Mancos: We are lucky

We live in a small, rural community that knows how to have fun and how to appreciate the arts. We are proud of our ranching heritage and tout ourselves as a town where the "old west meets, the new." According to Darrel Ellis, our local historian, our population has been at between 900 and 1,100 for about a century. If you're looking for a city life style, it isn't in Mancos and we're glad of it.

When I moved to Mancos from Durango eight years ago I was asked, "Don't you miss Durango with all its cultural activities?" Whoa, hold on there. We have culture; we have the arts; we have fine food and wines; we even have a bank, a grocery store (two of them as a matter of fact) and a gas station, not to mention great schools, too and Southwest Community College down the road a bit. What more does a town need?

Our art and culture takes on a different look perhaps. Maybe folks don't recognize it for what it is. How about the Mancos Follies, they were filled with local music and musicians as well as with a big dose of humor. Mancos creates its art and culture and lets everyone share in it, no snobbery about it. If you want to contribute, you are more than welcome to share in the fun.

The Chuck Pyle concert at the Millwood Restaurant was a success. The concert demonstrated the community's pride in cowboy culture and music. The concert raised money for the Mancos Heritage Project a collaborative effort organized by the Mancos Valley Arts Council, the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Mancos and Mancos Valley Resources. The Heritage Project is in the process of raising money to create a mural on the west wall of Mancos Liquor and develop some landscaping at the corner of Highway 184 and Highway 160. The hope is that other future projects will evolve that can make Mancos a more welcoming town to residents and visitors alike. Once again, Mancos is using art and culture as a means to achieve an end, beautifying our little town. If you want to learn how you can contribute to the Heritage Project, you can stop by the Chamber of Commerce at the Visitor Center, 101 E. Bauer, make a phone call to 533-7434 or send an e-mail to chamber@mancosvalley.com.

The Mancos Melt this past weekend is another example of the community creating its own brand of art and culture with humor and fun as basic ingredients. A multi-media art exhibit opened at the Visitor Center and is still available to view. Olio's had a wine and appetizer tasting for the event kick-off. Folks were surrounded by beautiful wine, beautiful food, beautiful people and art. And then, the fashion show happened at the Millwood. Fashion, music and fun combined to create a whole new art form.

The Hoedown during the Mancos Melt was a great addition to the fun. There was square dancing and some line dancing too with families dressed in their dance outfits, and once again, giving expression to pride in our history and culture. We were treated to music: gypsy music from a local Mancos band, Caruta Roma, little rock from Hello Doll Face and the blues from Robby Overfield. This is art and culture, Mancos style.

Remember to have fun out there and be creative while you're at it.