Sun shines on Territory Days
Crowd estimated at 120,000 for 3-day festival
With gas prices high and scarcely a drop of rain over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, it seemed as if half of Colorado Springs made their way to Territory
Days in Old Colorado City May 26-28.
The police estimate was 120,000 people. Although this was below attendance guesses for some past Territory Days - which have ranged as high as 150,000 - event organizer Lynda Dunne said the streets “felt as crowded” as they did before Colorado Avenue's 2300 block was added to the original three in 2005. “There were lots of folks there,” she concluded.
The new attractions - including a fast draw competition, Civil War encampment and a Buffalo Soldiers appearance - helped add to the throng, she believes. “We were advertising a lot of historic additions,” she said. “Next year we will probably continue to build on the integrity of that theme, because Territory Days is more than just a festival. It's educational and unusual.”
The historical impetus comes from the event's origins during the Colorado centennial of 1976, which celebrated Colorado City's role as one of the earlies towns and (briefly) the territorial capital.
Other popular features at this year's Territory Days were performances by nationally touring country-rock band Whiskey Falls; other bands, including the Colorado Wranglers, Brule & Nicole, and Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors; gunfight reenactments; three different dance performances; Western-dressed actors mingling on the streets; Indian dancers, gold panning, pony and train rides and a gaming parlor.
The fast draw, new this year, was especially well received, according to Dunne. “That will grow, and get bigger each year,” she said. (See separate story.).
Clyde Moore, a member of the Buffalo Soldiers contingent, said the group was happy to be invited because of a chance to be seen by so many people. “A lot of people have never heard of the Buffalo soldiers,” he said , referring to the black cavalry that fought in the Indian wars of the West.
Dunne said the shuttle from Coronado High also worked well, with the only problems being illegally parked cars blocking the bus at times near the 23rd and Colorado drop-off.
She did not yet have a total number of parking tickets from police. Last year parking officers issued more than 600 tickets in the area of the event.
The event's success is good news for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, which puts on the annual street festival. Earnings from its sponsors and 200-some vendors are used by the OCCA to cover the costs of smaller events and activities throughout the year.
Westside Pioneer article