Participants undeterred by new Territory Days layout
All booths rented for 29th annual Old Town gala
Longer and stronger.
That's what Old Colorado City merchants are hoping will be true of the 29th annual Territory Days, which will have an extra block of entertainment and shopping over Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30).
Adding the 2300 block of Colorado Avenue to the traditional 2400 through 2700 blocks was spurred by a Colorado Springs Fire Department edict for a wider fire lane this year - 20 feet instead of 12 - along its length.
So far, this has had no detrimental impact on preparations for the daytime event, which, depending on the weather, draws as many as 140,000 visitors to Old Colorado City during its three-day run.
Lynda Dunne, event organizer for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, said all 210 booth spaces have been rented, there is a major sponsor (Citadel Communications, owner of several area radio stations), and OCCA will earn proceeds from all sales of Pepsi and 10 percent from food vendors'.
A similar scenario last year earned $80,000 for the merchants - the most in the event's history. The money is chiefly used by OCCA to promote Old Town through marketing and advertising.
Because of the wider fire lane, there will only be room for two lines of booths down the avenue this year, instead of three as in the past. In each block, there will be a line of booths down the middle; in alternating blocks, the other line of booths will be either on the south or north side.
Dunne had been concerned about the impact the change would have, because of the longer, thinner layout and the need to relocate some people who'd grown accustomed to renting in the same place.
In an effort to attract festival-goers to the new 2300 block, Dunne has located the popular Howell Indian Dancers and an “old- fashioned train for teeny kids” in that block. Like other blocks, it will also have food vendors and different types of booths.
The festival as a whole will offer popular activities from past years - including live music, gunfights, a territorial jail and mechanical bull rides.
“I hope people enjoy it,” Dunne said, “although I know it's going to be different for the people who knew it from before.”
Westside Pioneer article