Bancroft fundraiser exceeds expectations

       The first event in a volunteer effort to fundraise for Old Colorado City's Bancroft Park attracted an even bigger turnout than expected April 28.

Attendees at the April 28 Taste of OCC in Bancroft Park check out the food, drink and sunshine.
Westside Pioneer photo

       On a clear and warm Sunday afternoon in the park, an estimated 650 people bought tickets to the three-hour “Taste of OCC,” which featured food and drink samples from 20 food and 11 beverage distributors, plus live music and five artists painting for the cause.
       The event was planned and organized by the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF), a charitable nonprofit which formed this year.

Artists Richard Williams (foreground) and J.R. Monks were among five painting for an auction to help with the fundraiser. Performing on stage is the band, Gentle Rain.
Westside Pioneer photo

Three of the five members of the Gentle Rain band perform in the Bancroft bandshell.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Financial tallies had not yet been finalized this week, but the income appears to be around $15,000, reported Dave Van Ness. He's the executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, which was the chief mover in starting the foundation.
       “We're super pleased,” Van Ness said, alluding to SuperFineDesigns, an Old Colorado City business that he credited for most of the organizing, planning and promotion for “Taste.”
       Beforehand, he had voiced the hope that as many as 500 tickets might be sold. The higher numbers appear to have resulted from a combination of effective marketing, nice weather, public interest in Bancroft and the prospect of a bevy of food and liquor samples.
       “Everyone was thrilled,” said Dave Brackett, owner of two Old Town eateries. “We'd planned on 400, but [even with 650] there was plenty of food until the end.”

Scenes from the Taste of OCC April 28 in Bancroft Park... A new batch of goodies gets lined up in the 2South Food and Wine Bar booth while happy patrons prepare to partake (or enjoy what they have).
Westside Pioneer photo

       All the edibles and beverages were donated, with 31 businesses taking part. Combined, “we gave away probably $4,000 worth of food and an equal amount of liquor,” Brackett said.
       But the cost was worth it, he asserted, believing that a better park will enhance the destination appeal of Old Colorado City.
       Already in the works for Sept. 28 is another new OCCF event, called Harvest in the Park, which will again feature food and drink, plus a chef's competition using ingredients from the simultaneous Farmers Market in Bancroft, he said.
       J.R. Monks, one of the artists who set up during the event, was also enthusiastic. “I like this idea, to invigorate the park,” he said. “I'm proud to be part of that.”
       Works created by himself and four other artists during the event were auctioned off later, to add to the fundraising totals.
       The foundation board consists of OCCA leaders as well as several people involved in the Westside community. The OCCF's mission is to raise money to upgrade Old Colorado City in general, with Bancroft Park as the initial priority.
       According to Van Ness, who is also a foundation board member, a discussion of what to do with the Taste of OCC earnings will be on the agenda of the May foundation board meeting.
       The hope is that the foundation's contributions for the park can be matched by City Parks, which has jurisdiction over Bancroft.
       Renderings of possible park improvements were on display at Taste of OCC, as developed for the foundation by John Olson and Mark Tremmel of the Collaborative Design Group. The proposals - which would need to go through a city/public review process - include better restrooms, a brick entry way, an upgraded pavilion, flower gardens, added seating areas, accommodations for the now-off-street Farmers Market (starting in June) and a “versatile and vibrant plaza” (in front of the stage) that would allow a play fountain in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

Mark Tremmel of the Collaborative Design Group (which has been working with Old Colorado City leaders) explains aspects of a rendering showing potential park upgrades. It was displayed during the three-hour event.
Westside Pioneer photo

Westside Pioneer article