Record crowds, revenues highlight 14th annual Cemetery Crawl

       The 14th annual Cemetery Crawl Aug. 21 sprinted to new attendance and income records.

Standing by Anthony Bott's prominent tomb at the northeast corner of Fairview Cemetery, David Wright portrays the Colorado City co-founder (a regular Crawl character) for the first time in the Old Colorado City Historical Society's 14th annual Cemetery Crawl in Fairview Cemetery.
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       Marketing to a larger area than at times in the past, the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) attracted “crowds we almost couldn't handle,” said its president, Sharon Swint.
       Final figures had not yet been tabulated by mid-week, but she estimated the paid attendees at about 320, resulting in net earnings of about $1,800. The previous best was only about half that, she said.
       The event in Fairview Cemetery, 1000 S. 26th St., featured seven actors, standing at the gravesites of people they were dressed as and telling their life stories. Listening were groups of people who were led from site to site by OCCHS volunteer guides.
       There would have been eight story-tellers, but an emergency in the family prevented the character of Charles Ross being portrayed this year.
       This year's characters again featured famous madame Laura Belle McDaniel, who died in 1918. Lee Michels, now living in Denver, returned to the role she had played at earlier Cemetery Crawls, most recently 11 years ago.
       Michels said she has researched Laura Belle's life over the past 31 years and remains impressed with her community spirit and generosity. Even her death, after a car crash, occurred while driving to Denver to get help for a blind man, Michels said.
       The event is a fundraiser for the all-volunteer OCCHS, which owns and operates the Old Colorado City History Center at 1 S. 24th St.

Another regular character is famous madame Laura Belle McDaniel, being played again this year (after about an 11-year hiatus) by Lee Michels. Wright and Michels are co-owners of an Old West event company in Lakewood.
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