The town of Mancos ushered in spring this past weekend with bed racing, putt-putt golf and a giant bonfire.
The annual Mancos Melt aims to brush away winter blues through a series of wacky and artistic activities, culminating in the burning of a giant wooden phoenix sculpture.
Despite blizzard-like conditions earlier in the week, the sun shone brightly throughout the day Saturday, when most of the festivities took place.
“The Mancos Creative District and its partners were proud to present an event where the sunny days and fun brought our community together to celebrate the coming of spring,” said Anne Beach, executive director of the Creative District. She estimated that about 400 people attended the Melt at some point.
This year marked the event’s 10th anniversary, although it’s only the second year of being organized by the Mancos Creative District.
The Melt kicked off Thursday night with a wine tasting and costume party at Olio, with work on display by local artist TJ Zark. The artistic theme continued on Friday with a “retrospective” photography exhibition at Outlier Cellars, followed by live music from the band Flashback at Millwood Junction.
Saturday had events ongoing all day, starting off at 8 a.m. with a fun run/walk, which was followed by a kite festival and kids costume and bicycle parade down Grand Avenue. Bed racing, a Mancos Melt favorite, came next, with five-person teams embarking on a sort of obstacle course that involved making a bed, eating a donut and wheeling their beds down Grand Avenue.
There were two heats of races, with Deer Hill Expeditions named the overall winner.
After the races came chili tasting, a scavenger hunt and art activities for children, and a putt-putt golf tournament, all held at various spots downtown. And the celebration wrapped up in the evening at the Mancos Brewing Co., with musical entertainment provided by Billy and the Kid, right before the ultimate burning of the giant phoenix.
The phoenix had faced some difficulties in the last few weeks due to heavy snowstorms, requiring the structure to be rebuilt, said Rena Wilson, who has been involved in organizing the event over the past decade.
However, despite organizers’ trepidations about the structure’s flammability after the recent moisture, the giant bird rose again and burned brightly alongside the brewery, surrounded by crowds gathered to watch the bonfire. Some attendees had tied “intentions” written on slips of paper to the kindling, part of the whole symbolic act of burning away winter.
“Great participation from local and regional folks, well organized and a fantastic way to break up the winter time blues and bring on spring!” said Sarah Syverson, a volunteer with this year’s Mancos Melt.
For more information, visit the Creative District’s website.