Aspen holds annual tribute with ‘Schnickelfritz’ bash
June 15, 2010
ASPEN – Aspen celebrates the 106th birthday of one of its most famous, if not most irreverent, citizens with Tuesday’s bash in honor of Freddie Fisher.
The party takes place at the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum, operated by the Aspen Historical Society, and marks the openings of the society’s museums for the summer.
The fun gets under way at 5:30 p.m., featuring live music with Steve Cole and Dan Sadowsky, plus $5 beers and food from the Hickory House ($15 per plate). As is tradition, the coveted Fishwit prize (the Freddie Fisher Irreverent Wit Prize for Letters to the Editor) will also be presented during the festivities.
Fisher was well-known for his letters to the editor; he was also Aspen’s local “fix-it” man and a renowned jazz musician who fronted the Schnickelfritz Band in the 1950s. He came to Aspen in 1952 and died in 1967, but remains a fondly remembered local character.
The party is also a chance to check out the unusual assortment of ranching and mining equipment that has been assembled at the museum, once the site of a lexiviation, or processing plant, during Aspen’s mining days. The barn-turned-museum was once part of the Holden Lixiviation Works, a huge complex of buildings that stretched from the barn site to Castle Creek. The facility built in 1891, considered state of the art at the time, used crushing, heat and chemical salts to refine silver from ore.
A couple of ore stamps, including a large one retrieved from a mine site near Aspen, are located in the barn. Outside are a couple of steam engines that the museum’s crew are likely to show off (using compressed air, not steam) Tuesday.
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“Watching them run is kind of cool because you get an idea of how things really worked,” said Tom Egan, historical society spokesman.
The Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum is located at the Marolt Open Space on Aspen’s western edge – on the west end of the Marolt pedestrian bridge off of Seventh Street. Those coming to the party are encouraged to walk, ride a bike or take the bus as parking is extremely limited. Those who do drive should turn left directly after crossing the Castle Creek bridge, heading out of town, and follow the signs.
The party will take place rain or shine.
For the remainder of the summer, the museum is open from 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the $6 admission is also good for entry to the historical society’s Wheeler Stallard House museum. Admission to the mining and ranching museum is free during Tuesday’s event.