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Posted: October 01, 2012

Colorado cool stuff: Dracula’s fangs, day of the dead art, Saso sauces, Honey skateboards

Eric Peterson

DRACULA HOUSE FANGS

Don Nutting of Foothill Creations in Boulder got into greeting card distribution in the late 1960s, then the souvenir game in the 1970s, followed by Halloween masks and other products in the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, he saw a market opportunity in a premium line of costume fangs. "I developed the first universal fang that wouldn’t fall out," Nutting says. The trick: subtracting material on the back of the tooth and adding pliable thermoplastic. Now his Dracula House brand offers fangs for vampires, werewolves, zombies, devils, goblins and more. "We sell them all over the country and Europe," says Nutting, citing annual sales around $1 million. "It’s the best fang on the market." $19.95 to $29.95 retail.

Made by Foothill Creations Ltd., Boulder, www.draculafangs.com.

JERRY VIGIL’S DAY OF THE DEAD ART

Jerry Vigil is a self-taught artist who specializes in art for the holiday of Dia de los Muertos – a.k.a. Day of the Dead. "It seemed to be stuck in tradition," says Vigil of the art forms he saw when he started in the 1990s. "It wasn’t making the move to contemporary." Vigil sought to "jazz it up" with his hand-carved wood depictions of skeletons doing everyday things and skeletal masks, but he keeps the potentially morbid subject matter "very satirical and light." Adds Vigil, who is involved in Dia de los Muertos events at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs and the Denver Botanic Gardens: "I do classes and discussions. I try to enlarge the audience for Day of the Dead." Masks start at $200, sculptures start at $600.

Made by Jerry Vigil, Colorado Springs, www.vigilarte.com.

SASO HOT SAUCES

A high-tech salesman by day, Matthew Brennan makes gourmet hot sauces by night. "I want to complement your food," and not overpower it. SaSo makes three sauces: three-pepper tomatillo, roasted red chipotle, and chile pequin. "Most people haven’t heard of them," says Brennan of chile pequin. "They’re 20 to 40 times hotter than a jalapeño, but it dissipates." Now that SaSo is booming, widely available in Texas and Colorado, "It’s gone from a passion project to not getting enough sleep," Brennan says. $5.99 to $8.99 retail.

Made by SaSo LLC, Denver, www.sasosauces.com. Available at Whole Foods, Tony’s and Marczyk stores in Colorado; a store locator is on the website.

HONEY SKATEBOARDS

Mike Mahoney started making skateboards in wood shop as a teenager in the late 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he bought a custom skateboard press from a bankrupt manufacturer and launched Honey Skateboards.

Mahoney eschews graphics and uses sistered exotic wood veneers on his 33- to 59-inch longboards. Mahoney, who previously worked as a cabinetmaker and wood shop teacher in California, moved the company to Grand Junction in 2008 and now has three employees helping him crank out 2,500 longboards annually.

"Five or six years ago, you couldn’t get a high-schooler on a longboard," Mahoney says. "Now they’re riding them to school." $150 to $265 retail.

Made by Honey Skateboards (a dba for Mahoney Industries Inc.), Grand Junction, (970) 609-SK8R, www.honeyskateboards.com.

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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