Fruitcakes to fly in skies of Manitou Springs once again

January 23, 2015 Updated: January 23, 2015 at 4:15 am
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photo - Spc Marwan Sweedan, a volunteer from Fort Carson, participates in the festivities as he launches off a 140 foot fruitcake toss at Manitou Springs High School for the annual Great Fruitcake Toss Saturday, January 12, 2013. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette
Spc Marwan Sweedan, a volunteer from Fort Carson, participates in the festivities as he launches off a 140 foot fruitcake toss at Manitou Springs High School for the annual Great Fruitcake Toss Saturday, January 12, 2013. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette 

Dust off the fruitcakes and head to Manitou Springs.

One of the town's most beloved events, the Great Fruitcake Toss, is back after being canceled in 2014. The reinvented competition will take place Jan. 31 in Memorial Park.

"I feel like it's one of those things that makes Manitou so unique and unusual," said Annie Schmitt, event organizer and Manitou resident. "Google it and you see people from around the world inquiring about the toss. I thought this would be a good time to keep this going."

Schmitt and a group of volunteers approached the Manitou chamber about taking over the toss, and the chamber and Manitou City Council approved. The city will also provide funds an amount to be determined after the event, Schmitt said.

The chamber-sponsored event began in 1996, and quickly grew from human-powered fruitcakes to launches using mechanical devices. In 2010, the toss was moved from Memorial Park in downtown to the athletic fields at Manitou Springs High School. Organizers noticed attendees went to the event and straight home, and neglected to spend time patronizing Manitou businesses. Bitterly cold temperatures and the potential for home and car damage due to launched fruitcakes also played roles in the event's cancellation.

"We needed to re-evaluate," said Leslie Lewis, executive director at the chamber, "and figure out how we could make the mission of it to support local businesses."

No mechanical devices are allowed this year - manual tosses only. There'll be different categories for all ages, and prizes, including the inscription of an overall winner's name on a fruitcake throne, created by the folks at Colorado Ski Chairs in Manitou.

Fruitcakes are available to rent, and for those who'd rather eat than throw the baked goods, there's also a "Too Good to Toss Fruitcake Bake Off."

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