From Colorado to New Zealand, Entertaining Contests and Fests


At the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships, Jan. 16 to 21, 16 teams from 10 countries (including Russia, Italy, Germany and Switzerland) create elaborate works of art. Working next to Riverwalk Center, the sculptors are assigned 12-foot-tall, 20-ton blocks of artificial snow and have five days to complete their entries. The sculptures remain during Ullr Fest from Jan. 22 to 27, a celebration of winter and the mythical Norse god of snow.

For more information, contact the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, P.O. Box 1909, Breckenridge, CO 80424; telephone (970) 453-6018, Internet



The Stowe Winter Carnival, Jan. 23 to 28, combines serious sports events and revelry. Sometimes these mix in the same event: snow golf (played in wild costumes) and snow volleyball, for example. Cold weather and snow don’t keep athletes off the course. The party schedule includes a microbrew beer tasting, a chicken pie supper, a parade and a block party. New events this year: ice carving competition and wine tasting.

For more information, contact the Stowe Area Assn., P.O. Box 1320, Stowe, VT 05672; tel. (800) 247-8693,


It sounds like a soda pop, but the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, Jan. 26-28 in Tampa, is actually a salute to the legendary sea dog Jose Gaspar, who sailed these waters in search of treasure. During the festival, Tampa Bay is invaded by a fully rigged pirate galleon, cannons booming and flags unfurled. Hundreds of pleasure boats are there to greet the ship. On land, there’s a street festival, a parade with more than 75 floats, an arts and crafts show, games and fireworks.


For more information, contact Event Makers Corp., 3701 W. Azeele St., Tampa, FL 33609; tel. (813) 353-8070,


The 17th Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Jan. 27 to Feb. 3 in Elko, focuses this year on the ranching traditions of the Great Basin (the Big Empty or the Sagebrush Ocean). Western enthusiasts will gather to hear cowboy poetry and music (performers include Waddie Mitchell, Baxter Black and Michael Martin Murphey), learn crafts such as rawhide braiding and attend workshops on songwriting and dancing.

For more information, contact the Western Folklife Center, P.O. Box 1570, Elko, NV 98803; tel. (888) 880-5885,


New Zealand

The eighth annual World Buskers Festival, Jan. 18 to 28 throughout Christchurch, is one of the largest international street performers’ festivals in the country. The festival includes 25 international and national theater and circus acts in more than 250 street and stage shows. More than of 140,000 people are expected to attend. Headliners include Stickleback Plasticus (a comedy ballroom dance company from Britain), German acrobats, Swiss comedians and Italian juggler Dino Lampa.

For more information, contact Tourism New Zealand, 501 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90401; tel. (877) 978-7369,

Events appears monthly.