Members of the Mancos Creative District have built their own Burning Man sculpture in preparation for the annual Mancos Melt festival on March 15.
For its first time organizing the event, the District has chosen to theme the weekend around a family-friendly version of the Burning Man art festival in Nevada. The two-day event will feature costume contests, live music, putt-putt golf and the traditional bed races, among other things. On Tuesday several local artists completed a miniature Burning Man sculpture that will be lit up at the end of the festival.
Burning Man is an annual event in which artists and creative people from all over the world build a temporary city in the desert. The festival is famous for its outlandish costumes, sculptures and characters, as well as the giant wooden sculpture that is burned at the end of the festivities. The Creative District’s event coordinator, Rena Wilson, said she wanted a theme that would inspire creative costumes and artwork from Mancos residents.
“Anything and everything goes for this,” she said.
To give people ideas for the traditionally costume-heavy event, the Creative District has set up a Burning Man-themed display next to the Artisans of Mancos building. The District also held three workshops, led by Cortez willow weaver Kyle Bauman, in which locals helped create a wooden sculpture to symbolize the festival’s theme. The “man,” mostly made from tree branches and undergrowth from Wilson’s property, is already on display outside Mancos Brewing Co.
Most of this year’s Mancos Melt activities will be held on Saturday, March 17, but the Creative District is also hosting a kick-off party at Olio on Thursday, March 15. Priced at $25 per person, it will include a wine tasting and costume contest for adults.
The March 17 events will include most of the traditional Mancos Melt activities. Teams of five can pay $50 to sign up for the annual bed races, a set of relay races in which the contestants ride giant wheeled beds through various obstacles on Grand Avenue.
Several Mancos businesses, including a few newcomers like Outlier Cellars Cidery, will set up holes for the indoor putt-putt tournament, which teams of two can play for $40. There will also be several free activities for kids, including a costume parade, a scavenger hunt at Mancos Public Library and a workshop at Painted Turtle Studios.
Wilson said proceeds from all Mancos Melt ticket prices will go to help the Creative District transform a warehouse it has leased from Alpacka Rafts into a “maker space” for School of the West workshops and other local art projects. The warehouse has a collapsing roof which the District hopes to fix this year, with the help of a few grants and fundraisers.
The festivities will wrap up Saturday evening with an award ceremony for all competition winners and live music from The Afrobeatniks at the brewery. After dark, Wilson said participants will be invited to help light up the “man” sculpture.
“Everybody’s going to write down on a piece of paper all their old, bad thoughts, anything in their life they want to get rid of, and we’ll burn it,” she said. “It’ll open up our hearts to more peace and love and a better world. That’s what our thought is on that.”
Registration for all Mancos Melt events is available at Fahrenheit Coffee Roasters on Grand Avenue.