Denver: Np, 1898. First Edition. Octavo. Item #027153
Color die-cut booklet, with images. 48 pages of which 45 are color sketches of floats designed for the festival. With Colorado facing a severe depression from the Silver Crash of 1893, Major Hooper of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad proposed a festival that would be a western version of Mardi Gras. They created an elite secret society known as the Slaves of the Silver Serpent who would bring in planners from the Mardi Gras designers as well as those who followed the idea of floats in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. They chose the name Festival of Mountain and Plain and it would emphasize the vast wealth of Colorado's agricultural and mineral resources. It began its first festival in 1895 but it became a great success so that by 1898 (the Fourth Annual Festival), it drew people from all over the West and even with special train rates from the eastern U.S. With reports of up to 150,000 attendees, the trains were overloaded and people often had to stay extra days which was an additional boon to the economy. The highlights of the parade was the float The Slaves of the Silver Serpent which was followed by a grand ball where a king and queen would be named (from, of course, Denver's elite families. While many of the images were not practical because of size and weight (an era of horse-drawn floats), they indicate the wide vision of the organizers of an event that brought Denver and much of the surrounding region out of the depression. Several stamps on the booklet show it could be purchased at Raymers Old Book Store at 884-15th and was the major Denver book store which advertised books on the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, as well as the best books on mineralogy and the sciences.