Once upon a time, under the darkness of winter, the people of Durango grew very depressed. The weather outside was positively blizzardly, with snow swirling about and dumping in buckets.

Door hinges froze, locking people in their respective homes. Ice stacked like bricks to the top of houses. Darkness shrouded the brooding, lonely land. It was the worst case of cabin fever the world had ever seen. Knowing something must be done, the people of Durango carved paths out of their ice prisons and met in town. They needed celebration, not depression: champagne, lights, tuxedos, diamonds; a party fit for a Gatsby!

In the words of Audrey Hepburn, somebody surely said, “I’ve got a wonderful idea. We could spend the whole day doing things we’ve never done before.” And thus, Snowdown, the "original cabin fever reliever," was born.

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Okay, I exaggerated a little on the history. But the annual Snowdown celebration is Durango’s award-winning best event of the year and you don’t want to miss it. We haven’t always treated this party like this year's black-tie affair, with previous years' themes ranging from Wild West to a Superhero’s Snowdown to an intergalactic gala. But this year is different. After 40 years of community shenanigans, we’re making it classy.

You may have vacationed in Durango, even had the time of your life in Durango, but you’ve never thrown a party like Durango throws a party. Mark your calendar now for January 31st to February 4th, 2018, and join Durango’s high society for five days of enjoying the finer things in life, dressed to the nines.

Who should attend Snowdown 2018? Children and adults of all ages can take part in this 5-day soiree. While many bars and cocktail lounges will host events and specials for the 21 and up crowd, other locales will host family-friendly activities for all ages.

What should you wear? Your finest black-tie formal wear. Seriously. Here in Durango, we take our Snowdown seriously, dressing more elaborately than for any Halloween extravaganza, and we do it all week long.

What should you expect? Downtown historic Main Avenue and beyond will be transformed into a mountain mansion fit for the elite. Last year’s Intergalactic Snowdown featured costume and booty shakin’ contests, hot air balloons, a fashion dos & don'ts show, tug-of-war, games, face painting, the locals-favorite Chili Cook-Off and Bloody Mary Competition, and even a rocket ship. Of course, you should always expect the annual Parade of Lights through Main Avenue (generally held the Friday evening of Snowdown) and the Follies show (which, as it's nearly impossible to get tickets to this event, can be seen via the simulcast at Animas City Theater).

Though many details of Snowdown 2018 are still shrouded in secrecy, we know enough now to expect even more glitz, glam and swing dancing than ever before. You’ll find yourself positively paralyzed with happiness, just by what we know now:

  • The Snowdown Beard Competition kicked off on November 10th. Locals are currently racing to grow and cultivate the finest haute couture in facial fashion. Beards will be judged and rated on day two, February 1st, of Snowdown 2018 at Carver Brewing Company. Prizes will be awarded for categories such as "Best Groomed" and "Longest" beards. “Good hair does not stay home on a Friday,” or Thursday either, for that matter.
  • Ska Brewing Company released its annual Snowdown brew December 15th, which will be available through the event. The limited-edition “Pearody” brew is a sparkling, slightly tart beer featuring pears, obviously. Likely shaken, not stirred.
  • The Annual Parade of Lights, the best family-friendly event of the week, traditionally takes place on the Friday night of the event. Shop owners, businesses and community groups are encouraged to build their floats with extravagance and luxury in mind. Forget ‘simple but significant;’ this one is a party.
  • The Snowdown Follies, hosted at the Durango Arts Center, is the most coveted event of the week. Whether you want to participate or just come watch, more information can be found on their website here. Though competition to join the cast can be fierce, perhaps Edith Head had it right when she said, “you can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
  • The annual Fashion Do’s and Don'ts Show is sure to be a hit given this year’s theme. Only the swankiest, most dapper flappers and gentlemen should attend. See Durango at its best, and perhaps its worst.

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In the words of Great Gatsby auther F. Scott Fitzgerald, “too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” The 40th anniversary of Snowdown, like every other year before it, will be the best yet!

No matter what your reasons to party, whether escaping winter's cabin fever or celebrating life itself, you’re set to have the experience of a lifetime at Snowdown 2018. Just follow the single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of the dock.

Bring your Gatsby or 007, your Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. Or who knows, you just may find your perfect Daisy Buchanan.