Top, Manitou seniors Billy Ryan (22) and Dominic Archuleta (24) celebrate last week's 21-20 win over Trinidad at the MSHS field. The Mustangs' season comes to close this Friday at St. Mary's. Bottom, Manitou defenders swarm over Trinidad quarterback Vance Ferraro during second-half action last Friday at the Mustangs' field. Manitou won, 21-20.
Photos by Frank McKiel
A wake for a woman who died more than a century ago, a fireworks display in October, a parade like none you’ve ever seen, people in costumes rolling wheeled coffins down the street, live music, shots of tequila in the park … it’s all part of a wild weekend that's on tap in Manitou Springs with arrival of the 20th Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races and related festivities.
Activities begin Friday evening at Miramont Castle with a Victorian wake in the castle’s parlor where you can pay your respects to Emma L. Crawford, a Manitou Springs resident who died in 1891 and became a local legend of sorts after her buried remains washed down the side of Red Mountain in 1929. She was later reburied in Crystal Valley Cemetery.
Viewings at Emma's wake this Friday evening are planned for every 20 minutes starting at 6 p.m. and concluding at 7:20 p.m. The occasion includes a Victorian buffet dinner and beverages in the castle’s Great Hall.
Later in the evening, fireworks will be launched from Higginbotham Flats on the north side of town beginning at about 8:30 p.m. The show will be visible from most downtown locations.
Saturday, a parade of homemade coffins pulled by costumed members representing about 50 teams and each carrying a Emma Crawford lookalike is slated to begin at noon on Manitou Avenue. The races begin immediately after the parade, with the starting line located in the 900 block of Manitou Avenue near the Barker House and the finish located just before the roundabout at Manitou and Ruxton avenues.
A special attraction this year will be the return of competition among teams from fire departments in the region. They'll be vying for a traveling cup trophy.
After the races end at approximately 3 p.m., events in Soda Spring Park are slated to kick into gear. They include music by the West Side Rhythm Kings, a costume contest, tequila served by one of the races' sponsors, Agave Underground, and beer from the Bristol Brewery, another sponsor.
To accommodate the expected overflow crowd, the city is providing free parking at the Tajine Alami Moroccan Restaurant, 10 Old Man’s Trail, and at the Manitou Springs High School lot at 401 El Monte Place. Two shuttles operated by Gray Lines will also be available.
For information and prices of the Victorian Wake at Miramont Castle, call (719) 685-1011. For information about the Emma Crawford Festival, call the Chamber of Commerce at (719) 685-5089.