A bluegrass Grand Summer Night in Mancos

Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 10:05 PM
Quicksand Soup, of Moab, entertained the crowd with fine bluegrass tunes at Grand Summer nights Saturday in Mancos.
Alexis and Aviana get into summer fun with face painting.
Art galleries in Mancos stay open late for Grand Summer Nights, held every month during tourist season. The next one is Sept. 29
Organizers of Grand Summer Nights in Mancos make it a point to provide kid activities, including this free-form paint station, face painting and a calf-roping station.

Grand Summer Nights comes to Mancos two more times this year in Pioneer Park.

On Sept. 29, the event will feature a performance by The Fort Lewis College Big Band, with food from Zuma Natural Foods and Moose & More, and activities for kids.

On Oct. 6, the event will host the Mancos Artist Studio Tour.

The Grand Summer Nights is a monthly celebration of the art, music and culture that Mancos has to offer, and has been going on for several years, Mancos Creative District board president Carol Mehesy said. During the first couple of years, galleries in Mancos would showcase work, but the types of art displayed at the Grand Summer Nights has expanded.

“We just figured it would be fun to add different types of art,” Mehesy said. “The galleries do a really good job with visual art and represent a lot of different mediums. We thought it would be fun to add music art and culinary art and things like that, but then also to offer some things that would be fun for the kids so that it can really be an event that appeals to all ages.”

Usually, the Mancos Creative District blocks off Grand Avenue in downtown Mancos for the event, but Mehesy said the district is still reaching an agreement with the city about when they can block the street. As a result, the festivities will be moved to Pioneer Park.

A large crowd gathered on Aug. 25 to enjoy a lively bluegrass performance by Quicksand Soup. Kids created a free-form painting in the background, there were carriage rides, and the Green Table food truck served up culinary delights, including ice cream.

“The event is a giant block party that brings the community together,” said Jim Dodson, one of the organizers. “Visitors staying in hotels come out and are thrilled to see a local band playing on the street.”

Grand Summer Nights caters to the 160 artists that call the Mancos Valley home. The six galleries on Grand Avenue stay open late for the event, and many offer deals, refreshments and demonstrations.

Mancos newcomer Mari Mackenbach, of Chicago, was walking through each gallery with friends.

“Now we will return to buy our favorites,” she said. “Mancos is an exciting place, the people are very welcoming compared to the big city.”

Journal staff writer Jim Mimiaga contributed to this report.