Territory Days in OCC May 29-31

      

The distant past meets a fanciful 19th century Colorado City in this original piece for the Westside Pioneer by Westside artist Douglas Rouse. The men in the foreground are "chalk-painting" - a take-off on one of Rouse's artistic pursuits involving trick-of-the-eye techniques. See Rouse STORY, PHOTO.
Westside Pioneer photo
Territory Days, by far the biggest annual event on the Westside, will return to Old Colorado City this Memorial Day weekend.
       In good weather, the three-day festival typically attracts well over 100,000 attendees. Even last year, with heavy intermittent rains, an estimated 80,000 people still showed up, splashing in the puddles for fun.
       Planned by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, this year's 35th annual Territory Days will run from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30 and from 10 to 6 Monday, May 31.
       Colorado Avenue between 23rd and 27th streets will be closed for the occasion. Admission is free, but fees are charged for some activities.
       Although not all local businesses profit directly from Territory Days, the OCCA sees it as a chance to market the location to people from throughout the region. As restaurant owner Jake Topakas explained it, a conversation among festival-goers afterward might go like this: “'Where was that?' 'The Westside.' 'That's a cool place.'”
       A constantly running shuttle bus from and to Coronado High School will provide access for those who don't want to fight for parking spaces on narrow neighborhood streets.
       New OCCA event orga-nizer Jim Wear also hopes to reduce event-area traffic with an overflow shuttle parking lot and free “valet” parking for people who ride in on bicycles.
       Other efforts pleasing the surrounding neighborhoods are OCCA plans for trash cleanups in a four-block radius of the event, with the last one June 1 (the day after Memorial Day).
       Originally a business-sponsored parade using Colorado City's colorful Old West past as a draw, this year's event will include more historical attractions than ever, with returning activities in Bancroft Park (Colorado Avenue at 24th Street) and new ones in the Old Town Plaza (off Colorado Avenue at 25th Street). The latter is a sub-event called “Discovery Junction,” organized by the Old Colorado City Historic District Merchants. There will be two tipis, a chuckwagon, historical photos and interpreters in period costume from the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and the Old Colorado City Historical Society.
       Old West-themed attractions at Bancroft will include the Fast Draw competition Sunday afternoon, several shoot-'em-up skits by the Gold Canyon Gunfighters over the three days, and (ongoing) Rock Ledge Ranch blacksmiths at work and Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) volunteers with displays at the park's Garvin Cabin.
       Although not officially part of the event, the neighboring Old Colorado City History Center at 1 S. 24th St. will also be open throughout.
       Other traditionally popular offerings at the festival are the mechanical bull ride, Hawkquest birds of prey demonstrations, children's pony rides, Gold Prospectors of Colorado gold-panning and Red Herring street actors.
       Children's activities/ rides will again be offered in the 2300 and 2600 blocks, with a kiddy train starting from 24th and Colorado.
       No open liquor is allowed at Territory Days, but two event drinking locations will be provided - the OK Corral Saloon in the mid-2600 block parking lot (with live music) and the Beer Garden along Colbrunn Court next to Bancroft Park.
       The Bancroft bandshell is listed for 13 shows by 12 different bands over the three days. Two are nationally charted country-rock bands - Steve Azar, 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday; and Bomshel, 3 to 4 p.m., Monday. In the same genre are the Jane Dear Girls (Saturday, 2:30-3:15 p.m.), who have been recording out of Nashville.
       In addition, there will be four musical acts at street locations throughout the festival (including the nationally known Arvel Bird on 25th Street north of the avenue), and some of the Bancroft bands will also play at the OK Corral.

Westside Pioneer article