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Territory Days back for 39th year May 24-26 in Old Colorado City

       Territory Days, the biggest event in sheer numbers on the Westside every year, will take over Old Colorado City during Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26.
       The free street festival with an Old West theme draws an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people, depending on the weather. Preparations will start about 7 p.m. May 23, with the closure of the avenue between 23rd and 27th streets.
Past Territory Days scenes... ABOVE: A rider on the mechanical bull is on his way to a fall. Note: This is one of the activities that requires a fee. BELOW: In the quick-draw competition, the farther contestant is about to "die laughing."
Westside Pioneer file photos
       Starting at 10 a.m. each day (Saturday through Monday), the daytime event is owned by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, which uses its earnings to promote the historic business district throughout the year. Territory Daysis also a boon to the city: At a recent neighborhood informational meeting, festival organizer Jim Wear reported that the event paid the city $15,000 in sales taxes last year from its street vendors.
       According to Wear, this year's 39th annual Territory Days will feature popular carryover elements, including about 200 vendors; live music in Bancroft Park and at the two venues where alcohol is allowed; children's rides; the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys church service Sunday the 25th; a Memorial Day remembrance Monday the 26th; and Western-themed activities such as gold panning, square dancers, gunfight shows, blacksmithing, late-1800s characters, Native American dancers and a quick-draw competition on the 26th.
       Most Old Colorado City businesses will also be open.
       New this year will be a reenactment by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) of Colorado City's early 1900s debate that led to a controversial city vote to prohibit alcohol. Note from May 24: An OCCHS spokesperson confirmed that the reenactment had to be cancelled.
       While admission is free to Territory Days, some activities (such as the kids' rides and the mechanical bull) cost money.
       Out-of-town bands slated at Bancroft Park are the Robby Wicks Band (rock), Wirewood Station (Americana), Dylan Scott (country), Natalie Stoval & the Drive (country) and Our Generation (kid rock). Several popular local bands are also on the bill. As in past years, the South Dakota-based Brule will play at the top of each hour on 25th Street.
       An activity schedule (subject to change) appears in Wear's 12-page Territory Days event program, which is available for free at numerous Old Colorado City locations.
       Preparations for Territory Days will be visible to the public about 7 p.m. Friday, May 25, with the closure of the avenue.
       Handicapped parking will be made available in the city lot at Cucharras and 26th and also in marked, on-street spaces on Cucharras west of 27th Street.
       Because of tight parking, a free shuttle bus (picking up and dropping off at 23rd Street at 15-minute intervals) will be available for festival-goers each day from the parking lots at Coronado High School and, when there's overflow at Coronado, Rock Ledge Ranch.
       Wear said the OCCA pays about $10,000 for that service, which is intended to relieve traffic in the neighborhoods around Old Colorado City.
       The biggest OCCA expense is over $30,000 to hire police to ensure safety at the festival and patrol the surrounding neighborhoods, he added.
       Wear said efforts will also continue this year to pick up trash inside the Territory Days area - or even in the neighborhoods, if it's event-related. “Complaints of this type should be directed to me on my cell phone at 291-3915,” he said.
       As for cars parking on neighborhood streets, city laws require that they be no closer than 5 feet from driveways and 15 feet from street corners, according to Gold Hill Police Division Commander Pat Rigdon. To enforce such laws, a parking enforcement officer will be dedicated to the event, he said, but clarified that parked vehicles will only be towed if they block someone's access.
       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 Street.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 5/13/14, updated 5/24/14; Business: Events)

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