Article & Photos by Miguel Baca Barragan, Latin Life Denver Media (see photo gallery below)
“This is the biggest parade I have ever seen in this town since I moved here in 1998.” One attendee noted. Another stated, “It was incredible to see so many people turn out to the parade. I have never seen so many people on Main Street”. Over 50 entries participated in the parade the surrounding town of Antonito, a part of what makes Colorado so beautiful. Participants included elected officials, community organizations and many other supporters & donators. Visitors and residents turned out in mass to participate and view the 2016 Labor Day Parade.
Latin Life Denver/America was the media sponsor for this beautiful areas 2016 Labor Day parade and festivities. Miguel Baca Barragan, a talk show host for Latin Life Denver/America Radio, was honored to serve as the MC and announcer for the town’s annual Labor Day parade.
Antonito! A town settled and founded prior to Colorado becoming a state of the union is still a very active community. A town, as of the 2010 census makes up of less than 800 people in population. It shares the reality of history and modern day affairs of a big city.
According to Wikipedia “Antonito began life as a sheep herding camp known as San Antonio Junction, referring to its proximity to the Conejos and San Antonio rivers. When the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad built its line south from Alamosa, the town was renamed Antonito and became an important town on the railroad line. The town was incorporated in 1889. There are currently no major industries located in Antonito, but the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has one terminus in Antonito and the other in Chama, New Mexico.
The area’s economy has recently experienced an upsurge with the passage of Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws. A 420-friendly town, several recreational marijuana dispensaries have opened within the city limits. Additionally, between summer 2015 and early 2016, 10 new businesses, some marijuana-related and some not, opened their doors to customers in the area.
In 2015, a Colorado State Highway project rebuilt the stretch of Highway 285 that runs through town. The new highway has helped beautify the downtown area and improve traffic flow.
The city boasts a number of unique buildings, including a historic Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad depot, one of only a few lava rock depots still existing in the United States. Currently in a state of disrepair, a grant to restore the building is in the works. Cano’s Castle, a folk-art home constructed by a local resident, attracts attention from tourists and local residents alike. Just south of town, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Conejos County have jointly developed a high-quality outdoor shooting range with special areas for rifle sighting as well as target practice ranges for various types of rifles and handguns. An indoor archery range and nearby hunting and fishing opportunities attract outdoor enthusiasts.
A library, tire repair shop and a new medical clinic have opened in recent years and Family Dollar recently built a store in Antonito. The South Conejos Jr. and Sr. High School was recently built and boasts facilities on par with the best schools in the area.
The town is known for its many murals, most of them painted by Fred Haberlein.
Antonito is the location of the oldest church building and congregation in Colorado, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, built in 1857.
New friends can be found, via Facebook today. It lets a person know that change is here but still has Valley roots.
History has made its mark on this little town of Antonito. Home of the oldest Catholic Church in Colorado, Our Lady of Guadalupe, thrives strong with heart of inclusion and honor. Their stories have been shared on programs that Latin Life Denver/America covered in 2016. Stay connected to Latin Life Denver for more photos and history of the San Luis Valley and history of Colorado.
List of entries:
Paulie Duran – Fire Chief and longtime native of Antonito – 1935 Ford Fire Truck
Opening Flag presentation carried by Antonito HS students Iram Angular and Enrique Cortez (Hosted by the Veterans Affairs w/ Conejos County)
Veterans of Foreigner Wars and American Legion Banner
Horses with Flags (USA & Colorado)
Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs and Conejos County Veteran Affairs
24yr Conejos County Clerk, Andrew w/ Josie Perea
Antonito Together (2016 Event Organizing Group)
History of Antonito Fire Trucks.
Youth of Yester Year! “Seniors are recycled teenagers” represented in guidance.
Motorcycle group for you youth and banner shared commitment to cause. A big thanks for their efforts and commitment to education and school supply drives.
Youth Bike decorations and involvements were awesome. Competitions were from 9yrs and younger as one category and 10-16yr entries as the other.
A book “Give Away”, hoste by the South Conejos County School Dist. Along with Save the Children, took place after the parade float sharing education is a tool in the festivities.
South Conejos County School Board
Local HS Homecoming Queen Tina Martinez and Prom Queen Cheyenne Atencio
A.R.T.S. Cordy Lujan, Org.. Emerging artists through K-12 art classes
HomeTown Food Markets
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Rail Road
Conejos Clean Water
Our Lady of Guadalupe Fiesta Queen, (Angel Trujillo)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Youth Group
Rainbow Spice Cheerleaders
Las Madres Christianas, (The oldest Christian mother organization)
Conejos County Democrats
El Santuario de los ProblaDORES
Valley Wide Heath Sys, Inc
Steam Train Hotel and 420 Green Genie
“Let’s all go to Bethlehem” 1st place float
Conejos County Commissioners
Conejos County Rotary Club
United Presbyterian Church
Conejos Department of Social Services
“Thriller” Romero’s Annual Halloween Haunted Corral
Lifted Trucks Rollin High club
Canon Bonito RV Park and Fly Fisherman’s Preserve
Dos Hermanas Restaurant
Dutch Mill Restaurant and Tavern
Antonito Fire Department
Photos by Miguel Baca Barragan, Latin Life Denver Media