Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. British comedian, writer, actor and adventurer Dom Joly leaned back in his chair at the Pioneer Inn Friday night, and watched the miniature version of the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival through hooded eyes.
He was getting a feel for the chaotic frenzy that escalated every hour. The event started at 6 with free food, beer, and ice cream cones that were really cupcakes with three inches of frosting. The Banshee band was perfect for the event: playing music that forced folks to their feet, made them roll their hips around and fist punch the air.
It was the Icebreaker. It was a chance to get revved up for the 2016 Frozen Dead Guy Festival. It was an opportunity for all the volunteers who never got to throw a frozen turkey or guzzle 16 ounces of slime green slushy or slam their cheeks full of Rocky Mountain Oysters to do so. They have always been at their stations during the event, selling memorabilia, serving beer, timing the races. Completely out of the mainstream.
It was a time to celebrate 14 past years of frickin’ freezin’ fun; To thank our volunteers, sponsors, and participants; To party with January birthday girls & boys; to host chilling contests of absolute silliness and to dance the night away.
The Icebreaker could not offer coffin races or polar plunges, but after a couple of hours of socializing, the crowd was fine with the agenda. FDGD organizers Amanda MacDonald and Stephanie Andelman, as well as festival founder Theresa Warren kept the action flowing.
Dom Joly watched it all, soaking in the heated-up, frozen ambience. He and producer Fiona Cotterill were touring the country for “The Big American Vacation,” radio show. Joly is a well-known television figure and he said it was relaxing to be doing a radio show. He had every intention of taking part in all the events that were offered.
The first contest was the frozen turkey toss, which took place outside on a plastic alley; The turkey was actually a Cornish Game Hen, smaller and faster and more apt to get closer to the target. The contestants lined up and took the hen throwing position. Some of the hens missed the bowling pins completely. some hit one or two, and one person smashed all the pins down for a strike. Dom Joly took first place in his first FDGD contest. Now he was fired up.
“My job is to humiliate everyone on the tour,” said Joly, humbly. “Clearly, frozen bird throwing is not the state sport.”
His arrogance was squished, however, when he joined the frozen T-shirt contest, which demands extreme strategy and the ability to hammer, twist or stretch the shirt into revealing an opening. There was no contest. Tristan Limpert of Ward won hands down, and then hands up as he slithered the shirt over his bare chest. Joly had not even extracted an arm by this point and he conceded the contest.
Limpert said it was easy to win: “That’s cause I live in Ward and every day when I wake up, my clothes are frozen.” For his efforts, Limpert won a T-shirt.
Joly said that’s okay, the trip was worth it. He won a hat.
The whole night was fun, loud, and fantastic in a frozen festival kind of way.
This year’s FDGD festival, March 11-March 13, will have some changes. The coffin races and polar plunge will take place at the Guercio Ball Park where an above the ground pool with a ramp will be erected for the jumpers and divers. The snow course will be set up on the shore of the reservoir and the Reanimate tent will be on the field.
A new venue, the Bacon, Bourbon and Brews Tent will be located on Second and Snyder Street and the Brain Freeze Tent will be on First Street. The parade will move up First Street, turn right on the highway, proceed to the roundabout and then head back to East Street via Second Street.