Food, facts, and fun at Florissant Heritage Day

by N. W. Oliver Special to the Courier
Posted

A yearly celebration of Colorado¹s rich Western history, Florissant Heritage Day will be held on Saturday, July 27 throughout the town of Florissant.

Festivities include singing, museum tours, historic reenactments, dancing, vendors, food and games. According to organizers Renee Caldwell and Celinda Kaelin, the purpose of the yearly event is to educate and celebrate the historic roots of Florissant.

The event attracts community members, tourists and history buffs who want to take a 143-year journey back to the Colorado territory of the 1870’s. There, the meeting of Ute Indians and pioneers from the east, the controversy of the Civil War, and the boom and bust of trade in the area can be witnessed in action, forming this historic town.

Florissant is located on U.S. 24 just four miles east of the Park/Teller County line and approximately 15 miles west of Woodland Park.

The event is sponsored by the Pikes Peak Historical Society and the Florissant Grange No. 420, and in partnership with Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Florissant Fire Protection District and other community entities to build a stronger sense of community. “We need these activities to continue building our community ties,” Kaelin said.

Florissant Heritage Day has been celebrated “at least since 1989,” according to Kaelin. Prior to that, the festival was known as Flo-Geo Day, when the communities of Lake George and Florissant got together to celebrate their connection and history.

At 7 a.m., the Florissant Fire Department will sponsor a traditional Volunteer Firemen¹s Pancake Breakfast at the fire house until 11 a.m.

From there, visitors can go to the Pikes Peak Historical Society Museum, Costello Street Coffee House (home of Judge Costello, founder of the trading post that later became Florissant), Florissant Cemetery, Hornbek Homestead or the Old School House (Florissant Grange); all located within in close proximity to the town and each offering different aspects to the

celebration.

Festivities at the Florissant Grange No. 420 begin at 9 a.m. where burgers, brats and hot dogs will be served for lunch and live entertainment and a Victorian-style ice cream social will be held all day. Feature acts include award- winning cowboy poet Susie Knight and magician Dwayne Faux, along with ongoing live music featuring the Elbert Sisters, Mel March, and Rich Currier.

Vendors and crafters will be on hand with handmade crafts and many other offerings. There will be historic readings and reenactments throughout the day including performances of gun shootouts and a historic plays.

There will also be guided activities for children, including games and horseshoe throwing, and barrel train rides for smaller children.

Bringing life back to the Hornbek Homestead, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument will hold an open house at the historic ranch where National Park Service staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing will demonstrate period crafts, lead pioneer games, churn butter, and bake bread using a wood-burning stove. Tours of the historic homestead will be conducted from10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission will cost $3 for adults 16 and older while children will be admitted for free. The Hombek Homestead is located down Teller 1, approximately 1.5 miles south of Hwy 24 out of Florissant.

The Florissant Pioneer Cemetery will be open from 1-4 p.m. At 2 p.m. Knut and Donna Knudten will introduce some of the cemetery¹s most esteemed “residents” and conduct a scavenger hunt for both adults and children.

For more information about Florissant Heritage Day, call Renee Caldwell at 719-748-0358 or Celinda Kaelin at 719-748-3562. For more information about the Hornbek Homestead tours, call 719-748- 3253.