Mancos didn’t have a Fourth of July fireworks display this year, but residents found a way to celebrate at the historic Bauer House.
Bobbi Black, owner of the house, opened up her annual Fourth of July celebration to the public for the first time in three years. Mancos residents and guests from as far away as Durango gathered on the lawn, amid flags and patriotic streamers, for an old-fashioned beef brisket dinner, local beer and music by the Mancos band Sweetwater Station. Black said the attendance exceeded her expectations.
Normally, the fireworks are the main draw for the Bauer House event, since the lawn offers a good view of the show. This year, they were canceled because of the fire danger in Montezuma County, but Black said the crowd felt as big as it was at past public events.
“I don’t think (the fireworks cancellation) really affected it that much,” she said. “People keep showing up that I don’t know ... and I know almost everyone in town.”
With more than 75 guests at 5:30 p.m., and more arriving every minute, she said it was shaping up to be her biggest event of the summer.
The 128-year-old Bauer House, near the center of town, is one of several buildings in Mancos built by George Bauer, the town’s founder. Ever since she bought it in 1994, Black has hosted regular events, including private events like weddings and engagement parties and public events like the Fourth of July dinner and the Mancos Easter egg hunt.
Although it’s hard work hosting large events at her home, she said it’s fitting for the home of Mancos’ founder to be at the center of town life.
Although the food and drinks were supplied by the P&D Grocery and Mancos Brewing Co., the Historical Society provided the patriotic decorations, desserts and furniture for the event. Proceeds from ticket sales went to support the group’s ongoing efforts to secure a permanent history museum in the Mancos area.
Donna Petersen, a member of the Historical Society, said Black’s community events are part of the town’s history.
“She always donates her house to everything worthwhile,” she said.
Rena Wilson, of the Mancos Creative District, said the Bauer House Fourth of July celebration has been an annual tradition for as long as she’s lived in Mancos, but she went out of her way to attend this year because she wanted to support the Historical Society.
“I think you’ll find a lot of Historical Society supporters here,” she said. “We’d love to get the museum reopened someday.”
The Historical Society has a $50,000 fundraising goal for the purchase of a permanent facility. Its next fundraiser will be a large yard sale on Main Avenue on Saturday.