Creede, Colorado is “The Last Great Place” according to their welcome sign, and I have to agree. Even as a small mining town with, on no certain terms, good mining, Creede survives, and even thrives with its residency of 300 people year round.
How can a town survive with such a small residence? The answer is tourism, and a well planned out city economy.
The city of Creede puts on multiple events year round to draw in tourists. Some of my favorites, also among the most popular, include Pond Hockey, Chocolate Festival, Cabin Fever, Fourth of July, Mining Days, and a Salsa Festival.
My personal favorite event is the Chocolate Festival; last year, over 16 business participated, and tickets cost $10, which seems remarkably fair for homemade chocolates. The city puts this event on to attract people to walk into the stores. I cannot name any other city which puts in as much local effort into bringing people in and creating a name for themselves than Creede. Their struggle to continue to grow and thrive is admirable, and their success is well earned.
For most businesses in Creede, over 70% of their annual income comes from the two weeks around the Fourth of July. It is the perfect time for cabins, Colorado sunshine, and a week in the mountains, which is why so many tourists come bustling into Creede. The city council of Creede, however, surpasses most city councils and actively seeks to keep people coming back for the holidays instead of just relying on their natural surroundings.
The city puts on a fantastic parade (I’m pretty sure all 300 residents participate), usually completely blocks off a street (one of two) for bands, and has a fireworks show which I am almost certain makes up half of the city’s yearly budget.
The only business which has made a name for itself outside of the Creede town name is the Creede Repertory Theatre. This theatre claims to have hosted several Presidents as well as countless Hollywood stars. During the winter shows stop, but during the summer there are several shows every night, most of which sell out.
Creede’s natural attractions are endless. Creede is located in the middle of the mountains, surrounded by several 14,000 ft. peaks and the National Forest. The area is perfect for hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking.
The people of Creede are a unique people, with an attitude that I think more local governments should encourage. The city serves the people and creates original opportunities that are beneficial to both Creede and the tourists, which is why so many people keep coming back to the tiny town.