Band with #1 song at T-Days
Thompson Square headlines annual festival May 28-30 in Old Town

       A Nashville, Tenn., band with a number one song on national country radio will headline the musical lineup for the 36th annual Territory Days over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30.
       Thompson Square, led by married couple Keifer and Shawna Thompson, will perform Sunday, May 29 at 4 p.m. in Bancroft Park.
       Two songs by the group made the country charts last year, with “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” rising to the top.

A Hawkquest handler talks to one of the raptor-care group's eagles during the 2008 Territory Days.
Westside Pioneer file photo

       “Thompson Square is probably the best headliner we've had in recent memory,” said Jim Wear, owner of Pro-Promotions, the Territory Days organizer. “They had a strong hit and look to become really popular.” Last year's Territory Days featured three national groups, “but we decided to shoot for one bigger headliner this time.”
       Eleven other groups, presenting a diversity of musical genres, will also perform in Bancroft for the free street festival, during which Colorado Avenue will be closed between 23rd and 27th streets.
       Overall, Wear said that returning T-Days attendees can expect to find the same popular attractions as last year. Other live music will be in the “OK Corral Saloon” (a temporary, enclosed drinking area in the public parking lot in the avenue's 2600 block), as well as at different locations along the street. The most prominent of these will be Arvel Bird, whose live show with Indian dancing will be expanded from last year, according to Wear.
       Some of the returning activities will be mock-gunfight shows Saturday and Sunday, a “Cowboy Church Service” Sunday , a fast-draw gun competition Sunday and a Memorial Day Moment of Silence Monday (Memorial Day) in honor of American military members who have died for their country.
       All three days will again find the Hawkquest raptor bird demonstrations, mechanical bull rides, gold panning and blacksmiths from Rock Ledge Ranch. Also, as usual, the four-block stretch will be lined with scores of vendor tents, where people can shop for food, clothes and various creations and crafts. Also, most Old Colorado City retail stores and restaurants will be open for the event.
       One traditional Territory Days offering, the “Kids Zone” - with ticket-rides, a petting zoo and other activities - will be relocated this year to the Old Town Plaza parking lot at 25th and Colorado, Wear said. Last year the play area was in the 2600 block while the plaza was used for the historically focused “Discovery Junction”; however, the latter did not prove to be a big enough draw, and its planners (The Historic District Merchants of Old Colorado City) decided not to bring it back this year. That left the parking lot clear, and the plaza ownership board agreed to rent it for the event.
       “The thinking is it's such a central spot and we hate to let it sit empty,” Wear said. “While it's not as as big as [the 2600 block site], I think more people will see it and take advantage of it.”
       Because of the large crowds, the organizer recommends that, instead of looking for elusive parking spaces in Old Colorado City neighborhoods, people driving in should leave their cars in the lots at either Coronado High School or the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. No-charge shuttle buses will run between those lots and Old Colorado City every 15 minutes. This year, Wear said he's added three buses to the mix. The shuttles kept up with demand most of the time last year, but with the heavy crowds at peak times of the festival, they sometimes got “backed up,” he said.
       The event will provide free parking for bicyclists at an enclosed “valet”area within the event at the southwest corner of 24th and Colorado. A motorcycle-only lot will be available in the credit union parking lot at 22nd and Colorado.
       Handicapped parking will be available in the city lot at Cucharras and 26th and also in marked, on-street spaces on Cucharras west of 27th.
       Territory Days is put on by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, which profits from the event, allowing it to market the historic shopping district throughout the year.
       Pro-Promotions has published a 12-page Territory Days program with schedule information, and the Westside Pioneer will also publish a detailed schedule in its May 26 issue.

Westside Pioneer article