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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Madam Lou Bunch Day Offers Historical Fun in Central City

The streets were lined with hundreds of people this weekend in Central City for the annual Madam Lou Bunch Day—a tradition that started almost 40 years ago with the filming of 1976 movie The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, starring Goldie Hawn and George Segal. Every year since, the City of Central has continued to promote this event, which features a small parade, performances on the grandstand and the famous “bed races.” The centerpiece of the day, the bed races take place down Main Street and teams of three (two men and one woman) race the oversized brass bed on wheels for the fastest time.

Check out this video of some Bed Race competitors struggling to maneuver the bed!

In the late 1800s, Madam Lou Bunch ran her house on Pine Street, just behind Main Street and right below the mines. Lou Bunch and her sporting house girls provided controversial “amenities” to the miners of the day, but played an important role as an epidemic broke out in Central City; she converted her house to a makeshift hospital. Working to get the miners back to health was essential to continue the economic prosperity of the late 1800s and therefore the story of Madam Lou Bunch remains a passionate tale and a significant bit of Central City history.

Several "dignitaries" marched in the parade

The famous brass bed
The performance by the "Sidekickers"
The highly-anticipated bed race
This may be a day of strange tradition, but it certainly offered an entertaining way to enjoy a sunny Saturday in Central City. Read more about the famous Madam of Central City in this article published by the Weekly Register-Call/Gilpin County News.

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