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Territory Days attendees join members of the Gathering Spirits Native American Drums ensemble for an all-inclusive dance finale that snaked through the parking lot of the Old Town Plaza Monday, May 30, on the closing day of the annual street festival in Old Colorado City. The dance leader from Gathering Spirits can be seen at far left. The group (from the Colorado Springs Indian Center) had been playing on the stage in the background, on which two members of the group (not in view) remained during the dance finale to provide singing and backbeat.
Westside Pioneer photo

With mostly clear skies, crowds return for 41st annual Territory Days

Shortly before the official formal ceremony for Memorial Day in Bancroft Park, the three members of the U.S. Northern Command Color Guard from NORAD pose for a photo with young attendees behind the Garvin Cabin during Territory Days May 30.
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With mostly clear skies for the first time in three years, the 41st annual Territory Days attracted the large crowds it's known for May 28-30 in Old Colorado City.
       “Attendance-wise, it was way more than last year and the year before,” organizer Jim Wear said. He also reported “record sales from vendors” and no serious problems. He didn't offer attendance estimates (and no counting takes place at the free event), but police and other guesses in past years have put the three-day number as high as 150,000.
       Scheduled as always over Memorial Day weekend, the street festival closed off Colorado Avenue between 23rd and 27th streets, filling the pavement with more than 200 street vendors, kids' rides, several western-themed activities, two beer gardens and live music in various venues, including nearly non-stop bands in Bancroft Park.
       As is his tradition, Wear also scheduled time in Bancroft May 30 to recognize Memorial Day and the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who've been killed in our nation's wars. For this, he enlisted the participation of the 101st Army Winds, a volunteer Colorado National Guard group; and the U.S. Northern Command Color Guard from NORAD.
       A Territory Days feature this year was the enhanced use of the park's historic Garvin Cabin. The Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), which also runs the museum and bookstore at 24th and Pikes Peak Avenue, presented historically garbed people discussing western lore. These included Johnie Jackson,
Johnie Jackson of the Old Colorado City Historical Society displays one of several antique guns he brought to Territory Days. He set up all three days in front of the Garvin Cabin in Bancroft Park.
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with his collection of old-time guns; Charlease Elzenga, operating the kind of spinning wheel that was often seen in the Old West; and Don Hansen, a retired pharmacist who has studied the pre-modern medical practices of the American 1800s (before aspirin was invented).
       Asked afterward if he spoke to many people, Jackson laughed and said quite a few. He was especially pleased to have been invited to bring his presentation to three different home school groups.
       Another event highlight was the return of Brulé, the American Indian rock band that's been a regular part of Territory Days for many years, but was unable to make it last year. As in the past, the musicians had their own stage on 25th Street (just north of Colorado Avenue), playing well-attended hourly sets and meeting with their fans in front of the stage between shows. Giving added dimension to the Brulé sets were corresponding performances in front of the stage by the Northern Winds Native American Dance group.
       Other popular returning groups/activities at Territory Days included Hawk Quest, a nonprofit presenting the kinds of raptor birds it cares for; the Rock Ledge blacksmiths at work; free panning guided by the Gold Prospectors of Colorado; the Wild West Gunfighters (giving loosely scripted enactments); and fast-stepping by the Pikes Peak Area Square Dancers.
       Wear organizes Territory Days annually as a profit-making event for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA), a group of several dozen businesses in and around the historic district, which uses the proceeds mainly for marketing efforts.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 5/30/16, updated 5/31/16; Business: Events)

LEFT: Two members of the Northern Winds Native American Dance group perform during a set by Brulé on 25th Street. RIGHT: Simultaneous rides are shown looking north on 24th Street.
Suzanne Kemp photo (left); Westside Pioneer photo (right)
The 101st Army Winds, a volunteer Colorado National Guard group, performed on the Bancroft Park stage before and during the Territory Days formal ceremony honoring Memorial Day.
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The Pikes Peak Area Square Dancers perform in the Old Town Plaza during Territory Days.
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Steve Gurley (right), a member of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado, talks with participants in the free, educational gold panning his group sponsors as an annual part of Territory Days.
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Hamster balls in water were a source of fascination for Territory Days youngsters in the 2300 block. The photo looks west from 23rd Street, revealing the kind of angry skies that menaced the event all three days but only produced a few minor sprinkles.
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A steady flow of people stroll (and roll) east down the closed-off avenue at 26th Street during a busy part of Territory Days, around 1 p.m. Sunday, May 29.
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