CRESTED BUTTE, CO – Some say the tiny town of Crested Butte is Colorado’s last true “ski town”. For the last 25 years, each fall around the autumn equinox local residents and visiting tourist have come together to celebrate Crested Butte Vinotok. The word Vinotok means a fall festival in the Slovenian language, and celebrates the community of Crested Butte’s eastern European heritage and love of a good party.
Vinotok was founded in 1985 by Marcie Telander and a band of colorful Crested Butte old-timers. The fall festival features the harvest homecoming, a storytelling celebration, and the crowd favorite the burning of the “Grump” combing to make one of the last truly European-style, all-village celebrations in America. This makes your Oktoberfest look like child’s play..Seriously
On Saturday night at Vinotok was coming to a close the streets of Crested Butte were packed with locals dressed in amazing costumes, a throwback to times of yesteryear’s, way way back.
A trial was held on Elk Ave in the heart of CB with the Grump being found guilty “I think” and was sentenced to burn. There was so much going on that honestly you just have to experience it for yourself, words don’t do justice.
From here everyone walked down Elk ave, with torches blazing and singing songs that I wish I knew.. The Grump was dragged into the center of the woodpile which easily extended 20-25 feet above the ground. In days prior to the festival locals residents were encouraged to write their personal grievances on paper and thrown into the fire with the grump on the final night.
The fire erupted over the Crested Butte sky, with flames dancing to the energy of the crowd. The Grumps’s eyes were glowing as he went up in smoke. It then got warm, really warm as the heat from the massive fire made everyone take a few steps back. Fire dancers taunted the Grump and entertained the crowd, Drummers kept the trance feel of the festival with heavy beats going late into the night.
Vinotok is something you really must experience first hand, just remember to drive slow in town and be nice and kind to the locals. This town has some serious soul..
If anyone has more details on the festival please let us know..