With Halloween right around the corner, there’s no better time to visit historic Manitou Springs and the Emma Crawford Coffin Races. This annual event has been going on since 1994 and has exploded in attendance. According to the Gazette, “at least 10,000 people were in Manitou Springs [last year] to see nearly 70 teams compete in this quirky competition rooted in a bizarre event in the city’s history.”
The whole thing started after a young woman, Emma Crawford, came to Manitou Springs in search of a cure for her tuberculosis in the natural mineral spring waters. Unfortunately, she died in 1890. Her wish to be buried on top of Red Mountain was honored- until 1912. That’s when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company started building an incline to the mountaintop, and her coffin had to be moved. Crawford was reburied on the south side of the mountain. This wasn’t the best spot for her coffin, because torrential rain forced her coffin to slide down the side of the mountain where her remains were found by two young boys.
To celebrate and honor Emma Crawford, the city of Manitou Springs has since hosted the Emma Crawford Coffin Races ever since. It’s a day of creative and crazy coffin designs, racing down the streets of Manitou Springs for the best time. There’s a parade as well, and this year, the event is being held on Saturday, October 27th at Noon. The cost is free, and is sure to be a deathly good time.