A Visual Tour Of Colorado’s Most Hilarious Festival: Frozen Dead Guy Days

Last weekend was the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival in Nederland, Colorado, and naturally the title alone brings up some serious questions. What is it? How did it start? Who is the frozen dead guy? We looked into it, and the history of the festival is actually pretty fascinating.

It all begins with Bredo Morstoel — who never lived in Colorado during his lifetime, but, due to a series of odd circumstances, has had quite an active death there. Lovingly called “Grandpa Bredo” by the townspeople of Nederland, Morstoel died from a heart condition in 1989 in Norway. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

Well here we go: Grandpa Bredo and his family had a strong interest in cryonics. So instead of being buried or cremated, he was packed in dry ice and shipped to a cryonics facility in California where he “lived” for almost four years. However, his daughter and grandson lived in Colorado and eventually felt that keeping Grandpa frozen was something they could very well do on their own. So in 1993, they had him shipped to their house and kept him in the shed.

It was an odd situation, but it became even odder when his family no longer lived in the area. Because eventually, both his daughter and grandson headed back to Norway. And that left the problem of what would happen to Grandpa Bredo’s body. Garage sale? Goodwill?

After the city council found out that a frozen body was being kept in someone’s shed, they passed a new municipal code making it illegal to keep bodies at your home (something that apparently was A-okay before that). But since Grandpa Bredo had already been kept there for several years, he was grandfathered in and allowed to stay. By that point he had some pretty strong squatter’s rights.

So, with the assumption that Grandpa Bredo would stay in Nederland until cryogenic reanimation became a reality, Grandpa Bredo’s grandson put out a want ad on the internet for a caretaker of the body. It was then that resident Bo Shaffer took him on the job. Now known as the “Ice man” Shaffer and his pals bring Grandpa Bredo 1,600 pounds of dry ice monthly, pack it around him, and surround him with foam padding and blankets. The bizarre situation became a source of laughter and also pride in the small community.

Which brings us to Frozen Dead Guy Days, a festival that started 16 years ago and draws more than 20 thousand people to the sleepy little town of Nederland. The irreverent event celebrates the town’s “frozen dead guy”, and has become one of the quirkiest, weirdest festivals on earth — with events such as coffin racing, a hearse parade, polar plunges, frozen salmon tossing, and frozen turkey bowling along with the more traditional live bands, food, and drinking.

People dress up as corpses and celebrate the small town’s most famous dead guy. And while it’s totally irreverent, it’s all in good fun. A psychic even said once that Grandpa Bredo enjoys the event. And if the frozen dead guy likes it…you know it’s a good time.

Check out the pictures of this year’s festivities!

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#frozendeadguydays #coffinraces

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Just kickin' it coffin style. #frozendeadguydays

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