Bed alert! Madam Lou Bunch Day in Central City this weekend

Each year Central City, Colorado takes a trip down nostalgia lane and connects back with its roots. In honor of the sometimes forgotten gold mining days of the city, they put on what is called the Madam Lou Bunch Day named after one of the cities most notable character. Madam Lou Bunch was a resident of central city during the Gold Rush era. She was a political figure and successful business woman. The festivities are put on to celebrate the history of a town once called The Richest Square Mile on Earth.

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In the late 1800s Central City was plagued by a horrible epidemic, according to the Central City historical Society. To help out, Bunch closed her business and set up a makeshift hospital, where she and her girls nursed the sick miners back to health. Bunch continued living in Central City, a beloved resident, until her death in 1935.

Today Central City is known as the home of Central City Opera and some of this state's casinos. But every June, it celebrates Madam Lou Bunch. This year's Madame Lou Bunch Day begins at noon on Saturday, June 15, on Main Street with a presentation on the history of the town during the Gold Rush, complete with characters playing miners, madams, sporting-house girls and other dignitaries; live entertainment will continue with the Double It Down Band featuring Candace Stevens, an American Idol contestant who made the first round of final. as well as the the Sporting House Girls Review, the Wild Bunch and the Donkeys. This early part of the festivities is family-friendly.

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But the main event on Main Street is the Bed Races, which got its start not in the Victorian era, but when The Duchess and The Dirtwater Fox was filmed in Central City in the '70s. After a parade at 2:45 p.m., teams consisting of two miners and one sporting girl will race beds down the street. The first-place team wins $300, second-place $200 and third-place $100; costumes are encouraged, and the best costume wins $150. (Teams can still enter by calling 303-601-1023).

All the action on Main Street is meant for the family. After that, festivities are 21 and up, and include a competition for Madam, Sporting House Girl and Dandy Dan of the year in the ballroom at The Century casino.

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