Next weekend, on Saturday, Feb 23, the little town of Florissant will be celebrating Heritage Day.
The town was founded in the 1800s with the help of a man from Missouri, and was named Florissant (French for Flowering) because not only were wild flowers abundant in the area, he was fond of his home town in Missouri, also named Florissant.
Heritage Day is an event the whole family will enjoy. The day starts with a Pancake Breakfast at the Florissant Volunteer Fire Department. The Florissant Fire Department is located on Highway 24, right near the Conoco Station. Proceeds will benefit this fine group of people who work tirelessly to come to the aid of local residents and visitors alike.
After breakfast, plan on visiting the Pikes Peak Historical Society Museum located on Teller County Road 1, next door to the Thunderbird Inn, and just across from the Florissant Post Office. Here, in addition to all the historical exhibits and displays, you’ll find a fine exhibition of mineral specimens, many donated by the Lake George Gem and Mineral Club. This little museum is home to one of the largest Smokey Quartz crystals ever found in North America. And it was discovered just a few years ago, at a claim right here in Teller County. It stands about four feet tall and is truly impressive!
The Old Schoolhouse, located on the other side of Highway 24 on County Road 31 across from Hutchison Lumber, will be the location for a slew of events and vendors.
Listen to live music all day on the Bandstand featuring The Elber Sisters, Cari Dell, Rich Currier, Tome Mnich, Mel March, and more.
Historic readings, reenactments, cowboy poets and magicians will all be on hand for your entertainment.
The MLazyC Ranch will be providing buckboard rides from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Adding to the “days of yesteryear” ambience, members of the Gold Camp Victorian Society will be in attendance wearing their historic attire.
Down The Ute Pass, in Green Mountain Falls, the town is preparing for their 73rd annual Bronc Day Celebration. On Sunday afternoon, July 24, starting at 4:00, the Mucky Duck restaurant is hosting a Wine Tasting and Silent Auction as a fundraiser for the Bronc Day Celebration which is coming up in August. And all proceeds are to support this annual festival.
The Bronc Day Celebration will be held on Saturday, August 6. This annual event is fun for the entire family. Check the Almanac for more information.
On August 9, at the popular Gazebo Lake Park in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado Midland Brass will be performing. The concert starts at 7:00 p.m. and will run for about an hour.
An ongoing summer attraction in Green Mountain Falls is the municipal pool. It is a small 16’ by 20’ outdoor pool, very basic, not even a diving board. It is surrounded by a tall cedar fence, and several large shade trees are growing nearby in the city park. The pool is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., but will close in the event of severe summertime weather. Just $4.00 gets you in for the day.
Back up the Ute Pass in Woodland Park, the Rampart Range Library will be hosting a huge book sale. On Friday, July 22 from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday, July 23, from 10:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, thousands of books, including fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, as well as audio and video will be available for purchase at very affordable prices.
Buck’s Mountain Saloon & Grill has quite a line up of live music coming up over the next few weeks. Check the Marquee, or call them at 686-4256.
The historic Ute Inn, a popular spot in Woodland Park since the 1940s, boasts a bar and a separate, family friendly restaurant. The food is very good, and the staff is friendly and efficient. Every day the “Ute” offers a lunch special for just $4.00.
The Teller County Fair starts on Wednesday, August 3 and runs through Sunday, August 7. The Teller County Fairgrounds are located on Teller County Road 1, just 18 miles from Highway 24 in Florissant. This traditional county fair features everything from 4H exhibits
and rodeo events, to a Garden Tractor Pull.
And on Friday night at the Teller County Fairgrounds, dance to live music by Al James. Saturday night’s dance will showcase the Black Rose Band.
For more information and a printable schedule, go to www.tellercountyfair.com.
The little town of Cripple Creek has much to see and do. There are, of course, the casinos. The Imperial, which closed some time ago, has now re-opened after much renovation inside and out, as Big Jim’s Casino.
And most of us old timers are thrilled to see that the Imperial Hotel’s Gold Bar Room Theater is re-opening! On the afternoon of August 6, Doors will open at 4:00 and a performance of “Wyatt Earp, A Life on the Frontier” will begin at 5:00. The show has been performed across the United States and Europe. This is the grand opening of the Gold Bar Room Theater, and more events are slated for this historic little theater. Please call 689-9540 or 689-2634 for more information.
If history interests you, Cripple Creek has plenty of it. There are two museums, the Heritage Center and the Homestead House, a museum of sorts, dedicated to the “soiled doves” of the mining days back around the turn of the last century.
And for a small town, Cripple Creek boasts over 30 places to dine. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or a late night snack, you’ll surely find something to suit your appetite.
Just a short, but incredibly scenic drive from Cripple Creek, sits the tiny hamlet of Victor. Nestled in the heart of the Gold Mining District, a visit to Victor is a step back in time.
The newly renovated, and family friendly Lowell Thomas Museum is open and showcases the history of this little mountain town.
When visiting Victor, three excellent options for getting a bite to eat are the Gold Camp Bakery, Kathy’s Fortune Club, and the Lucky Buck, all located in the heart of downtown Victor.
Just steps away from the eateries, are several shops and an art gallery, aptly named 80860, the zip code for Victor.
Stop by the Victor Trading Company, where you’ll find many hand crafted items, made on the premises, such as beautiful brooms, custom cookie cutters, beeswax candles, and vintage cards printed on an old fashioned letterpress. Visit them on line at www.victortradingco.com.
Battle Mountain Sutlers & Vindicator Arms is also a fascinating shop to visit. Proprietor Daniel S. Delaney is a master craftsman, and his shop showcases his work. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 689-6284 for more information.
Victor’s own Stratton Outdoor Amphitheater is located at the historic Independence Mill site, just outside the downtown area. On July 28, at 8:30 p.m. visitors can enjoy the night time sky at 10,000 ft, and surrounded by the historic old mining structures in this part of town. This event is free.
Also at the Stratton Outdoor Amphitheater, on the morning of August 6, at 10:00, Richard Marold will perform as Nikola Tesla, master of lightning and things electric. Parking is available at the Victor Heliport.
For more information about Victor, visit the town’s web site,
Back down the Ute Pass, Manitou Springs and Cascade are two towns nestled against the flanks of a massive geological formation known as a batholith, but more commonly referred to as Pikes Peak.
Both municipalities offer interesting shops and restaurants, well as many events and activities.
On Thursday evening, July 21, from 6:00 until 7:30, The Business of Art Center Venue 515 will present Short Circuits; 90 minutes of short films from around the U. S. and the world. Donations gladly accepted.
Need a good laugh? And who doesn’t these days! On Friday evening, July 22, from 7:30 until 9:00, Venue 515 will present an evening of family friendly comedy at it best.
Cascade too, boasts enticements for summertime fun. The North Pole, an old fashioned amusement park, complete with a Ferris wheel, is located outside Cascade, as is the entrance to the toll road that ascends Pikes Peak.
One of my favorite shops is Pikes Peak Rock Shop, located on the main drag leading into Cascade. Here you’ll find mineral specimens, both local and from around the world, and a vast array of merchandise, including many hand crafted items, that will appeal to visitors, locals, and rock hounds alike.
Three of my favorite restaurants in this area are, The Loop on Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs, Wines of Colorado, which is located at the light in Cascade just off Highway 24, and Vietnamese Garden, situated on Pikes Peak Avenue, just off 31st Street and Colorado Avenue.
Vietnamese Garden is a restaurant dedicated to freshly prepared home-style Vietnamese cuisine. Check out the restaurant’s web site at www.vietnamesegarden.net for weekly specials and coupons.
There are many, many opportunities for recreation and entertainment in and around the Pikes Peak region, and along the Front Range. And if the rich history of Colorado piques your interest, please visit www.explore-old-west-colorado.com. This easy to navigate web site, a work in progress by a local resident, offers a wealth of information on the culture and history of the Pikes Peak region and the Front Range.
Whether you are fortunate enough to live in this area, or are visiting from out of town, there are so very many ways to enjoy this unique region of America.