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Emma Crawford Coffin Races

Emma Crawford Coffin Races 2017

Every October, the city of Manitou Springs Colorado comes together to celebrate a facet of macabre history of the village – the day that Emma Crawford’s coffin came racing down the mountain. To celebrate it, residents and visitors alike come dressed up in Halloween costumes and the main street is shut down for a “coffin race” for all to see.

Emma Crawford moved to Manitou Springs in the 1800’s seeking a cure for her struggle with tuberculosis. Since the Springs of Manitou were notorious for curing TB, it was a good place for her to be. In 1890 though, the illness got the best of her, and she passed away. Her wish upon her death was to be buried on top of Red Mountain, overlooking the village.

Friends, family, and villagers honored her request, hauled her body up the mountain, and buried her atop the mountain. However, as is common with this region susceptible to floods and weather … Several years of rain and harsh weather chewed away at the top soil above her grave and eventually her remains slid down the mountain into the canyon below where two young boys discovered her name plate and silver handles of her casket.

Annually Manitou celebrates the event and the woman with parades, parties, concerts, and a city event.

15th Annual Emma Crawford Races, 2009

23rd Annual Emma Crawford Races, 2017


Emma Crawford Coffin Races 2017 (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=34079), Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 28, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017. Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. More info about Colorado Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=31051

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15th Annual Emma Crawford 2009 Coffin Races


Hearse Con: Gary (white), Zach (black), and Ghostbusters; then parade

15th Annual Emma Crawford 2009 Coffin Races
* 1-800-642-2567 * manitousprings.org * 12 pm – 3 pm * Every October * Manitou Springs, Colorado
This is one of the spectacular festivals that makes Manitou Springs sorta-unique especially as a place where people can be strange, different, and freakish. It definitely rhymes in with the “Keep Manitou Weird” campaign that’s been going around for a few years. Of course, Colorado has at least two of these wacky Coffin Races, the other being the “Frozen Dead Guy Days” in Nederlands, Colorado. Every October, on Manitou Avenue, in the town’s National Historic District, thousands gather to watch push-cart coffins be raced down the avenue in honor and memory of the late Emma Crawford. Emma Crawford moved to Manitou Springs as did many to partake of the healing mineral springs that were a known cure for tuberculosis that she was suffering from. However, the summer of 1890 she died just as she was about to marry an engineer named Mr. Hildebrand of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. She wanted to be buried atop Red Mountain, and even though the city did not approve it, Mr. Hildebrand and eleven other men carried her coffin to the top of the Red Mountain and laid her to rest there at the 7200 foot Summit. 1929 storms eroded the granite holding her coffin and her remains were washed down the side of Red Mountain. Some say her coffin went racing down the roads. She was reburied in the Manitou Springs Cemetery in an unmarked grave. An official grave was dedicated to her in 2004. Coffin Races were established in her honor to keep her story alive. At 12 o’clock, someone is dressed up as Emma to judge the races. Everyone dresses up ghoulishly, festivities take place all over town, and thousands gather to watch the races. Teams push-carting their coffin hosting a “Emma” within race up and down Manitou Ave. Parading of costumes and coffins, The Hearse Con from Denver come down and do a Hearse parade as well. So too come the Ghostbusters. It’s a great affair and a fabulous time! Arrive early to grant parking. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Frozen Dead Guy Days 2009, Part II

Events at Frozen Dead Guy Days 2009 * Nederlands, Colorado
The 2009 Festival began on Friday March 6th with a plethera of activities … at 3:00 pm – ONDA opened the festival with Latin/Jazz/fusion, followed by MOTORHOME from 4:30 until 7 pm bring Rock-n-Roll from Fort Collins to amp everyone up for the infamous BLUE BALL. At 7 pm, the Opening Ceremony official begins the festival, followed by the telling of ghost stories at the Blue Owl Books. Then from 8 pm until midnight, the infamous BLUE BALL takes place with the Grandpa look-alike and Ice Queen costume contests. Music brought to you by Halden Wofford and the High Beams soaring Rocky Mountain HonkeyTonk at the Black Forest Restaurant. The contest took place from 10 until 10:30, and a midnight champagne tour with the Ice Man himself. Saturday, March 7th begins at 8 am at the Teen Center for contest registration and assistance. The official Frozen Dead Guy Days Pancake breakfast event blossoms the day with pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee, and juice with all you can eat. At 11:00 am – My Tea Kind performs and kicks off the festivities at the tent with a grand bit of Folk Rock. From 11 until 4 pm, costume and portrait studio capturing the event with costumes, make-up, and photos; and then Dog House Video shows the film “Grandpa’s in the Tuff Shed” in the upper floor of the Carribou Shopping Center. At Noon – the very Cryogenics Parade begins on First street from the Nederland Teen Center with locals and people from all over the state celebrating in rare form … including costumes, hearses, coffins, and odd vehicles. The Parade was fabulous and blessed with a white fluffing dusting of snow to add to the Frozen Dead Guy ambience. Afterwards, a pilgrimage to the kids pond in Chipeta Park where from 1 pm – 2 pm, everyone can take the Polar Bear Plunge in a square cut in the center of the frozen over pond for an ice chilled bath.The costumes and expressions of the numerous plungers were phenomenal. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.


Polar Bear Plunge at Frozen Dead Guy Festival

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Frozen Dead Guy Days, Nederland, Colorado


Frozen Dead Guy and the Ice Queen
Nederlands, Colorado

Frozen Dead Guy Days * Nederlands, Colorado
It all began in 1993 when Trygve Bauge was deported back to Norway after over-staying his visa. What he left behind in Nederland came as a shock to local law enforcement and residents: the “cryogenically” frozen body of his grandfather, Bredo Morstol, in a freezer in a ice tough shed. Bauge was planning on starting a cryogenics facility on his property, keeping his grandfather packed in dry ice. Shortly after the discovery, the town board passed a law making such storage illegal, but Morstol was ‘grandfathered in” and the news of this brought national and international headlines. Many years of tourists followed with individuals asking “where the frozen dead guy is” and that’s when the city decided to put on an annual festival (similar to Manitou Springs infamous Ema Crawford Coffin Races) and capitalize on the news event bringing tourists to their small mining community. They called it “Frozen Dead Guy Days” with a Grandpa look-a-like contest, quest to find him a “frozen bride”, a coffin race, a polar plunge, a parade, and a “Blue Ball”. The Grandpa still resides in Nederland in his cozy “Tuff Shed” donated by the company of the same name to house his freezer. Dry ice is still delivered and he is re-packed on a regular basis. The festival runs three days early March. They recommend to dress warmly, sign up ahead of time for events such as the coffin race or the look-alike contest, and recommend spending the night in Nederland. In 2009, I attended during the Saturday events for the Parade and the Polar Bear Plunge. Fabulous festival. Got completely dumped on by snow which added tremendous effect. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Frozen Dead Guy Days 2009 – continued
2009 event continued …


Hearse Parade

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