Coffins & Fruitcake: Quirky Festivals in Manitou Springs
A quirky mountain town with a large Wicca population located just a few miles west of big sister Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs is home to some of the weirdest festivals in the U.S. Every October, around Halloween, they host the Emma Crawford Coffin Races, which celebrates its 20th season in 2016. During this celebration costumed revelers race coffins down Main St, paying homage to Emma Crawford, who died of tuberculosis in the town in 1891. She was buried on top of Red Mountain, which fronts the city, but in 1929, following intensive rain, her remains washed down the side of the mountain. Only her casket handles, a nameplate, and a few bones were found. Today locals honor her by racing the coffins.
And then there is the famed Manitou Springs Great Fruitcake Toss, which takes places in late January, and has grown into quite the celebration. During this event, homemade slingshots are used to catapult leftover holiday fruitcakes. When the event originated, it was mostly about tossing the unwanted sweet treats as far away as possible, but today the festival has evolved into more structured competition. There are events for all ages, including the original distance toss, one for speed, balance, accuracy, and even team play. A limited number of fruitcakes are available to rent, but organizers encourage participants to bring their own product. A fruitcake costume competition and even a bake off are also featured in this family-friendly afternoon festival.