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Famed Manitou Coffin Races canceled for 2020

Posted at 1:21 PM, Aug 20, 2020

MANITOU SPRINGS — The infamous Emma Crawford Coffin Races have been called off for 2020 due the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, the Manitou Chamber of Commerce is working to keep the spirit of this longstanding tradition alive with a gauntlet of other activities that everyone can enjoy.

Each year, the races draw thousands to Manitou to indulge in a festival celebrating all things spooky and bizarre.

On-lookers and participants alike don ghoulish costumes, build and race custom coffins (on wheels) down Manitou's main street, and remember the tragic but legendary tale of Emma Crawford, the first coffin racer.

For those unfamiliar with that tall tale, CLICK HERE to learn a little bit about this piece of grim and ghastly folk lore.

THIS YEAR, the festivities have to be, by necessity, different entirely.

"This is a tradition for Manitou and something we take very seriously," stated Mackenzie Helms, marketing coordinator for the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce.

"As much as it's a sort of fun and zany weekend event as a whole, it's something that we're really focused on throughout the year and [it] plays such a big part in our town and everything going on in Manitou. We want everyone to see that side of it, we are going to be back, and while we can't [race] this year, we are going to make things as fun as possible," Helms continued.

So this year, Manitou's Chamber of Commerce is organizing the Emma Crawford Cup which consists of the following events:

  • The creation of this year's t-shirt graphics (Aug. 20- Aug. 28)
  • An all out, no holds barred costume competition (Oct. 1 - Oct. 23)
  • A scavenger hunt that requires any and all contestants to put on their best detective hats and search for hidden clues (Oct. 17 - Oct. 25)

You can register and find ALL that you need to know about these events on the Chamber's WEBSITE. Events start on Aug. 20 and run through Oct. 25.

As for next year, organizers are optimistic and have already started the planning process.

"We are already in that planning stage and trying to figure out what we can do and how to make it come back bigger and better than ever," finished Helms.