim and Jamie Dutcher’s extraordinary experiences living with the Sawtooth wolf pack for six years. This Emmy-nominated film reveals the innermost details of pack life, and how these elusive, intelligent and powerful animals interact with man. After obtaining a permit from the U.S. Forest Service, the Dutchers intimately observed the social hierarchy and behavior of the pack, sharing the truth about wolves.

“The Chorus of Colorado,” one of the short films to be shown, focuses on the current attempt to build tolerance for wolves returning to Colorado. This short shows the surprising fact that most Coloradans think that wolves still roam free in their state. But in reality, every wolf that’s migrated into Colorado from the Northern Rockies has been killed. Two other shorts, also made in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, are “Meet the Real Wolf” and “Canis Lupis Colorado,” both of which present the subject of wolf behavior and the vital role wolves play in the ecosystem.

Another short film being played is the Endagered Species Coalition’s “Big, Not Bad,” which aims to engage and educate the public about the benefits of wolves. The opinions of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan citizens from all walks of life — hunters, hikers, naturalists and farmers — are highlighted in this film, and all believe wolves belong on the landscape. Following the series of short films there will be a Q&A with wildlife chair for the Colorado Sierra Club, Delia Malone. The educational evening is open to the public and free of charge; however, a $5 donation is suggested.

Anthem For The Ancestors

Two longtime Summit County musicians are coming together for two special evenings where they will tell the history of the first people alongside the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Both Leon Joseph Littlebird and Charles Wetherbee have been playing concerts in the area for nearly two decades.

“A friend asked me if I knew Leon Littlebird and said I should meet him. So I tracked him down and heard him play. I knew then I wanted to put something together with him,” said Wetherbee.

It turns out the two had similar hearts and minds in the ways they approached music. What emerged from their collaboration is a collection of stories accompanied by native flutes, indigenous strings, eagle bone whistles, ancient rattles, drums and percussion instruments.

“There is a combination of traditional melodies and melodies Leon made up. He recorded those melodies and I arranged string parts that tried to capture the spirit of his work,” said Wetherbee.

The first movement in their five-movement concert starts with an audible picture of the creation of the world. There are primal sounds, sounds like molten rock being poured out of the Earth and the forming of the earth’s land masses.

“It’s a quiet opening that rumbles into being,” Wetherbee said.

The second movement centers around the arrival of people on the Earth and the communion between nature and man. The third is a celebration, the fourth showcases contact between native peoples and Europeans and lastly, the fifth shows reconciliation and hope.

“We recently celebrated Indigenous Day in Summit County. The show is a continuation of that,” said Littlebird. “It really honors and celebrates the heritage of the ancestors.”

Storytelling and local history are passions of Littlebird’s.

“They’re woven into my music. How the ancestors lived and how they saw things.”

The show will feature interpretive dance and more than 10 instruments and five musicians telling a diverse, rich history. On Friday and Saturday, “Anthems For The Ancestors” will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center.

Still On The Hill

The Breckenridge craft spirits festival, Still on the Hill, is having its grand tasting at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center this Saturday at 4 p.m. Admission includes a complimentary tasting glass, 38 delicious craft spirits tastings, craft cocktails, people’s choice voting, artisan snacks and live music. Although the main event is on Saturday, celebrations span all weekend long, starting with the Friday night party at Ollie’s Pub in Breckenridge. There will also be malt, bourbon, mixology, cooking with spirits and American cocktail workshops taking place over the three-day festival. On Sunday, there will be a Bloody Sunday Hangover Brunch at participating bars and restaurants around Breckenridge. Tickets to the grand tasting are $45 in advance and $55 the day of. For a full schedule or more information about the festival, visit

From the mountains to the sea

Hurricane Maria has left Puerto Rico in a state of absolute devastation and disaster. Summit County locals are coming together to send donations to two nonprofits, conPRmetidos and Dayglow Relief Fund. ConPRmetidos is a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for reconstruction of the island and Dayglow Relief Fund is a nonprofit started by Daniel De Los Reyes of the Zac Brown Band, a native of Puerto Rico who is personally delivering goods to those most in need.

The Barkley Ballroom, Studio B Dance Studio and Sue Lane Beauty have joined forces to host a night of fun all to benefit Puerto Rico.

“Without any hesitation at all, Todd Altschuler at The Barkley Ballroom kindly joined in with absolutely no hesitation to provide a venue,” said Deirdre Fallon, a Breckenridge local and organizer of the fundraiser. Fallon experienced Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and is empathetic for what the Puerto Ricans are going through.

“I know how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of such devastation. It is life changing. I don’t want the people of Puerto Rico to be forgotten. They desperately need our help,” said Fallon.

She notes that Puerto Rico relies heavily on tourism for their livelihood and economy. Fallon, who has visited Puerto Rico numerous times in the past couple years, acknowledges the stunning beauty of Puerto Rico’s history, culture, rain forests, beaches and friendly population — so much so that she has contemplated moving there.

“There is definitely a personal aspect for me. There have been so many tragic events for us on this planet recently, so I know it’s hard to keep Puerto Rico in mind when it can tend to get overshadowed,” Fallon said. “I am just trying to do what I can to keep it in our minds that we can all help out. It doesn’t take much.”

The fundraiser will start at 6 p.m. at Frisco’s Barkley Ballroom this Saturday. For the first two hours DJ Eric Ayala will be spinning and there will be free salsa lessons from Lauren of Studio B Dance Studio. At roughly 8 p.m. Sensational Interchords, a local rock band, will perform live. Meanwhile, there will be a big silent auction with items from all over the county, including Peppino’s, 5th Ave Grille, Stork & Bear and Around the World Toys, Frisco Escape Room, Prosit, Briar Rose, Avalanche Sports and more.

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