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ColoPressAssn
August 28, 2014 Vol. 13 No. 40
Commonwheel Festival celebrates its 40th year
Written by Larry Ferguson   

Football team, coaches take Ice Bucket Challenge

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Manitou Springs High School football players are all smiles as they drench their coaches, who accepted the Ice Water Challenge, a national fundraiser to combat ALS, popularly known as Lou Gerig's disease. Pictured are coaches, from left, Monte Gutowski, Cory Archuleta, Brian Blumenfeld and Tom Cater. The players, happy in this photo, weren't laughing so hard when it was their turn on the receiving end of the ice water.

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Patsky/Kelsey Rose Photography

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One of the most popular yearly events in the Pikes Peak region is on tap this Labor Day weekend in Manitou Springs, and it promises to be special.

The Commonwheel Artists Co-op Arts & Crafts Festival will mark its 40th anniversary from Saturday through Monday at Fields Park, 101 El Paso Blvd.

The creations of about 90 potters, jewelers, painters, sculptors, photographers and glass artists from throughout the region will be on display, along with a lineup of nearly 20 musicians and bands, a host of food vendors and plenty of activities for children.

As always, there is no admission charge.

This will be the second year that the fair, formerly located in Memorial Park near the downtown district, will take place at Fields Park on the east side of town. Earlier this summer, the city installed electric and water hookups at the site.

Parking is limited at Fields Park, but free shuttles will be operating throughout the weekend from 8 to 10 p.m. daily, running at 20-minute intervals from the free parking lot behind the Tajine Alami Moroccan restaurant at 10 Old Man’s Trail to the festival.

Also, the Manitou 33A shuttle route runs from any of the Metro Bus stops on Manitou Avenue to Fields Park.

For the most direct ride to the fair, catch the 33A shuttle on the south side of Manitou Avenue.

A key location at the fair will be the Commonwheel Information Booth, positioned in the center of the park, facing the stage. At the booth, visitors can locate the tents of participating artists and check the entertainment schedule. A lost-and-found service will also be offered.

A big attraction each year are the free children’s activities, which include face painting (for donations), the creation of giant bubbles courtesy of Jim Jackson and the Millibo Art Theatre, and balloon “magic” artist Gary Jones.

New this year will be a beer and wine garden across from the entertainment stage sponsored by Bristol Brewing Company and Rocky Mountain Highway.

Entertainment is scheduled each day beginning at 10 a.m. with most musician and groups playing sets of 45 minutes to an hour.

Drawings for prizes that include dinners for two at several Cripple Creek casinos, including Triple Crown, Johnny Nolon’s and Wildwood; gift certificates from Commonwheel; a 12-person wine tasting at D’Vine Wine in Manitou Springs; and tickets to Millibo Art Theatre will be offered to visitors who sign up at the information booth.

Helping with the logistics of operating the fair will be members of the Zeb Pike Krafts, a student-managed business at Zebulon Pike Youth Services Center of Colorado Springs.

The students aid in setting up and taking down festival tents and equipment as well as helping to keep the festival park clean.

The list of food vendors includes A La Carte, Big Squeeze Lemonade, Bristol Brewing Company, Dionysos Greek Food, High Desert Nut Roasters, Johnny’s BBQ, Margo’s Vienna Station, Olde Tyme Concessions, Revoluti8on Café and Thai Pepper.