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Spotlight on old-time characters, museum exhibits in free History Center event Dec. 5

       For the second time this year, the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) is taking a new course on a traditional event.
       After 20 years, the volunteer nonprofit's annual, Christmas-themed, fundraising tour of historic buildings is being replaced by a new event, free and open to the public.
       The Holiday Open House Saturday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be held inside the History Center itself, 1 S. 24th St., focusing on its museum displays.
       Contributing to this effort will be historically garbed characters hosting
Susie Schorsch, treasurer for the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), and Westside photographer David Hughes hold a discussion in front of three display cases in the OCCHS' History Center after an event there last April. The new Holiday Open House - free and open to the public Saturday, Dec. 5 will feature historically attired characters discussing the exhibits.
Westside Pioneer photo
various exhibits. Atop the display cases will be small holiday trees “decorated to reflect the history of Colorado City,” according to the November edition of the OCCHS newsletter, West Word.
       The intent is to “thank the members and non-members for a great year,” the release continues. “We want to share the holiday with Colorado Springs.”
       The previous event, which had different names but was most recently known as the Holiday Tour, was started 20 years ago by a consortium of privately owned Westside bed-and-breakfast businesses. Because most operated in restored Victorian homes, the B&B owners saw it as a way to fundraise for the History Center while letting the public become more familiar with their offerings.
       Over time, B&B's from a broader area were added (mainly the downtown, Cheyenne area and Manitou Springs) and, most recently, historic buildings in general, including churches and retail businesses.
       According to Sharon Swint, a former OCCHS president who now handles the group's publicity, the decision this year was based in part on an increasing difficulty to find new venues for the tour, “and that affects attendance.”
       The society is not abandoning the original concept. Instead, consideration is being given to holding such an event every two or three years. That strategy is working well for the Estemeer tours in Palmer Lake and the Marigreen Pines up Ute Pass, Swint explained.
       Earlier this year, the OCCHS transformed the 17-year-old Cemetery Crawl fundraiser with costumed characters into the “Haunted Histories.”
       The new offering was similar, by featuring people reenacting Westside figures buried in Fairview. But the new event was held at night, with candles at the gravestones while the actors portrayed the characters as ghosts while still imparting historical knowledge.
       According to OCCHS board members, “Histories” proved popular, with tours almost completely sold out in advance.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 11/22/15; Community: Old Colorado City History Center)

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