Little town, big crowds 

Street Smarts

Manitou Springs residents are increasingly divided over the number of festivals and large public events held in their midst.

click to enlarge Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor of Manitou is in the software business.

How do you feel about the growing number of big events in Manitou? I like going to festivals. It's one of the reasons I moved to Manitou.

Which event is your favorite? The Mardi Gras parade. I love its festive atmosphere. You know that spring is around the corner.

Do big events create a parking quagmire? Not for me. I have off-street parking.

Do they foster unruly behavior? People can get crazy and out of hand when alcohol is involved.

How many big events are too many for Manitou? We're pretty much at capacity. Enough is enough.

click to enlarge Laurie Wood

Laurie Wood of Manitou is health/wellness director for Manitou schools.

How supportive are you of big festivals in Manitou? I like some of the smaller, homier ones. The ones that attract 10,000 people overwhelm the town. We should be cultivating smaller, local-oriented events like Manifest that aren't alcohol- and drug-fueled.

Which local event is best? The Lantern Parade put on by Concrete Couch every April. It's not big and it's local. It's fabulous.

Which is the worst? For me, the Emma Crawford Coffin Races. It started out with only six coffins. It was cute and fun. Now it's a huge, corporate-like event. The same with Mardi Gras. It started with a hundred local townspeople. Now the sidewalks and streets are so packed that you can't even see what's going on.

Have you witnessed rowdy behavior at these events? Mindless, drunken idiocy. Fistfights.

click to enlarge Alice Bulin

Alice Bulin of Manitou Springs is a waitress.

Are you a fan of big festivals and public events in Manitou? I'm grateful for them. They bring people here. It helps our economy.

Which, in your view, is the best event? The Coffin Races and Mardi Gras. They bring the most people into town. The [Commonwheel] art festival is good, too.

Which event is the worst? I can't think of a single bad one.

What's the worst behavior you've seen at one of these? Drunken idiots.

Is one of the events a special culprit that way? There's a bunch that run neck-and-neck.

How many events are too many? They're spread out enough that it's about right. They took away our [Craft Lager Festival], though, and I think they should give that back.

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