In the beginning, there was Colorado Rockies baseball. Then there was the grand opening of Coors Field and a Rox-solid bid for the pennant. This year, of course, it's the 69th All-Star Game, taking place right here in the heart of LoDo, but as is often the case at our posh downtown ballpark, if you don't already have a ticket, you can just fuggeddaboudit. But that's also no reason not to join in the fun. The five-day Pinnacle All-Star FanFest, today through Tuesday at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St., is a public event sponsored by Major League Baseball and designed to entertain you and the rest of the fan overflow pouring into town. A virtual wonderland of baseball-related stuff, the FanFest features all manner of interactive and hands-on activities, a chance to meet some of the game's greats and get their autographs for free, and an exclusive display of memorabilia on tour from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Monday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; tickets, $8 to $14 for timed-entry admission (kids two and under free), are available at Rockies Dugout and King Soopers stores or by calling 1-800-388-ROCK. For more information call 1-800-449-3267.
While the Cherry Creek Arts Festival may be the biggest news this weekend in the Denver art world, that's no reason to leave the city's thriving galleries in the lurch. If the festival piques but doesn't quite satisfy your inner art-viewing urges, keep on walking--right into this evening's monthly First Friday Art Walk, which has spread in the last year or so from LoDo to all of Denver's gallery enclaves. On the north side, catch an opening at Pirate: A Contemporary Art Oasis, 3659 Navajo St. (458-6058), where works by a number of local alternative artists go on display beginning at 7. And across the street at Zip 37, 3644 Navajo St. (477-4525), wall installations and mixed-media constructions by Patty Ortiz are on display through July 12. LoDo is well-represented by the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee St. (298-7788), where a mishmash of fine works, including prints by Robert Motherwell, paintings by Sam Scott, sculpture by Creighton Michael and more are on display, while Ron Judish Fine Arts, 1617 Wazee St. (571-5557), features The Body as Metaphor through August 1. Or haunt the Broadway corridor, where Artyard, 1251 S. Pearl St. (777-3219), continues to show new three-dimensional works by Virginia Folkestad through July 15. For more information on gallery openings and First Friday tours, call 640-7972.
It's the Fourth of July--no time to be a stick-in-the-mud. So, please, no excuses: How about an educational Dinosaur Discovery Day, today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center, Alameda Pkwy. and Rooney Rd.? You can view a cast of a possible T. Rex footprint or a race car on loan from Bandimere Speedway at the center, or set out on foot to explore the ridge's dino tracks and talk to strategically placed guides; bus rides up the ridge will also be offered for $2 a person. Call 697-DINO.
Or take a gander at another rarity: For the first time in recent history, the Denver Art Museum will open its doors on the holiday for tours through the current Egyptian exhibit, as well as strolls through first- and sixth-floor galleries. Of special note during this diamond-studded baseball week is photographer Jim Dow's famous collection of National League stadium shots, on view through September 8. For information call 640-2793.
An all-day family affair will take place at the Hudson Gardens Fourth of July Celebration, which kicks off with a hearty, all-American pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m., followed by a plethora of fun things to do in a garden setting, including slurping cones at an ice-cream social, rooting for your favorite during a series of rubber-duck races, ambling through a juried art show or enjoying ongoing games and live entertainment. Riverside seating for the Columbine Country Club fireworks show tops it all off at 9 p.m. Entry to the gardens, located at 6303 S. Santa Fe Dr., is $1 to $2 at the gate (kids under six free). Call 797-8565 for details. Fireworks also wrap up tonight's Colorado Rapids professional soccer game at Mile High Stadium. The Rapids kick up a storm against the New England MetroStars at 7 p.m., but the real pyrotechnics start after the game; call 288-1599 or 830-TIXS for information and tickets.