Sun shines on historical weekend
A weekend drier than Colorado Springs in Palmer's time helped the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) present the annual Founders' Day (Aug. 11 at
Bancroft Park) and Cemetery Crawl (Aug. 12 at Fairview Cemetery).
The result was two well-attended events over the weekend, according to Jo Cervone, one of the OCCHS' co-organizers.
The Crawl, for which 125 tickets were sold, was especially gratifying. “That's a good number for us,” Cervone said. “We've had nothing but good feedback on all our performers, including the four new actors [out of eight] that we had this year. People really enjoyed it.”
The event is also one of the major OCCHS fundraisers.
Attracted also by an OCCHS-sponsored craft fair in the park and the weekly Farmers' Market on 24th Street, at least 400 people attended Founders' Day, based on estimates from Cervone and McBride. The free get-together celebrates the start of Colorado City in August 1859.
Unlike William Palmer's teetotaling Colorado Springs that started 12 years later, a few miles to the east, Colorado City had a reputation as a rip-roaring town, as indicated by two of the Cemetery Crawl characters - famous madam Laura Belle (played again by Jennifer Clark) and the wife of a faro dealer who died of an opium overdose (played by Sarah Swint).
The 2006 Founders' Day had been cut short a couple of hours because of a downpour, and last year's Crawl too caught some sprinkles.
This year, the entire Founders' schedule went off without a hitch, including three musical groups, impersonations of four historical figures, a craft fair, the Gunfighters of the Resurrection reenactment group and the Victorian Society of Colorado Springs.
The latter two groups were particularly popular, according to Cervone and Kathy McBride, the head Founders' Day organizer (who also stepped in as a last-minute replacement to portray Colorado City preacher's wife Katherine Lamont at the Crawl). “If you looked around for the crowd pleasers, I think you'd find it was a toss- up between the Victorian Society of Colorado Springs and the Gunfighters of the Resurrection,” McBride said. “I did hear many comments about the costumes that the Victorian ladies were wearing, especially those hats. A number of folks remarked about the performance that featured both the Victorian Dancers and the Shadow Mountain String Band.”
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