May 25, 2013 Updated: May 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm
Gabby the Clown took her costume off before she parallel parked a 33-foot food truck one block from Old Colorado City’s biggest event of the year.
No one was awake to see her.
The mindfully placed truck selling hot dogs up to $5 less than nearby vendors was a hit with the hundreds of people a few hours later as they walked past on their way to the 38th annual Territory Days celebration.
Mary Hardy, the food truck driver also known as Gabby the Clown, was one of dozens of west-side residents-turned-entrepreneurs poised for the event.
Garage sales, paid parking in church lots and car washes pop up every Memorial Day weekend around Colorado Avenue.
Hardy asked longtime friend Shirley Cherry to use the prized parking spot on Pikes Peak Avenue to turn around what has been a dismal business launch.
Cherry’s home, where the 80-year-old has lived since 1941, is conveniently located more than the 700 legally required feet from where vendors pay up to $1,500 to reserve a 10-square-foot space. Hardy’s truck would have required three of that size.
Organizers expect 150,000 people to trek to Territory Days over the three-day
Gold panning, a mechanical bull, blacksmithing, live birds of prey and costumes depict the era when Colorado City became the Pikes Peak region’s first town in 1859.
“I always liked the Indian dancing and the cowboy shoot-outs, the drama,” Cherry said from her 38 years of experience with the event.
Music pumped through the neighborhood early afternoon Saturday when local band The Nocturnal Tomatoes took the stage. They were one of at least 20 musical entertainers performing throughout the weekend.