It may seem odd for Denver Water to begin publishing recreation guides, since the department's primary business is making certain our water is clean and safe to drink. But spokesman and editor Richard Johnson assures us that the department's new pocket-sized Guide to the Highline Canal is merely a sideline--and it does make sense, as the agency owns and maintains the waterway, which meanders for 71 miles across the metro area from southwest of Chatfield Reservoir to the edge of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The handy book, a bargain at $4.50, offers mile-by-mile observations for canal bikers and hikers, with asides pertaining to safety, accessibility, wildlife and other aspects of trail travel. Johnson and a crew of Denver Water staff involved in the guide's creation will be on hand tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St., to give a slide show and presentation; call 303-436-1070.
If all you plan to do this weekend is sit on your rear end at one wienie roast after another, spitting watermelon seeds in the grass and contemplating a beer, here's one event you'll be missing: The Central City FreedomFest, a good, old-fashioned street fair on Main Street, featuring vendor booths hawking grilled corn on the cob, turkey legs and pizza and highlighted by free nostalgia concerts with oldies bands Flash Cadillac and Bill Haley's Comets, as well as local talents. The fun begins tonight at 6 and continues Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8; fireworks top off the night tomorrow in the mountain town. Call 303-582-5251 or 1-800-542-2999 for details.
Ushering in the Fourth on an artsy note, the 1999 Cherry Creek Arts Festival gets under way today with the usual expectations for record-breaking crowds and highfalutin' fun in the sun. The juried arts festival, featuring work by fine artists from across the nation, has become a Denver classic that begins--but doesn't end--with a firm foundation of great artwork. There's also live music and street performances, delicious eats and hands-on activity tents for kids and adults; it all takes place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday on 2nd and 3rd avenues between Clayton and Steele streets in Cherry Creek North. Go--see and be seen; admission is free.
Whether you're young in years or just young at heart, this is your weekend to visit the Colorado Renaissance Festival, which celebrates its Children's Weekend, with free admission for kids 12 and under, today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. In addition to the usual festival attractions--jousting matches, wandering entertainers, Henry VIII-style eats and other 16th-century delights, small fry in particular will be able to enjoy an endangered cat show, extensive petting zoo, giant costumed puppets, storytellers, rides and games. The fest continues weekends through August 1 in Larkspur, Exit 173, I-25 south; adult admission is $13.95. Call 303-688-6010 or log on to www.coloradorenaissance.com.
Anything might happen when performance artists Don Becker and Jeff Falk team up for Co-Dependence Day--An Evening Without Oliver Stone tonight at 8 at the Bug Performance and Media Art Center, 3654 Navajo St. Becker, a local comedian/actor/ranter/character known for breaking the rules, and Falk, a prop-using Dadaist from Phoenix, make for a volatile combination--expect much strangeness and lots of laughs. Call 303-477-5977 for tickets and information.
How to celebrate the summer's signature holiday? How about start early and stay late?
Fill up on pancakes this morning at Hudson Gardens, 6115 S. Santa Fe Dr., where they'll be flipping hotcakes from 8 to 11 in preparation for a full day of family activities, from canoe rides to an ice-cream social, before settling down after dark to view fireworks set off at nearby Columbine Country Club. Gardens admission is $2 to $4 ($4-$6 includes the breakfast); call 303-797-8565. Or dip into the past from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St., where you can ride a stagecoach, listen to a mountain man or exchange gossip with Uncle Sam--grounds entry costs $3-$5 (kids under 6 free); call 303-399-1859. And it's more of the same at Clear Creek History Park, 822 12th St., Golden, where the old-fashioned doings begin at noon and continue until dusk, when families can settle down to watch the skies light up. Admission is $2 to $3; call 303-278-3557.
Thrill-seekers can spend the day--and night--in a state of perpetual awe by taking advantage of a package deal offered by the Colorado Rapids soccer team--twenty bucks gets you an all-day pass to Six Flags Elitch Gardens and admission to the Rapids game at 7, across the river at Mile High Stadium, where you'll have a front-row seat to an after-game fireworks spectacular. Game-only tickets start at $12; call 303-299-1599 or log on to www.coloradorapids.com.