That Telluriders love to dress up is no secret. And by dress up, we don’t mean suits and ties and pretty dresses. With KOTO’s 37th Annual Halloween Bash  happening this Friday, October 26th, it’s more like monsters and animals and Internet memes and zombies and sports heroes and gaming characters and politicians and … well, you get the idea.

Telluride’s finest non-commercial community radio station has hosted the annual ghoulish bash since dinosaurs ruled the earth and in a number of creative locations. This year, the bash takes place at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village where there’s lots of room to dance, enough cash bars to keep lines small and gondola service back to Telluride until 2 a.m. The treat to complement all the tricks is New Orleans blues-rock guitar superstar, Anders Osborne, who will set all the creepy crawlies to ecstatic gyrations on the dance floor. Ridgway’s own ki-‘ne-tic will kick off the night.

To the throngs who regularly attend this party, it’s all about the costume contest. We know of some who have been brainstorming their costumes since spring. To know what someone’s get-up will be is to be sworn to secrecy with a solemn pinky swear and perhaps some bloodletting. It’s a Really Big Deal. The costume contest prizes are a really big deal, too. Winners receive cash on the spot – $200 for first, $100 for second and $50 for third place.

Telluride’s grizzled veterans of the party scene still lament the demise of the Quonset hut, which was located on the west side of the Telluride Elementary School. It was large enough to accommodate the wildly inventive group costumes that were veritable installations, (bowling alleys, huge aquariums, etc.) whose participants stayed in character throughout the night, providing entertainment for other partygoers. The scrappy Quonset hut was the scene of the bash for many years until it was razed to make way for the school’s burgeoning needs. A huge, heated tent on Mahoney Drive served duty very cleverly for several years before the party crammed itself into the beautiful Sheridan Opera House for a few more Halloweens. The conference center was utilized one year, and then, KOTO set its sights on the pavilion in Town Park, a cavernous space that, in late October, is not yet iced over for the coming hockey season. Moreover, its size and relative indestructibility made it ideal for Telluride’s biggest, most fantastic party. Last year, the ice rink realized its potential when KOTO brought in Anders Osborne and Karl Denson and the crowds were easily accommodated.

This year, while awaiting infrastructure upgrades that will make the pavilion better suited for indoor, non-ice rink activities, the conference center was selected. Its size is a boon to those with grand ideas. When it comes to costumes, the sky’s the limit.

KOTO was founded in 1975 and in those pre-cable, pre-Internet days and instantly became a community hub for information, music and news. Radio leaders began a tradition of hosting community events to support the little non-profit enterprise and it wasn’t long before KOTO earned a reputation as the host with the most. To this day, numerous KOTO events populate the Telluride calendar year. In concert with grant writing, and two on-air fund drives, moneymaking events help keep KOTO on the air. It is said there’s nothing like a Telluride party. The KOTO Halloween Bash is proof.

General admission tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of the event. There are also a limited number of VIP tickets, which entitle the bearer to admission to an area with prime viewing, seated cocktail rounds, and a cash bar. Doors are at 8 p.m.; the show starts at 9 p.m.

To volunteer, purchase tickets or check out lodging deals for the night of the bash, go to: www.koto.org Tickets are also available at the KOTO studio at 207 N. Pine Street, Wizard Entertainment and at Southwest Sound in Durango. For more information, please call Janice Zink at 970-728-8100. Get a taste of the amazing Anders Osborne right here:

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