What This Small Colorado Town Does Every Year Is Based On A Dark Legend

It’s no secret that Colorado has its fair share of festivals.

In May, Denver holds a colorful Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Come August, people flock to Fort Collins to enjoy music and brews at the NewWestFest.

Heck, you can even enjoy a glass of wine (or ten!) every September at the Palisade Colorado Mountain Winefest!

It is easy to see that the Centennial State prides itself on tradition; however, we also have our fair share of quirky and unconventional, as demonstrated by Manitou Springs’s annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race.

Yes, you read that right… and it’s exactly what you think it is.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

Now the big question: Just who is Emma Crawford and why is her memory honored by racing homemade coffins?

According the Emma Crawford Festival’s website, “Emma came to Manitou Springs for the miracle mineral springs in 1889. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which back then was a death sentence. Unfortunately, she lost her battle on December 4, 1891. Her dying wish was to be buried on top of Red Mountain. Her fiance, William Hildebrand (a civil engineer on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway), and eleven other men carried her body up the 7,200 ft. slope. In 1929, after years of stormy weather, her remains washed down the side of the mountain.  Only her casket handles, a nameplate and a few bones were found. Some say she haunts Red Mountain.”

Intrigued? Want to know how all of this works and just who can participate? Watch this:

What do you think of this unconventional tradition? Cool? Crazy? Hilarious? Creepy? Let us know in the comments!

For more information about the Emma Crawford Coffin Race in Manitou Springs, visit the Emma Crawford Festival’s website.