Sisterhood between Mancos and the town of Feins, France is growing.
Feins, a small agricultural town in northwest France, officially became Mancos’ sister city in June 2015. Since then, the two towns have put on events to celebrate each other’s culture.
The idea came from the Boyer family. Paul Boyer is a photographer based in Mancos, and his daughter Pia Boyer is a town council member in Feins. Her mother, Joyce Boyer, helped too, Pia said.
“We were looking for a town with both similarities and differences, to promote enduring ties in a sister city relationship that we hope will enrich the lives of the people in our communities in ways that we are just beginning to discover,” Pia Boyer said in an email.
The town councils in Mancos and Feins both passed resolutions designating the towns as sister cities. Mancos Administrator Andrea Phillips assisted with the process.
Mancos is a sister city to two other communities — Thornton, Colorado, and Mancos, Peru, Phillips said.
The primary industry of Feins, population 942, is agriculture, including dairy and meat cows, goats, poultry and pigs, Pia Boyer said. Feins residents also enjoy hunting for wild boar, hiking and mushroom foraging in the forests and sailing, windsurfing and fishing on a lake nearby, she said.
Though thousands of miles separate the two towns, they have common ground, Pia said. Mancos has historical connections through Mesa Verde National Park, and Feins is near Mont Saint-Michel, an island commune off the coast of France that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Feins also is close to the Normandy beaches, where key battles took place on D-Day during World War II.
Like Mancos, Feins also has ties to art and music culture, Pia said. A choral group from the town will travel to Bosnia in the spring for a performance, and the director of the orchestra in nearby Rennes, Mark Feldman, is American, she said.
“Both towns have vibrant, active communities proud of their rural, agricultural, natural environment and yet open and inquisitive about the arts and music,” Pia said.
Feins recently put on its second annual Thanksgiving meal, with a locally raised bird and American recipes that Phillips shared, Pia said. Every two months. they organize a cookie sale in Feins to introduce people to American recipes, and they are planning an American barbecue at the lake for the summer, she said.
Kids at the Feins elementary school, which has 157 students, have learned American songs such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the Hokey-Pokey. At the end-of-year party at the school last summer, they roasted a pig on a spit while they watched soccer matches, she said.
In Mancos, Paul Boyer plans to keep people up to date on what’s happening in Feins, he said. He plans displays at his photography studio at 106 Grand Ave. that will showcase the town for Mancos residents.
He hopes the sisterhood will grow, and he hopes to get more people from Mancos interested in visiting Feins, and more people from France interested in coming to Southwest Colorado.
“We want to have as much fun as we can,” he said.
Phillips said the two towns have exchanged food, with Feins sending chocolate from France and Mancos sending Anasazi beans and coffee from Fahrenheit roasters.
The sister cities program is about the cultural exchange of ideas, and it especially helps young people appreciate other cultures and places, she said.
“It shows you that there are people all around the world who are very similar,” Phillips said.