The unlikely marriage of fruitcake and pneumatics is one that doesn't receive its fair share of appreciation. Imagine a gloriously heavy confection, laden with fruits and nuts, soaring through the air -- truly, a sight to behold.
Manitou Springs has become known for its wacky calendar of activities, from coffin racing to its very own Mardi Gras in the snow, but the annual Great Fruitcake Toss, well, takes the cake.
"It's really fun, though you sometimes freeze your ass off," said Dee Byvoet, who has won in at least one category for the last four years.
The 10th annual event will be held Saturday, Jan. 8, in Manitou's Memorial Park. Participants in this year's toss are asked to bring a canned or nonperishable food item in lieu of an entry fee. Die-hard tossers usually bring their own fruitcake, but those who were unfortunate enough to not receive one as a holiday gift may "rent" a fruitcake for 50 cents.
Once outfitted with a fruitcake, participants can enter into several categories, including the glamour competition (for ugliest, most beautiful and most creative use of said cake). Various degrees of physicality are involved in the toss, with options to throw it or hurl it using the official Great Fruitcake Toss catapult. Others may launch the cake using their own mechanical devices or engage in the pneumatic competitions involving air-powered potato guns.
The event usually attracts approximately 100 entries, with folks from all over Colorado visiting to toss a slab of cake. Last year, Byvoet won the Ugliest Fruitcake competition with her nutty depiction of Saddam Hussein. Her son Stephen also competes every year, and he won last year's launch portion by sending the holiday concoction 285 feet via bow and arrow.
"He's 17," said Byvoet. "Believe it or not, he still wants to do stuff with me!"
Fruitcakes will be flying from west to east, so spectators are advised not to park their cars on the east side of the park -- although relaying to friends how your car was dented by flying fruitcake might actually be sort of cool.
-- Kara Luger