Total Pageviews

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Florence,Colorado: Where The F*** Is Florence?

I often search all over for what people are writing about Florence, Colorado.

Local people. People around Colorado. And people around the world.

Why? I'm just curious to know what people think about a small town in the middle of somewhere. And in the middle of nowhere. And come to find out that many people don't even know Florence exists.

One of the problems is that Florence isn't exactly on the way to any major destinations. It's certainly an easy drive from Colorado Springs and Pueblo. It's not that far from Royal Gorge and Canon City. But it's not on a major highway.

I've noticed when I go to the Springs (where I lived for over 20 years and knew about Florence) that when store clerks ask me where I am from--I often get a blank look. I can tell by their eyeballs they are too polite to ask where it is. And some people would say,"Well, Florissant sure is a nice area!"

Florence, not Florissant!

I thought I was the only one who ran into this phenomenon. The Florence vortex.

When I lived in Denver for a short time, it was even more strange. I'd tell a new friend, a hair dresser or store clerk, who asked about my background, that I was from the Springs, but missed Manitou Springs, since I missed small FUNky towns like crazy. I'd get those same blank looks. Manitou? Never heard of it.

So, when I told a few friends and acquaintances in Denver we were moving to Florence, most would say: "Now exactly where is this place? In Colorado?"

I came across this great blog post over at the Florence Brewery Company. Yes, in Florence!

Excellent post that sums up the frustration about finding out most people in our great state don't know we exist.

But I think that is going to change fairly soon. We have a lot of people determined to put Florence on the map. Florence, NOT Florissant!

Just think about it. If people don't know where Florence is they won't be able to get a cold, artisan beer from the Florence Brewing Company easily--or experience all the other great things our fair burg offers in a friendly, small-town environment.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Florence, Colorado: THE PLACE TO BE FOR THE 4TH OF JULY!

Florence, Colorado is the place to be for the 4th of July. It's all about red, white and YOU!

Actually Florence is a fun place to be any day of the year, but the town pulls out all the stops to celebrate Independence Day with the Florence 4th of July Festival.

Instead of listing all the fun things to experience, celebrate, see, eat and enjoy--it would be quicker to say there pretty much will be EVERYTHING there to make sure the whole family and friends have a great time.

Florence isn't celebrating on just the 4th. Oh, no! This celebration is so big it has to be packed into four days.

It's worth the drive. If you haven't ever visited Florence, you've been missing a friendly welcome, walkable streets, free parking and the best of small town living.

I know you want to know more, so go to Facebook:

Florence, Colorado: #IFoundYouInFlorenceColorado Artisian Marsha Bell of Canon City

Who did I find in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado, this time? Florence has a campaign, #FindItInFlorence, designed to showcase all the things one can find in Florence. On this blog, I also highlight who I  find in Florence and what they are doing with the things they find in Florence. I think you'll agree, many people who come to Florence have interesting dreams, goals, hobbies and memories they seek to celebrate with objects found in Florence.

                                                         Marsha Bell Of Canon City

This time I found Marsha Bell of Canon City in Florence. She's holding a miniature cowboy hat and a pair of cowboy boots.

Of course, we couldn't resist asking her what she planned on doing with her purchase.

Marsha said she's been fascinated with miniatures since childhood. But this Canon City artisan isn't just content with arranging and collecting miniatures in an ordinary fashion.

"I arrange antique miniatures in unique antique containers," she said.

She uses antique radios, televisions, refrigerators and other vintage items as the showcase or framework for works of art.

                                                         Photo courtesy of Marsha Bell

Marsha gave a vintage TV (pictured above) new life by creating a magical scene of a North Pole bakery.

"I purchase many of the items I use, in Florence," Marsha said.

Also a registered nurse at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, and an instructor at CNA classes in Florence, Marsha estimates she puts at least 50 plus hours into each creation.

Her nostalgic vignettes aren't for sale, but Marsha has been entering her work at the Pueblo State Fair for about five years. She's won several Best Of Show ribbons and earned three first place ribbons.

                                                        Photo courtesy of Marsha Bell

The scene of a Victorian Christmas, framed by part of an antique icebox, won Marsha a Best of Show award at the fair.

Marsha is inspired by a variety of themes for her art work, but primarily concentrates on Christmas scenes. "This all started from a memory of me as a child looking down a banister at Christmas..."she recalled.

The magical memories of her childhood Christmases are celebrated and honored every time she goes on a search for new miniatures and antique backdrops.

I'm just glad, even though Marsha doesn't sell her work, that she chooses to share her love of good memories, antiques and miniatures with everyone by displaying at the fair, and readily sharing her story with us in Florence.

What is Marsha's newest project that she was in Florence hunting for miniatures last week?

She'll be working on a barn scene (complete with that cute hat and cowboy boots) set in an antique school desk.

I'm hoping when the antique school desk is completed we'll get a picture to share on the blog. We always love seeing all the fascinating things fascinating people do with the treasures they find in Florence!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Florence, Colorado: Who The Heck Is Beatrice Bloggaire And Scruffy?

Who the heck is Beatrice Bloggaire and Scruffy?

Beatrice Bloggaire And Her Dog, Scruffy

Beatrice Bloggaire, as the cartoon shows, has grabbed her notebook and pen and is ready to see what she can find in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado. Beatrice is my alter ego. But the name of her/my dog is really, Scruffy. They do say dogs and their owners look alike. Yes, we are both a bit plump and scruffy.

                                                               A Picture Of The Real Scruffy

Someone came up with the brilliant idea of creating alter ego cartoons for this blog. It makes it easier to go about Florence and Fremont County and other parts of southern Colorado and see what is happening in semi-anonymity. 

Now, some people do know who I am. I'm not that good at keeping secrets! But when a blog goes worldwide, one likes to protect one's identity. 

Awhile back I was having a conversation with an artist and business owner in Florence. We were talking about how I could assist the town, free of charge, in promoting all the exciting people and events and things in our fair burg.

I asked the artist, if television or media people came to Florence, who would be the best on-camera spokesperson for the town. I readily admitted it would never be me. I don't do well in front of cameras or on the radio.

The person said they would never do it. My estimation of the person was they would be well-spoken and suited to the task. They explained why they never would. It turned out that the person was chosen as the artist of the month on a well-known worldwide online selling venue--complete with a picture and story.

The artist was in another town and just browsing in a store when a stranger screamed and rushed the artist and said they recognized them from the online site. Just that minor brush with celebrity was enough for that Florence artist to keep a low profile.

Plus, when people know who you are--the focus often moves from the art, antiques, culture or town you are attempting to focus on.

Some of us thrive on being known. And that's fine. And some of us thrive on having only our work known. And that's fine. And some of us thrive on having the work of others or of a town known. And that's fine. I'm in the latter category. I want to stories of the people and things in Florence, and the stories of people who visit Florence, in the spotlight--not me.

So, Beatrice Bloggaire, happily stepped up to the task and will do it. Nice thing about Beatrice, no one will ever recognize her in a store and rush her! And Scruffy is often wearing his Halloween devil outfit and is incognito anyway.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Florence, Colorado: I'm Hoping The AMERICAN PICKERS Come To Florence

I'm just going to come out and say it: I hope the American Pickers come to Florence.

After all, we are the antiques capital of Colorado. And the American Pickers TV show is set to film in Colorado throughout July.


I was lurking (oops, I mean working) around ye olde antiques mall recently and heard a phone message left by the casting director for the popular History Channel TV show. So, naturally I thought we (oops, I mean me) should see what we can do about this.

                               Mike, Danielle and Frank from The American Pickers TV show

No, I didn't lift this picture from the internet. I actually got it from the casting folks.

I mean who wouldn't want these guys to show up? Can't you even see Danielle coming along and hanging out at the Pour House (the beacon of hippery) and comparing tats?

For gosh sakes, Florence is the FUNkytown of Fremont County and these folks are as FUNky as they get.

And they love to preserve history. And that is what Florence is all about.

Plus, rumor has it when folks (celebs and non-celebs alike) come to Florence we often treat them to breakfast, lunch and/or dinner and give them jars of free Florence-produced honey. Actually that's not a rumor, it happened and you'll have to read other blog posts to find out.

I mean, come on, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford were pretty darn happy with the welcome mat Florence unfurled.

OK, I decided to see what "leads" I could dig up for these fine folks at American Pickers. I asked a dealer who has booth space where I work and also owns an antiques shop in Canon City if he'd let the pickers in. "Nope! They can't come in my garage," he replied," But I did hear Mike and Frank were in Westcliffe the other day eating pizza."

Remember, the title of this blog is, True Story Club, and I only occasionally wax poetic, but don't make things up.

On to the next. I ask another acquaintance who is liquidating some antiques. That person thought their stuff wouldn't be good enough. And also wasn't thrilled with being on camera. That part I understand. I'd freeze with an idiotic expression on my face if a camera was pointed at me. Wait, that really happened one day when I was leaving my house and Channel 13 (in Colorado Springs) happened to be on the sidewalk and asked me what I thought about fraud and scams. "Well," I choked," I'm against fraud and scams..." When I saw myself on TV, I looked like I was sucking on a sour pickle, but in real life I look like I'm perpetually sucking on a sweet Popsicle. Or so I've been told.

I might freeze when TV cameras get near me, but I am determined to sneak around Florence and attempt to get other people to do it. And then write about it.

Next I attempted to get permission for the American Pickers to penetrate the infamous HOBO JUNGLE. Yes, that really is the nickname given by the owners. Still working on that one.

But the glitch besides people being hesitant before cameras, is people often thinking their stuff isn't good enough. It reminds me of my mother cleaning our motel room BEFORE the motel maid showed up so the maid wouldn't think we were slobs.

Well, then someone else uncovered a lead for me. It seems someone has many of the original movie props from the Gene Wilder version of the movie, Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. I made a phone call and it turns out that many of those movie props are indeed in Florence and the owner does want those items to see the light of day so others can enjoy them and while a sale is still unsure, agreed to let me give the contact information to the American Pickers.

But let's see what other leads we can come up with for Florence. Not only would it be fun to see the crew of The American Pickers, it would be fun to see Florence and all its treasures (people and items) get some exposure.

Tune in to future blog posts to see how you can submit a lead to American Pickers.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Florence,Colorado: 50 Shades Of Grey Or 50 Shades Of Orange?

Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado. But the question is: Do we do 50 Shades Of Grey or 50 Shades Of Orange more?

I'll end the suspense quickly, because that's just the kind of person I am.

If you want to know more about this ORANGE madness, just walk by The Loralie Antique Mall at 109 W. Main St.

So far I've seen people walking by shell shocked. I've seen people whip out their phone cameras and snap pictures. And I've heard people say this window surely is about the Broncos.

My, my, my! I won't tell all. But it's about whatever you want it to be!