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The 22nd Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race and Parade

The 22nd Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race and Parade

The town of Manitou Springs, Colorado decided “to put ‘fun’ into funeral” in 1994 while looking for ideas to boost tourism.  The Emma Crawford Memorial Coffin Races was based on a local story of an Emma Crawford who wished to be buried at the top of Red Mountain.  She was later reburied on a slope due to construction by Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company.  Over time, the coffin became exposed and slid down into the canyon due to erosion where it was found and reburied at the Crystal Valley Cemetery.  The Races are a full day event during the weekend close to Halloween, which, in part, includes the Emma Crawford Parade.  The race itself involves a team of five: Emma and four “mourners”, all costumed, who have to push their coffin 195 yards to the finish.  In addition, the participants contest for ‘Best Emma’, ‘Best Entourage’, and ‘Best Coffin’ awards during the Parade.

This festival lines the streets of Manitou Springs with thousands of spectators cheering on 50 coffin teams racing down Manitou Ave.  Attendees come from all over the country to experience this internationally acclaimed event.  The races are preceded by the parade of coffins and antique hearses.  This event is a great kick-off to Halloween and fun for the whole family.  Parade starts at 12:00pm October 28th, followed by teams racing coffins down Manitou Avenue for the ultimate victory!  A beer garden and music entertainment in Soda Springs Park following the races.  Dress up in your best costume to fit right in and get there early to grab a good spot!

Each year the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau & Office of Economic Development looks for that skilled designer or artist to design the Emma Crawford Coffin T-shirt logo for the year. Designs are posted for 2 weeks starting September 19, 2017 – October 3, 2017 in the chamber office and voted on by visitors to the area and locals.  The winner will be determined on Friday October 7, 2017 at 4pm and notified by phone.  The winner will receive their very own Coffin Race T-shirt, $50 in Manitou Money and recognition the day of the races.

At just and hour and a half from Denver and 15 minutes from Colorado Springs, The 22nd Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race and Parade is the perfect reason to go have some fun in the foothills for a day!