Presented by the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Collin Street Bakery
Located a mere seven miles away from the heart of downtown Colorado Springs sits the small town of Manitou Springs. Nestled in a shadowy basin at the foot of Pikes Peak, the town is a wonderous hodgepodge of modern culture and historical lore. Despite its somewhat hidden location, Manitou Springs thrives off a steady stream of tourist foot traffic driven by one-of-a-kind festivals, events, and traditions such as the Great Fruitcake Toss.
Let Your Fruitcake Fly!
One of the town’s most popular events, The Great Fruitcake Toss, occurs every January. On this day, the entire little hamlet of Manitou Springs congregates in the town’s park to celebrate, throw, and eat fruitcake!
Now, here at Collin Street, we acknowledge that not all fruitcakes are created equal. Some fruitcakes are just flat out bad, and shouldn’t be eaten. And those fruitcakes—the funky ones giving credence to all the world's fruitcake hate—should be TOSSED! Tossed and replaced with the most delicious fruitcake of all time: our DeLuxe®. That's why our bakery is proud to announce that this year, for the first time, we are The Great Fruitcake Toss’s presenting sponsor!
In fact, in preparation for this year’s festivities, we sat down with Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Special Events Coordinator, Jenna Gallas, to chat about what we can expect.
Interview With Jenna Gallas
CSB: Hi, Jenna!
Jenna: Hi, guys!
CSB: We just wanted to say we are so excited to be able to participate in this year’s Fruitcake Toss day.
Jenna: We are very excited to have Collin Street back on board this year!
CSB: So, the feelings of excitement are mutual. We know this event has been going on for quite a while now. Can you give our audience a bit of an education on how it all began?
Jenna: So, The Great Fruitcake Toss was the brainchild of an events subcommittee from the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce back in 1996. The subcommittee thought locals might be interested in gathering at the park after the holidays to chuck their unwanted fruitcake gifts from the figurative ol’ Aunt Karens. The idea was that those cakes were bound to lay about the house until the holidays came around again— probably to be passed on to another unwanting recipient. So, The Great Fruitcake Toss day was born! It’s been an annual sporting event ever since!
CSB: Subcommittees talking about tossing fruitcake, huh? Sounds like Manitou Springs has quite a few unique characters!
Jenna: That’s right! A lot of that has to do with how the town was founded. Our charming town is set in a canyon beneath Pike’s Peak, which I dunno if you know, is sometimes called ‘America’s Mountain.’ Manitou was a destination for countless travelers in the 1800s, as it lays claims to several actively flowing underground mineral springs. These springs are legendary for possessing healing powers based on the different densities of various minerals like calcium, potassium, sulfur, and even lithium. Local peoples had tapped these springs, so at various spots throughout town, you can see them flowing like fountains. In fact, you can still drink from them—but, you’ll have to bring your own cup!
Of course, as modern medicine developed, people stopped drinking from the springs as a source of healing. Now, it’s done as a kind of homage or novelty. It’s sort of this novelty that has nurtured our town’s tourist trade. People still come to see the spring but also to visit our retail shops, restaurants, and, of course, the World Famous Penny Arcade!
CSB: Sounds pretty fun and funky!
Jenna: Oh yes! There’s a saying in town, “Keep Manitou Weird”. That’s exactly what we do when we plan our events each year. From tossing fruitcakes to racing coffins, we are a center for all things eclectic. We love it that way!
CSB: You know, talking about weirdness, the history of The Great Fruitcake Toss is pretty colorful. We hear at one point in time, fruitcakes were being shot out of catapults?! Is that true?
Jenna: Yes. Years ago, contestants were allowed to use launching devices, including slingshots and catapults, to propel the cakes. But some of them were being flung too far, placing nearby homes in jeopardy from flying desserts. So, now we just use our arms.
CSB: Well, that seems safer. Tell us, what events can we expect to see from this year's toss?
Jenna: So this year, we’ll keep with tradition and have five events. A toss for distance, a toss for accuracy, and a toss for speed. We’ll use a radar gun to clock cake speeds. We’ll also have an obstacle course and, of course, a bake-off.
CSB: Do people have to bring their own fruitcakes to toss or are the fruitcakes provided?
Jenna: Most of the flying cakes are “rentals.” We make several dozen specifically for people to use and throw. This event is held near and dear to our community here in Manitou Springs. Everyone holding those “Free the Fruitcake” protesters you see each year, has a soft spot for those decadently decorated cakes adorned with flavorful nuts and cherries from Collin Street. No one dares show their face to throw a Collin Street Bakery cake!
CSB: Well, we hope not! Speaking of events, you know, we were so excited to provide this year’s winners with the best prize packs thus far. The winners of each of the five categories will receive a Regular DeLuxe® Fruitcake, a box of our Chocolate Covered DeLuxe® Fruitcake Petites, as well as Collin Street’s signature fruitcake stickers and magnets. Plus, we’re sending up some cute little individually-wrapped fruitcake samples so all the attendees can take home and enjoy!
Jenna: Hands down, we’ve got to say, Collin Street Bakery gets the “Good Sportsmanship” award at this competition. I mean, the participation of Collin Street has been one of excitement and surprise! How could a fruitcake bakery be interested in being involved in an event that encourages the throwing of their product in the name of fun and festivity?
CSB: You know, that’s a valid question! So, our opinion is, not all fruitcakes are great. We don’t dare defend all cakes because, well, how can you defend something you didn’t make? Our stance is this: some fruitcakes are bad; our fruitcake is good! Throw those bad cakes and eat our fruitcake!
Jenna: Well put!
CSB: So, if people in the Manitou Springs area catch wind of this event, do they need to sign up to attend or what?
Jenna: So more information about the event can be found on our website, ManitouSprings.org. There’s a link on the homepage directing to the toss. The event is free to attend but, so we can prepare the needed sacrificial fruitcake, we are encouraging people to RSVP on our Facebook event page.
CSB: Sounds like you guys are all ready to rock and roll! Good luck this year and we hope to be able to participate in person next year!
Jenna: Thank you so much and we hope so too!
Unable to Attend This Year’s Event?
Not to worry! Wherever you are, take a video of yourself throwing out inferior fruitcakes and we might send you a Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe® Fruitcake because we believe good fruitcake truly can reform even the most avid fruitcake hater. So, help us prove our point - #FruitcakeHateIsFake. Spread the word! Already Think Fruitcakes Are Fabulous?