“Summer of Fun” Couldn’t Arrive Any Sooner

Rick Langenberg


Move over Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, David Crosby Jimmy Hendrix  and other legends of the psychedelic era for an outright carnival of fun and zaniness. (Scary, out of this list, Grace is only one still alive, and she is probably the craziest of all the above-mentioned names).


Yes, California may have celebrated its “Summer of Love” in the sizzling 1960s, an era that just doesn’t seem to slip away in our cultural memory. The media, including us, won’t let this phrase go away.


But Cripple Creek, Victor and southern Teller have their own “Summer of Fun, a phrase once dubbed by former marketing guru and outright Wild Man Doug Shane, one of the city government’s more distinct characters.  And this celebration is right up there in the land of zaniness, and is now giving Manitou Springs a run for their money in the special event showdown.

Manitou may sport their infamous coffins and crazy costumes, but the Creek has its donkeys.


The Summer of Fun was devised as a way to bring folks to Cripple Creek and Victor and offer more family-entertainment. Doug, in quite a colorful fashion, played the role as the head event MC, cheerleader and promoter of what became a laundry list of festivals.  Remember Doug driving around during festivals, letting folks know that TMJ staffers were on the prowl, and if you aren’t with the person who are supposed to be with, “you are busted, baby.” It definitely signaled an era of good times.


Prior to the Summer of Fun, the area bustled with maybe a handful of festivals.


That scenario definitely changed during the gaming boom years and put the town on the special event map, in competition with the resort communities of Colorado.


This effort took a definite beating during COVID, and yes, it got hammered during the normal Cripple Creek political fights over marketing, heritage tourism, historic preservation, and the direction the town wanted to take.  It seems Cripple Creek has engaged in these discussions for decades, and even with a slew of master plans and studies, they still occur. At one point, Cripple Creek appeared intent on slicing its entire events calendar, an act that almost generated a grand patron revolt.


But now, the great Summer of Fun is bracing for a big return.  Just check out the event schedules in the CC/V district. There are close to 40 events from now through the end of the year, with some colorful names, such as Rita’s 2nd Annual Fastelavn, Steampunk Soiree, 25th Annual Putnam County  Spelling Bee, Forgotten Female Felons and much more.


The wild times kick off this weekend with Donkey Derby Days

And couple that with the growing happenings in Woodland Park, the growingly impressive musical lineup at local  eateries and bars, and art happenings down the Pass, and we have quite an entertaining summer.


And then if this isn’t enough, take a hike on one of our many trails, or play a round of golf at Shining Mountain and see if you can miss as many fairways as U.S Open champ Bryson DeChambeau. (Bryson proved that you don’t have to play from the fairway to win big in golf.)


We say great, and this particular version of our Summer of Fun couldn’t have arrived any sooner.


With the current political strife, the angst over the presidential race, and outright ugliness on social media, the time has come to lose your phone for a day or two and head up to Cripple Creek or Victor for an event, or show, or special time at a casino or a local shop.


Once we get done with Donkey Derby Days, it’s on to July 4th and Symphony Above the Clouds, the Green Box Arts Festival,  Gold Rush Days and much more.


So ,the myth about the Teller not faring well on the cultural scale is getting shattered.  Before going off on another political tangent, check out one of our unique festivals, theater shows, live music gatherings.


Fight Over Valid Elections

By the time you are reading this, the results of the June 25 Primary Elections will be final, and it’s time to move on to the presidential showdown.


Unfortunately, we were kind of shielded from the madness this primary season, since we got booted out of the 5th Congressional District several years ago, and are now transported into an area that we have nothing in common with, under the realm of the 7th Congressional District.


Hopefully, everyone is still alive that ran in that 5thmad  contest, which sets the final stage for who will replace retiring Congressman Doug Lamborn.  That was one ugly race and can’t say I will miss the aggressive attack ads.


And while many states are still going nuts over accuracy of elections, I say, Colorado has proved that the mail-in process works. I admit, I hated mail-in system, when it actually was first implemented years ago in Woodland Park. Mainly, because it somewhat ended a familiar tradition: the post-election social parties. Now, unfortunately, tribal politics dominate these gatherings.


But officials there proved the skeptics wrong, and demonstrated that the mail-in system equates to  more participation.


When the mail-in system was eventually tried in Cripple Creek, local folks went nuts. Again, the skeptics were found eating their own words, as the numbers showed that this system worked. The main caveat is that some people like to hand a ballot to an actual person or have a place to cast a ballot, if they choose that option.


Weird, how now the mail-in ballot system is now under attack like never before. Bu that is the subject of future columns.  Enjoy the Summer of Fun.