The Annual Great Fruitcake Toss

January 24, 2024

The Annual Great Fruitcake Toss

The 29th Annual Great Fruitcake Toss

Presented by the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Collin Street Bakery

Manitou Springs, Colorado, is known for its breathtaking landscapes and charming atmosphere, but once a year, this serene town transforms into a whimsical spectacle of hilarity and high-flying fruitcakes. Welcome to the Annual Great Fruitcake Toss, an event that has become a cherished tradition, blending the absurd with the festive, and turning a holiday treat into a catapulted masterpiece.


The History of The Great Fruitcake Toss

The roots of this eccentric event can be traced back to the late 1990s when a group of Manitou Springs locals found themselves pondering what to do with the surplus of unwanted fruitcakes during the holiday season. Instead of letting these dense desserts go to waste, they decided to turn disposal into delight by organizing a lighthearted competition to see who could toss a fruitcake the farthest.

Over the years, the event gained popularity, drawing participants and spectators from far and wide. What started as a quirky way to bid farewell to holiday leftovers has evolved into a beloved tradition, with attendees eagerly anticipating the chance to witness fruitcakes soaring through the crisp Colorado air.

A Community Fundrasier & Fun Raiser

The Annual Great Fruitcake Toss typically takes place in late January, acting as both a post-holiday community-building event and a fundraising opportunity. Participants exchange monetary donations or canned goods for event tickets, both of which benefit the St. Andrew's Food Pantry. Dedicated to addressing food insecurity, the pantry offers a wide array of nutritious food options, available to all individuals and families in need within the community. With its open doors and welcoming atmosphere, the pantry serves an impressive 80-85 families each week, reflecting its deep commitment to ensuring that no one in the Manitou Springs area goes hungry. 


The Atmosphere at The Great Fruitcake Toss

On the morning of the event, Manitou Springs' town square transforms into an arena for fruitcake enthusiasts armed with creativity, engineering skills, and a willingness to embrace the absurd. Costumed competitors add an extra layer of entertainment, with characters ranging from fruitcake fairies to superhero tossers. Participants from both near and far register to compete in various categories, such as the distance toss, speed throw, and precision landing contest. The diversity of events ensures that everyone, from novices to seasoned tossers, can join in the fruity fun.

fruitcake-accuracy-tossCommunity Engagement & Event Sponsors

But, the Annual Great Fruitcake Toss is more than just a quirky competition—it's a celebration of community spirit. Local businesses often get involved by sponsoring the event or hosting related activities. Food vendors offer a variety of treats, including, you guessed it, fruitcake-flavored delights.

Collin Street Bakery has proudly sponsored The Great Fruitcake Toss for four years, donating prize bundles and fruitcake samples to the annual festivities. While it may seem strange to some for a bakery specializing in fruitcake sales to participate in a contest akin to fruitcake abuse, for Collin Street, that's not the case. As one bakery insider said, "We understand where the tradition for this event originated and acknowledge that not all fruitcakes are made equal. There are some terrible recipes out there that have given fruitcake a bum rap. And while no one who has ever tried our DeLuxe® accuses it of being anything but delicious, that's not the case with all bakes. That's why we lean into events like this. We can only successfully compare bad fruitcakes and our award-winning fruitcakes by acknowledging people's past experiences or personal biases. That's why we love sponsoring The Great Fruitcake Toss. We enjoy showing folks what delicious fruitcake tastes like."


Environmental Considerations

When the festivities conclude, tidying can begin. In alignment with the event's mission, food mindfulness is at the heart of the clean-up. All cakes gathered from the afternoon's event are collected and taken to the terrific folks at the Smokebrush Farm. As a biodynamic farm, Smokebrush emphasizes a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Their grounds are host to Nubian dairy goats, Miniature Potbelly Pies, and several heritage breeds of livestock, including Silver Fox rabbits, Icelandic chickens, and Cayuga ducks. With welcome arms, the staff at Smokebrush receive all the leftovers from the Great Fruitcake Toss, using them as feed for their various animal residents. 

"The only cakes tossed at the event are those the Chamber of Commerce makes themselves. Those cakes are comprised of only three ingredients, coffee, flour, and raisins, all of which we've been assured are perfectly safe for animal consumption," said Jenna Gallas, Special Events Coordinator at the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce. "This partnership was thoughtfully created to reduce the environmental impact of the event while underlining the event's overall message—to be generous with the food you have and allow nothing to go to waste.

Take Away from the Great Fruitcake Toss

The Annual Great Fruitcake Toss in Manitou Springs, CO, is a testament to the power of creativity, community, and the joy found in embracing the unconventional. As each fruitcake takes flight, laughter echoes through the crisp winter air, leaving behind a trail of memories that last long after the last fruitcake has landed. Whether you're a participant or a spectator, this whimsical event is a must-see, offering a delightful escape from the ordinary and a sweet start to the new year.


Our fruitcake is truly unique. Made with crunchy pecans, hand-picked pineapple, and all-natural honey, our DeLuxe® has been Collin Street’s crowning achievement for over 125 years. A classic dessert that truly lives up to the hype, our fruitcake is perfect for any season, event, or celebration. Order yours today to taste for yourself what everyone is talking about. 


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