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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Central City Celebrates Annual Madam Lou Bunch Day

Central City is lovably quirky.

It’s known simultaneously for its singing Opera House and dinging casinos. Its elevation is nearly 8,500 feet, placing it among the highest cities in the country. And once a year it’s host to dames on beds being pushed around by townsfolk in drag.

Interns McEntee, Abernathy and Ting posing in costume
in the Opera Garden before the Madam Lou Bunch parade commenced
Madam Lou Bunch Day is arguably Central City’s most unique event. Bunch was a notorious prostitute in the 1880s who allegedly grew too wide to physically leave her brothel’s brass bed. To annually commemorate one of Central City’s most colorful characters, locals dress up in costumes ranging from stuffy Victorian to saucy barmaid. Additionally, many compete in the Bed Races where a pair of boys push ladies-on-beds-on-wheels up and down Main Street. The teams often dress in a costumed theme, with prizes for the fastest teams and slickest costumes.

Ladies of Central City dress up as brothel women
for Madam Lou Bunch Day and pose on the bed that was used in the races
Eight teams competed in the Bed Races this year, all representing local businesses from Century Casino to Central City Opera. This year three CCO interns (cross-)dressed as characters from the upcoming three shows in the 2014 Festival. Props Intern Austin Abernathy owned the garconne look with his flappers dress for The Marriage of Figaro, which will be set in the 1920s. Assistant House Manager Dahlia Ting donned prison garb (and a myriad of tattoos) to showcase Dead Man Walking, and Marketing/Public Relations Assistant Billy McEntee dressed as a nun for The Sound of Music.

Abernathy pushes McEntee and Ting uphill during the back nine of the Bed Races
While these dynamic garments sadly did not merit the Best Costumes award, the three youngsters did take home the Maiden Voyage ribbon for their first time competing. The speedy workers at Johnny Z's Casino, the reigning champions, came in first place and won $300. Nevertheless, the CCO racers succeeded in advertising their upcoming productions and entertaining townsfolk with their enthusiasm, irreverent costumes and loopy steering.

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