NEW CASTLE — The town continues its year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary this weekend with Pioneer Days, scheduled for May 10-11.
The festivities begin on Friday night with “The Spirits of New Castle Walk,” starting at 8 p.m. — a guided stroll through the historic Highland Cemetery for an encounter with some of the town’s oldest residents.
Following that, on May 11, is the “Motorless Parade” starting at 11 a.m. in the historic town center, featuring some of the same spirits who will have walked on Friday night, and some of the town’s Centennial Families wearing special red sleeve garters to set them apart from the crowd.
Before the Saturday parade begins, however, kids of all ages are being invited to a Lions Club pancake breakfast, from 8:30-10:30 a.m., at the New Castle Community Center.
The Spirits Walk on May 10 is being organized by a committee made up of Patti Reich, Noreen Nolan, Lorraine McNeal and Robin Burkette. Tickets are $10 per person, and can be either purchased at the gate on the night of the event, or at outlets including Town Hall, Alpine Bank, Making New Waves, the Speckled Feather, Spirits Liquors and the New Castle Chamber of Commerce.
Participants are expected to drive to the cemetery, which is located behind the Lakota Golf Club clubhouse, to the north of Mount Maderis.
Once there, they will be met by volunteers prepared to guide them along the walkways through the cemetery.
According to Reich, the guides will be taking participants through the cemetery at roughly 15-minute intervals, with the last tour leaving at 10 p.m. from the cemetery entrance.
“So you don’t have to get there right at 8 o’clock,” Reich emphasized. “People should feel free to come later if they’d like to.”
She also noted that, for those who may need to wait a bit for their tour to depart, there will be a cowboy campfire singer, local Bill Pugh, on hand to entertain the visitors.
“Meet the spirits of the town’s founders, miners and other characters,” declares a poster printed in old-timey letters, presaging appearances by several “spirits” recruited to tell the stories of those lying beneath certain monuments.
“It’s historical and educational, and it’s not meant to scare anybody,” emphasized Reich.
In addition to a half-dozen local spirits, Reich said, they are expecting the ghosts of fabled gunfighter John “Doc” Holliday and his sidekick, Kid Curry, to take a break from their normal haunts in Glenwood Springs and favor the Highland Cemetery guests with their special brand of historical repartee.
The Spirits Walk, besides being part of the year-long birthday party, is a benefit for the Veterans Memorial that stands in the cemetery.
On Saturday, May 11, the parade kicks off at 11 a.m. and is expected to feature a variety of motorless conveyances, starting with some 100 horses courtesy of the Westernaires riding club of Jefferson County.
Besides the Westernaires, there are to be some big-wheeled bicycles, a hose-cart pulled by some of the fire laddies from the Colorado River Fire Rescue authority, a stage coach with some of the town’s Centennial Families (those which have called New Castle home for 100 years or more) aboard, and innumerable pedestrians including the aforementioned Doc Holliday and Kid Curry.
Oh, and the spirit of President Teddy Roosevelt, who visited this area at least twice in the early 1900s, is expected to put in an appearance.
Any Centennial Family members who wish to wear one of the red garters can pick them up at Town Hall as of Wednesday, May 8.
After the parade, there is to be a free demonstration by the Westernaires of their riding prowess, at the 4-J Riding Arene, 2101 County Road 245 (Buford Road). No dogs will be allowed at this event.