Leadville News – September 14

Fall Colors Tour for Seniors, Disabled


Fall Colors along Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail should be perfect for this Saturday’s Phyllis Hakala Fall Colors Tour. Photo: Leadville Today reader Janet Vigil.

Getting out and enjoying the fall colors can be somewhat of a challenge for the more mature, or disabled leaf-peeper. That’s why the Annual Phyllis Hakala Fall Colors Tour is so meaningful. 

This special once-a-year, motorized tour is happening tomorrow September 15 and is open to those individuals who do not wish to – or cannot due to a disability – walk or bike the trail. The tour is sponsored by the Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) Committee and the Lake County Senior Citizen Center and is the only time the county allows motorized vehicles  on the trail, allowing senior citizens and others the opportunity to enjoy the fall scenery. The event is named in honor of long-time Leadville resident Phyllis Hakala, who always made sure that the seniors and those with disabilities were able to get out and experience the natural beauty of their surroundings.

If someone you know who would enjoy this tour, please call Loretta at the Senior Center for questions or reservations. 719-486-1774. The caravan will leave the senior center, located next to Huck Finn Park, at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Phyllis Hakala tour

Last year, the Phyllis Hakala Fall Colors Tour saw a hearty group of riders who got to take in the fall colors along Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail. This Saturday’s tour begins at 10 a.m. from the senior center.

St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade on Sept. 15

There are certain things that happen in Leadville to signal that autumn is on its way: the kids go back to school, the leaves start to change – quickly, and the St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade is held. Wait, what?! Isn’t St. Patrick’s Day in March?

Well, when it comes to celebrating its Irish heritage, America’s highest city likes to do it TWICE a year. Besides March weather can be cold and snowy for a proper parade, so why not do it again the third Saturday in March?!

And in 2018, this quirky Leadville happening will be celebrating 40 years! On Saturday, Sept. 15, the 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade will start at high Noon at the top of Capitol Hill (in front of the Mining Museum on W. 9th).St Pat's BIG poster 2018

From the top of capitol hill, marchers head south down historic Harrison Avenue, where they pause at the Lake County Courthouse for a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace,” finally, continuing down Leadville’s main street and into the Silver Dollar Saloon. 

“To mark the 40th year of the St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade, our community is proud to announce the featured band will be Leadville’s own Mt. Massive Youth Pipe Band, under the direction of Colin McFee,” stated Parade Organizer Luke Finken.

This one-of-a-kind Colorado happening is a spin-off of the true Irish holiday celebrated six months earlier on March 17. Today, it’s one of the Cloud City’s favorite traditions. The yearly gathering started back in 1978 when two Leadville men walked into a pub in Nebraska and looking around, they couldn’t believe their eyes: A St. Patrick’s Day celebration was underway.  How could that be? It was September!

However, being good Irish lads, known as Leadville Judge Neil Reynolds and businessman Walt Klein, the two joined in the fun and then brought the idea back to America’s highest city. Since then, September’s “Slainte!” toast continues to be raised among the changing aspens, making for the perfect combination of gold and green!

And the unique thing about St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade is that you never really know what’s going to happen. Some celebrations are unforgettable. Like the year, three bagpipe bands made the trip up. These musicians usually play the bigger parades for the real St. Patrick’s Day, but in September pure Irish luck prevails and the celebration is on!


One of Colorado’s quirkiest tradition, Leadville St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade has been entertaining September’s leaf-pepping crowds for 40 years on historic Harrison Avenue. See you on the avenue this Saturday, Sept. 15 at high noon!

That year, during the procession’s usual stop in front of the courthouse, all three bands played “Amazing Grace.” There wasn’t a dry eye on Harrison Avenue as the drums and bagpipes echoed across a perfect fall day, aspens ablaze amid Colorado’s two highest peaks.

Other years, it seemed that the parade might not happen at all due to a lack of funds or clashing Irish personalities. There was one year when the parade marched a reverse route, starting at the south end of the avenue at Diamond Shamrock; it didn’t catch on though. Not only were people confused about where to meet before the parade, but the procession had a hard time marching past the saloon with all that good Irish whiskey, in order to perform the “Amazing Grace” tradition at the courthouse!

But as the parade marks four decades on September 15, be assured that there will be plenty of green splashed among the golden aspens on Harrison. So, grad your shillelagh, pull on that green sweater and head up to Leadville for 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Practice Parade. Slainte! 

All marchers are welcome, meet in front of the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum on W. 9th Street just before noon. If you’re interested in donating to the cause, which includes paying for the bagpipers, etc, please contact Parade Organizer Luke Finken at wildesgreenhour@gmail.com.

Jim Duke St Pats Day

Slainte! Cheers to Leadville’s Jim Duke as he raises his glass in honor of Leadville’s Irish. Photo: Elisa Shackleton.

Book Sale in Leadville Today, Tomorrow

The Friends of the Library’s Annual Book Sale will be held in the 6th St. Gym in Leadville Today, and tomorrow. The Used Book Sale Friends “Members Only” setup and pre-sale is today, Sept. 14, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The sale opens to the public from noon – 6 p.m. on the 14th, and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15. Books, CDs, and DVDs will sell for 50 cents per pound.

Wheelers Hold First Fall Fest on Saturday

Tomorrow, Sept 15, The Cloud City Wheelers (CCW) will host their first Bike Fall Fest. The new event will takes place at Dutch Henry Hill, located at Highway 24 South and McWethy Drive south of Leadville. The event goes from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and will include Bike Demos, group rides and a scavenger hunt and a gear swap with part of the proceeds being donated to the CCW.

The Cloud City Wheelers is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create, enhance, preserve and promote cycling opportunities in Leadville and Lake County. You may connect with them on their website or the Wheelers Facebook Page.

Train Offers Fall Colors Special Rides

The next two weekends the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad offers its  Fall Photo Special Rides on September 15 & 16, and September 22 & 23. 

This tour goes all the way up, an additional mile and a half, allowing you to see the sweeping vistas of the Arkansas River Valley. These Fall Colors Special Rides are 3 hours long. Reservations are required, please book in advance at www.leadvillerailroad.com. Get that special shot framed by Colorado’s autumn beauty, make sure to bring your camera and your jacket!

Train Fall

It’s #AllAboard for Autumn on the Leadville Train’s Fall Photo Special Rides.

Community Market Continues Downtown

September 16 marks week five (of 6) for the Leadville Community Market located in the parking lot of First Mountain Bank in downtown Leadville. This week, the market will feature fresh produce, baked goods from Cookies with Altitude, lunch from Treeline Kitchen, music and handmade crafts. The market runs from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Come to the Leadville Community Market and check out some of Char’s fresh baked buns from Cookies with Altitude. Photo: Leadville Today


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