COLONA – Celebrate our corner of the American West at the first annual Western Heritage Festival at the historic Colona School, Saturday, July 18, noon to 9 p.m. Festivities include old time and bluegrass music, living history demonstrations, a silent auction, arts and crafts, food, tours of the historic school building, and a chance to browse the Ranch History Museum housed in two of the school's classic, high-ceilinged classrooms.
The event closes the current effort to raise money for the Save Colona School project. Admission is free, but donations are requested. A registered historic landmark, the Colona School was placed on a list of Colorado's top ten Most Endangered Places in 2006. Donations are currently being sought to help raise matching funds for a grant to restore the historic school building. Phase I improvements include a new roof, new windows, and a fire alarm system.
Entertainment planned for the outdoor stage in the school's east parking lot include well known local groups such as the Caudills, the Ditch Gang, and the Stiltner Family & Friends, along with individual performers like Cowboy Bob Devinny, master showman Paul Nystrom, and storyteller Jane Bennett. Blacksmithing demonstrations will take place under the spreading cottonwood trees in the school's west lot. Inside the school, a silent auction will offer many desirable items, including a vintage player piano.
The Colona School is a two story, grey building located about a quarter mile west of U.S. Highway 550 on Ouray County Road 1. For more information about the Save Colona School project or the Western Heritage Festival, call Jane at 626-5075.