Sleepy Colorado town comes alive during
'Frozen Dead Guy Days'
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[March 13, 2017]
By Keith Coffman
NEDERLAND, Colo. (Reuters) - Every March
the cryogenically frozen corpse of a Norwegian man breathes fresh life
into sleepy Nederland, Colorado, where throngs of fun-lovers fill the
streets for “Frozen Dead Guy Days," a festival in honor of the town's
most famous resident.
The annual three-day festival is the brainchild of a local businesswoman
who came up with the whimsical idea 16 years ago as a way to attract
visitors to Nederland, where the man's body has laid in repose in a shed
The event topped her wildest expectations: From a modest crowd of about
1,000 the first year, the festival now draws about 20,000 visitors. Many
of them dress in Halloween costumes as they revel in such quirky events
as a polar plunge, a frozen salmon toss, musical acts and a costume
“We never imagined it would be so well-received and grow so large – you
could say I created a monster,” said Teresa Crush-Warren, credited with
hatching the idea when she was president of the local chamber of
This year's festivities began with a parade of a dozen hearses, followed
by a "coffin race" through the streets of the Rocky Mountain town, where
temperatures hovered just above the freezing mark.
Sam Baggall, 20, a student at the University of Colorado, stood next to
the makeshift coffin she and her five teammates fashioned out of
“Our plan is to get out quick and be agile,” she said.
The annual bash honors Bredo Morstoel, who died and was cryogenically
frozen in his native Norway in 1989 with the hope that low temperatures
will allow him to be resuscitated sometime in the future. After a
four-year stint at a California facility, his grandson moved him in 1993
to his property outside of Nederland, 17 miles (27 km) west of Boulder.
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Mock skeletons are pictured in the back of a hearse during the
hearse parade in the annual "Frozen Dead Guy Days" festival inspired
by a frozen corpse, in Nederland, Colorado, U.S., March 11, 2017.
Six years ago, the chamber sold the festival to Amanda MacDonald, an
event planner for the chamber.
The festival itself is a break-even endeavor, MacDonald said by
telephone, but it is a boon for local businesses in the hamlet of
about 1,500 full-time residents.
Morstoel’s grandson no longer lives in Nederland and the family has
no connection to the celebrations other than paying for his upkeep.
Once the festival ends, 59-year-old Brad Wickham will resume his job
as Morstoel’s caretaker, every two weeks hauling 1,000 pounds (454
kg) of dry ice – carbon dioxide in solid form – to the sarcophagus
and packing it around the corpse.
“There are a lot of scientists studying cryogenics, but I’m just a
guy with a truck and a strong back,” he said.
(Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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