Territory Days is a three-day festival that celebrates the history and culture of the Old West. The event typically takes place over Memorial Day weekend in the historic Old Colorado City and features live music, food vendors, arts and crafts booths, a beer garden, and a carnival.
Visitors can also enjoy historical reenactments, including gunfights, cowboy demonstrations, and a Native American village showcasing traditional dances and crafts. In addition, you can shop or eat at over 150 food and craft booths. You will indeed find something of interest!
History of the Event
The history behind this event started in 1886 when the Colorado Midland Railroad made this area their home office and yard in Colorado Springs. Later, other major companies, such as Anheuser Busch and Glass Works, laid down their foundation and began production. When gold was discovered in 1891, prosperity brought many new residents and fame, leading to the tourist area it is today.
Territory Day Parade
The parade takes place on Saturday morning. This colorful procession features floats, marching bands, and community groups, bringing the community together to celebrate. Kids love the fun clowns walking by, greeting them, and float participants throwing out candy.
Fun Booths to Explore
As we entered, K9-Kool Hats had these adorable dogs chilling out with their canine hats. The dogs seemed to enjoy the cool mist spraying on them as they demonstrated their “kool hats.” They are the only hat store for dogs!
Novelty socks are always fun to wear and make for a great gift. Foozy’s offered many options, such as food, sports, characters, cartoons, and holiday socks that could speak to you! In addition, these socks make great souvenirs!
Juanita’s Pepitas is a company that sells all-natural shelled and roasted pumpkin seeds in many different flavors & seasonings. They also offer a pumpkin seed breakfast bar that is gluten-free. We couldn’t help but sample a few of their products, but then we walked away, purchasing a bag of the original flavor.
One of the booths that caught my attention and sense of “clean” smell was the Rocky Mountain Bear Ball Soap made by Mountain Meadows Soaps. With bears being a significant game for hunters in this region, many times, the bear fat is thrown away by the meat processing plants. So these ladies decided to churn this fat into soap. Makes a great men’s gift, and one is sure to render a few laughs from its name, “Bear Balls”!
We went into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, a brick-and-mortar store on Colorado Street, to check out their sweets and indulge in a few samples. Fresh chocolate-covered strawberries were on display as you entered the store, a perfect retail strategy to tempt shoppers. Alongside the strawberries were chocolate-covered jalapenos, something I had never seen before but a very clever idea. After sampling a few flavors, we purchased some hazelnut clusters for our after-lunch treat.
An artist created decorative designs on a person’s body using a paste-like paint from henna called Mehndi.
Another artist was drawing cartoon images of patrons as they sat laughing while trying to be still so that the artist could capture their expressions.
Knights, pirates, and other interesting characters were dressed in costume to promote the Colorado Renaissance Festival, which is held in June, July, and August.
Panning for Gold
The opportunity to experience panning for gold was something I had never done or considered. At Territory Days, several stations with sand and water were set up, and festival-goers could take a pan and swirl the water around until they could see small flakes of gold rise to the top. Unfortunately, we didn’t collect any gold today, but we did have fun trying to be “gold diggers”!
PSST: HERE ARE SOME OTHER BLOG POST YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK OUT IF VISITING COLORADO SPRINGS:
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife held a bird presentation to provide information about Barn Owls and Hawks. These birds didn’t seem to mind the crowd as the Ranger talked about each of these birds. Young kids enjoyed seeing such beautiful birds up close.
As we continued down the street, we came across several artisans carving a design on wood, spinning clay on a wheel, or heating glass into a decorative bowl. These craftsmen spoke about their craft while creating marvelous piece of art.
I have seen finger puppets made of paper but never of yarn. These cute finger puppets came in various designs, such as animals, characters, and people were very adorable.
Several booths had items for kids, such as crocheted winter hats in funny characters, colorful flowered tulle headbands, or bright foamed dinosaurs that you could walk with during the festival.
Several artists offered festival goers a demonstration of their respective craft. For example, a sketch artist drew the image of a small child as onlookers watched.
Several vendors were scattered about selling roasted corn, baked potatoes, turkey on a stick, hamburgers, and many other delicious food items. In addition, several beer gardens were available to enjoy a tall mug of locally-brewed beers while enjoying the music, from country to folk songs.
We had a wonderful time at Territory Days checking out vendors, sampling all that was offered, purchasing a few souvenirs, and appreciating the unique heritage of the Old West. Enjoyed the live music and, most importantly, the sunny day outdoors. Territory Days is a fun event for the whole family, so if you are visiting over Memorial Day weekend, check it out!
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.