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New Mancos Days Association gears up for summer festival

Group hopes to inspire more local involvement
A player gets a hit in the Mancos Days softball tournament in 2017.

The newly formed Mancos Days Association met Thursday to plan for this year’s Mancos Days festival.

In past years, the annual summer festival has been organized by the town, but in 2017 the board of trustees handed it over to the Association, a group of volunteers, in order to reduce spending and demands on town employees’ time. Several members said they were short on time and organization during their first year of planning the event, so they plan to get a running start this year. In a meeting attended by the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce administrator and several volunteers from last year’s celebration, the Association revealed a logo, theme and tentative budget for the 2018 Mancos Days, and discussed options for increasing local involvement.

This year’s Mancos Days theme will be “A Little Piece of Heaven.” The logo drawn up by the Association shows a mountain landscape with a puzzle piece cut out of it, revealing the “Welcome to Mancos Valley” sign outside town.

The association’s four leaders said they want to respect the traditions involved with Mancos Days, but also mentioned a few things they want to change. One problem, association president Lacey Murphy said, is that the festival often draws more vendors and guests from outside the Mancos area than from within it.

“Our number one priority is to get the community involved,” she said. “The number two goal is, we want to get the school and the youth involved.”

Members of the association brainstormed new ways to get local teenagers interested in Mancos Days, saying the traditional Teen Dance has been poorly attended in recent years.

“We’re kind of steering away from a dance, because kids don’t dance anymore,” Treasurer Elecia Bellmire said.

Instead, she suggested the association organize a gaming night for the festival’s teen activity.

This year’s theme was the result of a drawing contest the association held last year, but Bellmire said some town residents weren’t happy with the way the winner was chosen. Several attendees at the meeting said they thought the contest was a good idea, but recommended the organizers get a third party to judge entries for this year.

Another organizational change is that this year, all donations to Mancos Days will go directly to the association, instead of to the individual committees that organize each event. Bellmire said she believes locals will be more inclined to donate if only one group is soliciting money for the event, rather than several different committees.

Murphy said the group will be seeking more town residents to organize events. She emphasized that the association will continue to support things like the annual softball tournament and the Mancos Days Queen award, but said they’re open to new ideas as well.

The Association’s fundraising goal for this year is $33,750, which, based on the estimated $16,000 cost of the event, would leave $17,750 in profits, out of which the festival traditionally donates to local youth programs and charities.

Eli Cover, who organized the disc golf tournament at last year’s Mancos Days festival, said he was excited to work with the Association again this year.

“I think this is a fresh start for Mancos Days,” he said.

Mancos Days 2018 will be held in downtown Mancos on July 28 through 30.

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