The Annual 2022 Great Fruitcake Toss
Presented by the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Collin Street Bakery
Nestled in a shadowy basin at the foot of Pikes Peak, is the town of Manitou Springs, the home of the 2022 Great Fruitcake Toss! Manitou Springs is a wonderous hodgepodge of modern culture and historical lore. Despite being only a mere seven miles away from Colorado Springs, Manitou is something of a hidden gem, boasting one-of-a-kind festivals, events, and traditions. One of the town's longest-standing traditions is the Great Fruitcake Toss. An event for both local Manitou residents and tourists alike, the Great Fruitcake Toss, now in its 26th year, is packed full of family-friendly fun, festivities, and of course, fruitcake.
Let Your Fruitcake Fly!
The Great Fruitcake Toss is one of Manitou Springs' most popular events. Every January, Manitou Springs residents and visiting tourists congregate in the town’s central park to throw fruitcake! You'd think being a fruitcake bakery, Collin Street would object to someone hurling it through the air. But, here's the truth. Not all fruitcakes are created equal. Some fruitcakes are just gross --and those fruitcakes --the gross ones fueling the world's fruitcake hate, should be TOSSED! Tossed far, fast, and with great accuracy. Thankfully, that's exactly what The Great Fruitcake Toss is about --hurling horrible fruitcake. Testing strength and speed, participants spend an afternoon competing in a variety of athletic challenges. In the end, the winner of each challenge is rewarded with an undeniably delicious, delectable DeLuxe® Fruitcake provided by us, Collin Street Bakery!
Just so you all remember, this year marks the second year Collin Street Bakery proudly co-presents The Great Fruitcake Toss. So, in preparation for this year’s event, we sat down to chat with Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Special Events Coordinator, Jenna Gallas to get the inside scoop on this year's festivities.
Watch our 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 Great Fruitcake Toss Day.
Jenna: We are very excited to have Collin Street back on board!
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 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 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 springs 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. Some of them were being flung too far, placing nearby homes in jeopardy from flying desserts. So, now we just use our arms. But, we have a video on our website on how to build your own mini catapult for those who are still interested.
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 holds those “Free the Fruitcake” posters you see each year. Everyone has a soft spot for those decadently-decorated cakes adorned with flavorful nuts and cherries from your bakery. No one dares to throw a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake! You'd get in big trouble for doing that.
CSB: Well, we hope not! Speaking of events, you know, we are 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 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 ours!
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 learn more 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! Take a video of yourself throwing out an inferior fruitcake and we'll send you our superior fruitcake as a replacement. And, help us spread the word that #FruitcakeHateIsFake. Drop a review of our DeLuxe® Fruitcake in the comments below!