The Great Manitou Springs Fruitcake Toss
Please remember to observe social distancing guidelines at these events and, as always, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home.
A Brief History of the Great Fruitcake Toss
Manitou Springs has become so famous for its annual toss that it’s even been mentioned in such esteemed publications as Wikipedia and those blogs that tell you the national holidays each month. Seriously though, most people can confidently argue that the birthplace of the fruitcake toss is Manitou Springs. Like many events in Manitou, the Great Fruitcake Toss began as a tradition for bored locals way back in the bygone era of the 1990s. Local folks would gather in the city park and throw their unwanted fruitcakes around for a little post-holiday festive fun. Over time, the tradition inexplicably grew into the epic event it is today.
What to Expect on Fruitcake Toss Day
In this tiny mountainside town, fruitcakes are serious business. How serious? Well, in 2007 a team of Boeing engineers (yes, that Boeing) developed the ominously named Omega 380, which was modeled after artillery (yes, artillery). They subsequently used an exercise bike to power their mechanical cake assassin and fling it over 1,000 feet into the air. Overkill? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.
While you may not have the privilege of gathering a team of engineers to help you fire your cake into the sky like a mortar smuggled across the Wyoming border, we promise that you’ll still have plenty of fun. The family-friendly event offers visitors four different categories to test their pitching prowess for balance, accuracy, distance and speed. You can try to create your own contraption if you so desire, or you can simply toss it old school. Participants have crafted pretty odd methods for trying to win their chosen category, so if you think you might look weird, don’t. You’ll be in excellent company. If you don’t happen to have an ancient fruitcake relic hiding in a box of Christmas lights in the attic, have no fear. You can buy one for $5 at the entry table and fling that instead.
There will also be other activities during the event, including a Cool Science booth where you can check out a mini catapult building demonstration and try to create your own. If you need to fuel up, there will be a food truck onsite selling drinks and eats. You can even try a sample of fresh fruitcake while you’re mingling. Unfortunately, we have it on good authority that the Collins Street Bakery makes fruitcake that actually tastes good. So, if you’re looking for that gummy, overly candied, dense brick texture that’s synonymous with fruitcake, you’re going to need to scrounge up an old one from the field.
What Happens to the Fruitcakes?
Lest you think that the fruitcake toss is a waste of valuable food, fret no longer. The leftover cakes are trucked over to SunMountain Center and fed to their lovely pig Miss Jezebel and her delightful companions. The cakes are carefully prepared without preservatives or other harmful additives just so Jezebel and company can dine without getting sick. You can also keep your cake if you become attached during the course of the event. No one will judge you.
The event runs from 1-3 p.m. on Jan. 29 in Memorial Park in Manitou Springs. As always when traveling to Manitou, it’s important to plan ahead for traffic and parking. Arrive early and remember not to park in residential areas unless you want to pay a huge ticket or even be towed. Those signs are not for show and there are no second chances. We recommend that you carpool and utilize the street parking leading into Manitou Springs or the public lot downtown. The cost of the toss is only $1, but you can also get a ticket if you bring a canned food item for the Manitou Springs Food Pantry. There is a max of 10 tickets per family who bring non-perishable food.
Sound like fun? Of course it does. Not even the Grinch himself could find a reason to be mad about throwing food. If the fling sounds like your jam, there’s still time for you to prepare for this awesome event. Do some bicep curls, bust out that old doorframe pull-up bar or practice by throwing bricks (somewhere isolated, please). Remember, there are folks creating cake cannons some years, so you don’t want to look like you’re phoning it in. See you where the fruitcakes fly!