Kiss me, I’m Irish! No, really. I am. But we can skip the smooching and go straight to drinking green beer, it that works for you? Works for me!

Although our mountains aren’t emerald green like the rolling hills of Ireland and our Animas River isn’t neon green like the Chicago River (and our beer isn’t really green because…gross), locals and visitors alike still have plenty of things to do this St. Patrick’s Day in Durango.

Durango Train Shamrock Express

Get your green on and get aboard the Durango train for the Shamrock Express! The St. Paddy’s Day-themed Durango train trip will chugga-chugga choo-choo passengers to Cascade Canyon while they chugga-chugga Irish beer and drink specials.

Durango train Shamrock ExpressThe train departs at 9:45 a.m., Saturday, March 17. Before boarding and during the ride, passengers can enjoy live music by local Celtic group the Kitchen Jam Band, which will start off playing on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot platform then move from car to car playing traditional Irish tunes during the trip.

Passengers can also buy a special, mint-chocolate St. Patrick’s beer: Mint-Night Express Stout by New Terrain Brewing Co. out of Golden, Colorado. Passengers can also order a special corned beef sandwich boxed lunch provided by The Yellow Carrot.

The Durango train will be decked out with Irish decorations, and passengers are encouraged to deck themselves out by wearing green or dressing in St. Paddy’s costumes — but (just like drinking) it is not required.

Pub Crawl

Why do they call it a “pub crawl?” Is it because you crawl from pub to pub, or is it because you’re crawling by the end of it? Both? Either way, downtown Durango is the perfect place to do a bit of bar-hopping to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Durango’s hip downtown is home to plenty of awesome bars and brewpubs all within easy walking (or crawling) distance. ireland-531137_1920

Naturally, your St. Paddy’s Day pub crawl must include a stop at the Irish Embassy Pub, 900 Main Ave. Fish and chips are on the menu, Guinness is on draft, and the specialty drink menu is heavy on Irish whiskey cocktails with names like Dublin Mule, Dublin Manhattan, Rory McIlroy, Embassy Wolfhound and Irish Red Setter. Swing by on Sunday, March 18th, to catch (or join) the pub’s weekly traditional Irish music jam session from 12:30-4 p.m.

Head a block north to Carver Brewing Co., the original Durango brewery, to try out their Irish stout. A couple blocks away is Steamworks Brewing Co., one of the renowned Durango craft breweries, where you can sip their Backside Stout or sample McDammit’s Scottish Ale (Scotland is close enough to Ireland, right?).

While you’re in Durango celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we want you to be safe. Stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites! We’re located at 2002 Main Ave., which is pretty close to downtown — either during a brisk walk or a quick lift. We’re one of the best hotels in Durango! Book your room today so you can fully enjoy St. Paddy’s Day in Durango. (Kissing not included. Sorry.)

Cardboard-derby-image2

Photo: PurgatoryResort.com

The Cardboard Derby at Purgatory Resort is a quintessential ski town event. It’s wild. It’s crazy. It’s silly. It’s snowy. It’s a final fling before spring brings Closing Day to Purgatory. That was some great rhyming, eh?

Here are the details:

  • What: McDonald’s Cardboard Derby
  • When: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, March 17, 2018
  • Where: Purgatory Resort, tubing hill, #1 Skier Place, Durango CO 81301

The McDonald’s Cardboard Derby at Purgatory Resort is a classic winter

competition you won’t want to miss! Build your derby racer out of cardboard and duct tape only, and hope it holds together as you slide down the slope on Purgatory’s tubing hill.

Teams and individuals alike will compete in cardboard craft made entirely of corrugated cardboard, paperboard and duct tape.

Here are the rules:

  • Registration is required, and participants can register up until the day of the event (although its gets progressively more expensive, so register by March 8 to get the low, low price of $10)
  • Build your cardboard craft before derby day.
  • Your derby vessel can use only the following materials: cardboard, duct tape, string, twine and paint. Judges will inspect each entry at check-in to ensure that it complies with the rules.
  • Contestants will navigate the course one at a time. It’s a derby, not a race.
  • The objective is to make it to the scoring zone at the bottom of the hill.
  • Everyone must wear helmets.
  • Children younger than 6 must co-pilot with an adult. Children under 3 may not participate.
  • Each vessel may only be used by one participant or team.

The prizes:
Cardboard derby image5

Judges will rate each cardboard craft based on:

  • Proximity to the scoring zone
  • Creativity of concept and design
  • Enthusiasm

Judges may award prizes for any or all of the following:

  • Funniest derby vessel name
  • Largest derby vessel
  • Loudest competitors
  • Slowest vessel
  • Most colorful derby vessel
  • Most creative vessel
  • Best costumes

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Solo Pilot — 16 and under
  • Solo Pilot — 17 and over
  • Team — 16 and under
  • Team — 17 and over
  • Team — Adult and Kid
  • Local Business Sponsored Vessel

You can also take advantage of Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango’s sweet ski deal the night of the derby: “Pay to Stay, Ski for Free.”

If you book a room with Econo Lodge Durango for $95 or more, you get a free adult lift ticket to Purgatory Resort (formerly Durango Mountain Resort). You’ll receive one free adult pass for every night booked. We partnered with Purgatory to dish up this deal, which is good for the remainder of the season!

Because we’re located on Main Avenue (aka US Highway 550), getting to Purgatory is as simple as turning north out of our parking lot, staying on the road for 30 minutes (26.1 miles exactly) then turning into Purgatory.

Our “Pay to Stay, Ski for Free” package is based on availability, so book your room today to get this deal. Guests must book directly at Choicehotels.com, or by calling us at (970) 247-4242. Blackout dates are Feb. 17, Feb. 18 and March 10-16, but you can spend your post-Derby night with us and get your lift ticket for the next day for free.

Durango Independent Film Festival

The end of February and beginning of March mean a few things in Durango: It means there’s snow, there’s skiing, Valentine’s Day is over and the annual Durango Independent Film Festival is starting.

Now in its 13th year, the festival will run Feb. 28 through March 4 and, as much as it’s about films, it’s also about festival-ing. The easiest way to enjoy all the films and screenings, parties and events, panels and workshops is with a festival pass. The All Festival Pass gets you access to, well, everything, while other pass options provide varying levels of access to film programs, such as all films or 10 films or six. Find the pass that’s right for you!

Film Festival Events

Things kick off with, what else? A kick-off party Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Animas Chocolate Co., 920 Main Ave., with food and drinks provided by the Ore House restaurant.

Festival-goers can participate in the Craft Beer and Culinary Crawl on Thursday, March 1, and try craft beers paired with appetizers at several local establishments, including Brew Pub and Kitchen, Carver Brewing Co. and Sorrel Sky Gallery, which will feature Ska beer paired with bites from The Container Restaurant, and Studio & Gallery, where Durango Brewing Co. will pair its beer and food.

People can mix and mingle with the filmmakers during the Meet the Filmmakers Party on Friday evening at the Irish Embassy Pub, and the Late Night VIP Party will be held Saturday night at Mutu’s Italian Kitchen. Things wrap up with — you guessed it — a wrap party and awards Sunday night at the Irish Embassy Pub.

Films and Filmmakers

Per usual, the Durango Independent Film Festival features a wide array of films covering a wide range of topics. Check out this year’s festival schedule to be sure you don’t miss anything you might be interested in seeing. This year’s featured films include a variety of shorts and full-length films, documentaries and animated pieces, and topics ranging from outdoor adventure to global human rights.

Durango Hotels

If you’re looking for Durango hotels during the film festival, you found the best: the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites. One other very important note: Feb. 28 is the first day of the film festival and the last day of our “Share the Love” package. Stay at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango any night in February (including the last night) and get a free bottle of local wine from Durango’s own Four Leaves WineryBook your room today!

Valentine's Day-in-Durango

Whether you celebrate it early, late or the day of, there are plenty of ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day in Durango. If you’re looking for a dinner date, you have your choice from the best Durango restaurants: from high-end steakhouses to traditional Italian, gastropub to winery fare, Tibetan or taqueria. Make a night of it in downtown Durango by exploring art galleries or catching some live music. Or, if you’re looking for something truly exceptional to do for Valentine’s Day in Durango, check out these one-of-a-kind experiences.

Romance on the Rails Brunch Train

There’s something romantic about riding the rails, eh? Kick off Valentine’s Day early with the Romance on the Rails Brunch Train Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The Durango train has long celebrated love by giving lovers a chance to take the historic train to Cascade Canyon, take in the gorgeous winter scenery and enjoy a special brunch.

Premium class tickets include a brunch package that features a morning brunch buffet, live music, chocolate treats,  a free glass of sparking wine and a freshly cut rose! The brunch menu features fancy fare such as raspberry yogurt mousse, chocolate-covered strawberries, shrimp, quiche and smoked salmon to name a few of the delectable items passengers can enjoy.

Valentine’s Day Snowcat Dining Excursion

This year, give your Valentine an extra-special dinner they’ll never forget with a Snowcat Dining Excursion on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, at Purgatory Resort . Diners will meet at the resort’s base area outside of Purgy’s to take an enclosed snowcat up to Powderhouse Restaurant. During the ride, sweethearts will fall in love with views of the Needles Mountains. During dinner, they will indulge in a menu that starts with lobster-stuffed mushrooms, spring salad, tomato bisque; features a main course of beef tenderloin; and dishes up tiramisu for dessert. The meal comes with two glasses of wine or beer, and the evening also includes live music and a cash bar.

Durango Diaries

In the spirit of other storyteller events like The Moth, the Durango Herald is launching its new bi-monthly storytelling series, Durango Diaries. The first Durango Diaries will be held 5:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 14, and in keeping with Valentine’s Day, the first Durango Diaries topic is Love Stories. Everyone has a first love, and the crowd will hear from two couples about their amazing love stories. The inaugural Durango Diaries will be held at the Powerhouse Science Center.

Live Music

Maybe dinner is too “done” for V-Day. Or maybe you want something to do aprés dinner. A show is the obvious answer, and Durango has plenty of live music to choose from.
Catch Murs in concert at Animas City Theatre on Valentine’s Day. Murs is an independent rapper who has recorded collaborative albums with Slug of Atmosphere (as Felt), Fashawn and 9th Wonder. Murs also founded the Paid Dues festival that highlights the underground and indie rap. Greg Ryder will be playing at the Diamond Belle Saloon at the Strater Hotel, and Terry Rickard will also be playing live at The Office Spiritorium.

You can always ooomph it up even more with our “Share the Love” package. Stay at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango any night in February and get a free bottle of local wine from Durango’s own Four Leaves Winery. Book your room today!

2018 Durango Snowdown

snowdown-durango-colorado-winter-festival-events

The theme for the 2018 Durango Snowdown is “A Black Tie Affair” — as it should be, considering this year mark’s the 40th anniversary of Colorado’s favorite winter celebration.

Durango Snowdown will be Jan. 31-Feb. 4 and, per usual, will be jam-packed with Snowdown-a-licious activities, nearly all of which are silly, quirky, wacky, crazy and freaky. Just like we like it.

The Snowdown schedule of events is long and varied with activities such as keg cap frisbee golf, cricket darts, snowflake paper art, bicycle roller races, pantyhose bowling, a scavenger hunt, beard competition and more. The list is so long and so cuckoo bananas, we can’t possibly go through it all here, but we can give you some highlights:

Snowdown Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Wednesday, Jan. 31, Noon-1:45 p.m.

New this year, Snowdown Fashion Do’s and Don’ts is an adults-only (but not X-rated) costume fashion show that  showcase why USA Today named Durango the “Worst Dressed Community!” Doors open at 11:15 a.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to start, and the meal will be served at noon. The fashion show begins at 12:30 and ends at 1:40 at which point everyone returns (mostly sober) to their day jobs. Models won’t be the only one in costume; guests should wear their wackiest finest for a chance to win a prize.

Snowdown Parade, Dinner and Firework

Friday, Feb. 2

4 -10 p.m. The Snowdown Parade Dinner will be dished up at the Durango Elks Lodge at 901 E. Second Ave. (entrance is on Ninth Street). Stop by before, during or after the Snowdown parade to fill up on vittles, er, “fine dining” for this black-tie affair. Dinner includes spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad, drinks and a cash bar as well as prizes for the best costume.

6 p.m. — It’s time for the famous Snowdown firework — noteht lack of an “s” because it’s singualar. The solo Snowdown firework will explode around dusk and mark the start of the Snowdown light parade.

6 p.m. — The Snowdown Light Parade marches along Main Avenue from College Drive to 12th Street. Black Tie Affair-themed lighted floats dazzle as they drive down the Main drag, competing for trophies in 10 divisions with special emphasis on the theme and use of lights.

7:30 p.m. — Snowdown Follies is a classic Snowdown staple that will return for the 35th year. This Vaudevillian variety show is always irreverent and eternally funny with local characters performing and providing commentary. The Follies will take the stage simulatenously at two theaters: the Henry Strater Theatre , 699 Main in the Strater Hotel, and at the Durango Arts Center Theatre , 802 E. Second Ave. There will be a cash bar to help ensure the audience likes the show!

Snowdown is a great time to visit Durango. The entire town is buzzing with fun and funny stuff; every which way you turn is another wack-a-doo thing to do. Stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites while you’re taking in all that Durango Snowdown has to offer! We’re fun and wacky, too, but in only in all the good ways.