Ullr Fest king and queen chosen for community contributions and ‘love of snow’
BRECKENRIDGE — The Ullr Fest Parade, part of a five day festival that pays homage to the Norwegian snow god, Ullr, will be led by Queen Leigh Girvin and King Carl Scofield when it takes off Thursday down Main Street in Breckenridge.
The Ullr king and queen are chosen “for their contributions in the community and their love of snow,” according to the Breckenridge Tourism Office’s website.
“Carl and I are very honored,” Girvin said. “It’s a long-standing tradition, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent Breckenridge.”
Austyn Dineen, public relations director of the Breckenridge Tourism Office, said that once the application period for nominations for king and queen closes, the duo is selected by the number of votes individuals receive combined with their volunteer work and involvement in the community. Dineen noted that Girvin’s involvement with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and Scofield’s long-term work as a local photographer contributed to the two earning their titles.
“They are pretty much iconic Breckenridge,” Dineen said. “So when they were nominated and got the most votes, we were overjoyed to give it to them.”
The two will be coronated at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge and will lead the Ullr Fest Parade starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, on Breckenridge’s Main Street.
As a recorder of oral history through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, Girvin explained the history of Ullr Fest and the reason for a king and queen.
“The first Ullr was in 1963,” Girvin said. “The ski area was just in its second season, and the town was full of young people excited about Breckenridge as a new ski town instead of just a mining town.”
Ullr Fest king and queen coronation
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11
Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge
Ullr Fest Parade
When: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12
Where: Main Street in Breckenridge
Event schedule: gobreck.com/event/ullr-fest
Girvin said the royal aspect of the festival goes back to the Breckenridge legend of no-man’s land, which came about when a group of women were researching when the Breckenridge area was officially brought into the U.S. They claimed a strip of land 90 miles long and 30 miles wide, which contained Breckenridge, was never officially brought into the union.
Girvin explained that when Breckenridge was put on the U.S. map, there was the caveat that for three days of the year, Breckenridge would be its own kingdom. She added that of course, this was more of a playful act, as this isn’t actually allowed in the U.S. Constitution.
“I am most excited about the pageantry … all that it encompasses, the tradition,” Girvin said about the festival. “But also what I love about Ullr is it really represents Breckenridge. It’s funny, it’s fun, it’s silly … it shows that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Girvin’s partner Scofield, a 38-year resident, has been pursuing photography full time for 35 years.
“I’ve seen and photographed this event for many years, and I’ve always loved the playfulness and the opportunity to not take ourselves very serious and a reminder of what it’s like to live here in the mountains,” Scofield said.
From the first time he can remember coming to a ski town, Scofield said he remembered the lively energy. And throughout his time in the community, he said he has tried to keep that spirit alive.
“I’ve made a point to try to embrace the mountain lifestyle, which is really about enjoying the environment, enjoying the people and enjoying living in a rather alternative way,” Scofield said. “We were really thrilled and honored to have the opportunity.”
Scofield said that while Girvin has been involved with historic preservation and land conservation, he has worked to promote the town. He feels that Ullr Fest shows what Breckenridge is all about.
“It’s a chance to really just celebrate what a unique place it is,” Scofield said.
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