If you’re looking for a wacky, Halloween-themed Colorado day trip, mark your calendar for the last Saturday in October for the annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Bring your family and friends, but be sure to wear your Halloween costumes when you join in the spooky fun on Manitou Avenue during the annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade.
The annual race perpetuates the legend of Emma Crawford, a 19th century young lady who moved to Manitou Springs, hopeful that the mineral springs would cure her tuberculosis. Sadly, she died of the illness at age 19 in the late 1800s, but her last request was to be buried on nearby Red Chief Mountain. To honor her request, her fiancé and a dozen of his friends hauled her coffin up Red Chief Mountain to bury her. Sadly, over years, the erosion of the mountain and severe rains unearthed her coffin, which slid down the 7,200 foot mountain. Her soul hasn’t rested since as she supposedly haunts the mountain.
The Manitou Springs’ annual event consists of a procession of costumed “Emma” impersonators riding on coffin-like contraptions pulled by teams of four costumed “mourners.” Awards are given for the best Emma and most creative coffin completing the daylong event. Entries for the Coffin Races have already been filled, but a wait list is available for any teams hoping to participate.
Schedule of the 2011 17th annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races
Friday, October 28th 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Arrive a day early for Emma’s Wake at Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs. Reservations Required.
Saturday, October 29th 12:00 pm – 3:00pm
Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade on Manitou Avenue, downtown Manitou Springs, Colorado. Parade begins and Noon and the Races immediately follow.
How to get there:
Manitou Springs is just minutes from downtown Colorado Springs, west of I-25 on Highway 24, about 74 miles from Denver.
WHAT TO DO:
Manitou Springs is tucked between the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, America’s most famous mountain, and Pikes Peak area is a destination touched by Mother Nature.
Explore the historic downtown Manitou Springs before, after or during the Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade. The main street – Manitou Avenue – is lined with boutique shops, souvenirs, and restaurants. Get their early for sidewalk seating at Coquette’s Bistro & Bakery for a yummy gourmet, gluten-free crepe. Camp out in the beer garden at the Townhouse Lounge for one of the best burgers in town and a cold beer. Stop at Old Tyme Photos to create your own history.
The Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak regions offer year-round activities and attractions. Stop by the Manitou Springs Visitor Center for a free map and tasting cup. Taste the mineral springs, fed by the snows from Pikes Peak. Explore the Garden of the Gods by horseback at Academy Riding Stables. Or Ride up, up, up on the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad to the highest heights of Pikes Peak at 14,000+ feet. Visit a place where history is frozen in time at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
WHERE TO STAY:
Manitou Springs’ lodging caters to all budgets, ranging from historic motels, many still family-owned, lining the busy Manitou Avenue. Surround yourself in history and treat yourself to a stay at the historic Cliff House at Pikes Peak, built in 1873 before Colorado became a state! Decorated in late 1800’s style, The Cliff House at Pikes Peak has just 54 hotel rooms – and the luxury suites are named after guests from the past, such as Clark Cable, Buffalo Bill and Teddy Roosevelt. Roam the hall of the hotel, checking out the antiques, old pictures and historical pieces, such as guest registries from the 1800s,
For more information, visit www.manitousprings.org.
Photos Courtesy of © Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and © Diana Rowe