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Sep 22, 2013 12:06 AM by Tony Spehar -

Manitou Springs celebrates survival in 'Manitude' Block Party

After two summer tourism seasons marred by natural disasters residents in Manitou Springs celebrated the town's survival this weekend in a festival called the "Manitude" Block Party.

On Saturday evening folks lined Manitou Avenue to sing James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." Over the past two summers the town has seen too much of both, but Jane Turnis grabbed her guitar to join in the chorus that sang to show Manitou had survived.

"A lot of people think that Manitou is down and out, but it certainly is not," Turnis explained. "This is a town with a ton of spirit and we're doing well and we're coming back and we wanted to show that today."

The "Manitude" Block Party was conceived and organized by Bianca Trenker, owner of Mountain Living Studio, to boost moral, celebrate the end of summer and give those who've lived through a very tough year a chance to party.

"I would call it more than a success," Trenker said of the party. "We really had hit a new point of frustration and that was very hard to watch, it was really heart breaking watching people's spirits be affected by something, that's the hardest level to reach."

The effects of Manitou Springs narrowly escaping the flames of the Waldo Canyon Fire last summer, only to suffer from flash floods rolling off its burn scar this summer has been hard on the soul. But Manitou has banded together, dug out from under debris and stayed in business throughout the turbulent year which is a cause to celebrate.

"Today has been incredible to see people out, this is what the whole summer should've been," Lynn Kent, owner of Calamity Kites Cafe, said of the "Manitude" Block Party.

Kent's cafe suffered water damage and a big blow to business in this summer's flash flooding. She said the chance to do some business, party and invite tourists to see that Manitou's beauty lives on was welcome.

"There are businesses that are having to shut-down and it's horrible, I myself am trying to hang on and fight the good fight," she explained. "I don't want to lose it, I love my little kite shop and cafe, today was a fabulous day."

The "Manitude" Block Party continues all day on Sunday.



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