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“The Art of Flauschink”

It starts this Wednesday!

 What is Flauschink? It can be a lot of things to a lot of different people, but by definition it is a spring celebration created by a handful of Crested Butte locals back in the spring of 1969 in an attempt to “flush out” the winter and celebrate another ski season gone by.
The main force behind the celebration was George Sibley, with the help of many others, including John Burns of the Crested Butte Ski Patrol and Cathy Wirtz, who designed the first two Flauschink posters and became the town’s first Queen (her king was Whitey Sporcich in 1969).
 This annual party for the town is more than a polka, parade and ski race. It’s a great time for old timers and newcomers, for locals and visitors of all ages to come together and laugh, share stories of the winter and celebrate our wonderful town, ski area and each other. It is also a time to enjoy the art.
 It all starts with the beautiful artwork of Susan Anderton, who has created 40 (of the 46) posters for this event. Many of the posters are displayed at the GS&L Bank in Crested Butte, the Crested Butte Heritage Museum, the Talk of the Town, and Gallery 3, which is owned by Susan.
This year’s poster is hot off the press and can now be purchased at her gallery on 3rd and Elk. The poster features King Pete and Queen Johnna, and Olympic athletes David and Aaron, and notes that we’re the #1 Ski Town in North America for 2014—and it’s beautiful, as always.
 Next comes the art of storytelling (and a slide show) hosted by local historians Duane Vandenbusche and George Sibley, on Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at Upstairs at the Talk of the Town. Enjoy fun photos provided by our royal photographer, Corky Racek, while you’re there and take a peek at all 46 Flauschink posters framed and displayed by Joel Lewis at the Talk. It’s Crested Butte history at its best.
 Our next art forms can be experienced on Friday, April 4 at the Coronation Polka Ball (held at Maxwell’s this year), where you can enjoy the lively music of Pete Dunda’s Polka Band and be entertained by the poems written for our new royalty. The annual poems are written in riddles, hinting and eventually revealing the secret identity of this year’s King and Queen.
Past poetry has been written by Cathy Wirtz, Denis Hall, Texas Jane and Sherrie Vandervoort, with occasional help from Diner and Lipstick. The poems are written to amuse, entertain and hopefully surprise all.
The royals will be revealed around 10 p.m. and presented with beautifully made crowns and scepters (not to be confused with hats and plungers) that they will have the pleasure of “sporting” throughout their year-long reign. Our royal milliner for the past two years is the talented Andrea Rybarz, a local seamstress from the Art Nest. The crowns and scepters will remain top secret until the unveiling of our new royals.
The capes are passed from royal to royal over the years until they become too tattered and unsightly. I believe the royal cape maker has always been Lina Glick. There have been 92 crowns and 92 scepters created and worn over the past four decades—that’s a lot of art.
Every year since 1969 there has been a button competition. Button designs are submitted and voted on every year. This year’s design was won by Sherrie Vandervoort and can be purchased at most of the local watering holes in downtown Crested Butte for $3. Not only are they collectibles but they also gain you entrance to the Flauschink festivities at a reduced price.
The Saturday parade, held in downtown Crested Butte at noon, is a piece of art itself. So there you have it—the Art of Flauschink. Flush out the season with us in style. Happy Flauschink, everyone!

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