Territory Days – Cure for all that ails you?
You lost your job, your retirement fund collapsed, your house is in foreclosure and new taxes are on the horizon. What to do? Go to Territory Days!
That's probably a bit extreme, but Lynda Dunne, coordinator of the annual three-day street festival over Memorial Day weekend - May 23-25 this year - does believe the Old Colorado City event provides a citywide boost.
“It's the first real event of the season,” she said. “People are ready to get out and be positive. It's been pretty negative out there. This is a good time to take your family and remember why you're in Colorado.”
Organized by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, Territory Days will go from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24. On Monday, May 25, the hours will be 10 to 6.
Colorado Avenue between 23rd and 27th streets will be closed to make room for more than 200 vendors, musicians, children's rides and other activities, while Bancroft Park will provide an ongoing venue for live music and entertainment/demonstrations - many of them related to the Old West.
In addition, most of the shops in Old Colorado City will be open for business.
Continuing rain or shine, the festival typically attracts 130,000 to 140,000 people on clear weekends, based on Dunne's past estimates.
Admission is free, but fees are charged for some activities. Two drinking locations will be provided - the Margarita Cantina at 25th and Colorado and the Beer Garden in Colbrunn Court - in addition to the Old Colorado City's regular taverns.
Off-street parking is almost non-existent. Rather than take the chance on a parking ticket on narrow neighborhood streets, Dunne recommends that visitors use the merchants' free shuttle (see story on this page).
Historical attractions include the Fast Draw competition, Territorial Jail, gunfight reenactors, mechanical bull ride, Hawkquest birds of prey demonstrations, Rock Ledge Ranch blacksmiths, gold-panning and Red Herring street actors in period costume.
Two nationally known performers will highlight this year's Bancroft Park musical line-up - country-rock stars Trent Tomlinson (2 to 4 p.m. Saturday) and Eli Young (4 to 5 p.m. Sunday). They will be among a total of 14 bands scheduled in Bancroft throughout the event.
Other musical acts, playing off and on throughout the three-day weekend, will be Brule (27th and Colorado), Darren Skanson (2500 block) and the Bill Stevens Band (inside the Margarita Cantina).
Children's activities/rides will again be offered in the 2300 and 2600 blocks, with the kiddy train starting from 24th and and Colorado.
In another returning activity, the historic log cabin in Bancroft Park will be open, with the Old Colorado City Historical Society selling baked goods.
Westside Pioneer article