There will be a burro parade and obstacle course; 15 artists will present artwork based on the animal
The third annual Mancos Burro Fest will take place June 18 in Mancos from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fifteen burros will be featured in a parade, obstacle course and as part of a unique art project, organizer and local artist Veryl Goodnight said in an interview with The Journal.
The free event begins at 10 a.m. with the Grand Parade of Burros in Boyle Park. Burros and their owners will be decked out in colorful costumes or vintage racing gear.
Next, the burros will participate in a timed “race” through a burro obstacle course at the park.
But it’s not a burro race like you might see in Leadville. Speed is not necessary.
Goodnight said it’s a challenge of trust and partnership between the donkey and its handler to navigate through many of the natural obstacles a donkey might encounter on its way to the mines.
There will be plenty of seating for spectators and a section reserved for people with special needs. A food vendor and restrooms will be available.
Each burro was paired with an artist six weeks before the festival, Goodnight said.
“Giving the artists time to create their pieces and connect with the animal adds a lot of depth to the artwork,” Goodnight said.
After the obstacle course, the burros will descend Grand Ave to the specific stand of their artists.
From 1 to 4 p.m., donkey-inspired artwork will be on display, ranging from paintings, sculptures, metal work, glassware and photography. Burros will also pose for a painting or sculpture and provide plenty of photo opportunities.
Art will be available for sale and local art shops will offer burro art.
The festival also intends to shed light on the history of the burros, which were relied upon during the early mining of Mancos. For example, the obstacle course shows the usefulness and skill of the donkey, Goodnight said.
Two new events have been added this year, she said. At 2 p.m., Dave Daney will demonstrate packaging next to the Mancos Common Press on Grand Avenue. Then at 2:30 p.m. at the same location, Monique Williams will offer a discussion on adopting a wild donkey.
“Burro’s adoptions have increased since we started this event, so that’s been a good result,” Goodnight said.
The featured artist at Burro Fest this year is Durango artist Elizabeth Kinahan.
She is known for her very realistic animal paintings that capture their essence. His work is presented in a studio at 1027 Main Ave. in Durango. Kinahan will have a booth with other artists on Grand Avenue for Burro Fest.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to see artists at work, painting and sculpting from a live donkey model,” a press release read.
Goodnight is well known for her paintings and sculptures of equines and other animals.
When she acquired her own burro, she began to explore the history of the use of burros in early mining in southwestern Colorado and was inspired to create the festival.
Local burro packer Olga Little, who was the only female packer in the San Juan Mountains, came to southwestern Colorado in 1885 and spent 34 years packing food and supplies for miners in mountains.
“The festival has evolved into a flagship Mancos event,” Goodnight said. “It’s a hoot. Burros are very useful; in addition they are very cute and charming.
Participating local artists are Ann Stringfellow, Steve Williams, Betsey Krill, Miki Harder, Marilyn Kroeker, Ginny Getts, Cheryl Harley-Volz, Janis Connell, Nancy Byers, Samantha Combs, Elizabeth Kinahan, Silvina Guerreiro, Karen Kristin, Alana Coley and Steve Wolff.
Dogs are not allowed at the event as they make the burros nervous.
For more information, visit the event website at mancoscreativedistrict.com.