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Manitou's mourning star

Man, traffics been really rough lately.
  • Man, traffics been really rough lately.

Ever seen a pallbearer dressed in Reeboks and spandex?

Manitou Springs' beloved annual coffin race returns this weekend for its eleventh not-so-somber Saturday as part of The Emma Crawford Coffin Festival.

The town revelry centers on Crawford, the historic 19th-century figure who was interred atop Red Mountain until heavy storms loosened the granite and washed her coffin into town in the 1970s. Two young boys discovered Emma's remains, and the city provided her a proper burial in the Manitou Springs Cemetery. Details from her life grew into folklore and the focus of the festival activities.

The coffin race, along with Manitou ghost tours, a Victorian-era catered wake at the Miramont Castle, a children's fun run and 5K Mayor's Cup, attracts visitors and competitors from destinations afar. Participants in the race consist of four team "mourners" and one "Emma," who rides in a makeshift coffin to the finish line.

"This is a casual competition," explains Floyd O' Neil of Manitou's Chamber of Commerce. "We generally find amused responses to our quirky coffin race. Not too many people find it in poor taste or disrespect of the dead. It's a popular city event."

-- Matthew Schniper


Emma's Favorite

Haunts Ghost Tours

Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs

Friday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. , running every 20 minutes until approximately 8:30.

$10 adult, $5 children 8 and under; available in advance at the Manitou Chamber of Commerce, 354 Manitou Ave.

Emma's Wake

Miramont Castle,

9 Capitol Hill Ave.

Friday, Oct. 28, 6-9 p.m.

$15 person/$25 couple; call 685-1011 for reservations.

Parade of Coffins

and Coffin Race

Begins at Navajo and Manitou avenues, heading east

Saturday, Oct. 29, parade at 12:30 p.m., race at 1.

Free; for more, call the Chamber at 685-5089.

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