One of Denver's better cultural values--not to mention a great way to while away a summer evening--is Theater in the Park, which returns tonight to the open-air Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park at Broadway and Colfax. Show up with a picnic in tow, and you'll be treated to a performance of the Birdman Productions comedy Sports Talk 2000, beginning at 8 (and continuing nightly through Saturday). The Golden Eagle Brass Band makes music Saturday at 4:30, Trouble Clef Productions contributes three performances of the drama Nine on July 29, 30 and 31, and the Shwayder Theatre's Mizel Children's Theater wraps it all up August 1 with performances of Androcles and the Lion at 5:30 and 8. All Theater in the Park events are free; call 303-770-2106.
Or, if you're the type who just begins to perk up when evening breezes cool the day, put on your running togs and throw in your hat for the annual One Step Closer Twilight 5K Walk/Run benefit for Food Bank of the Rockies, taking place at 6:30 p.m. in City Park. Post-race, the free Party in the Park offers healthy burgers, fruit, sodas and beer; entry fees range from $12 to $22 (or $225 to $275 for ten-person corporate teams). For information, call 303-371-9250.
Help our growing family of public parks welcome a couple of newcomers this morning from 9 to 11 by joining Rod Lister of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation for a Denver's Newest Parks Tour of two new green spaces--Commons and Cuernavaca parks--located right among the city's oldest Platte Valley haunts. The Colorado Historical Society-sponsored tour will include a dash of historical background, along with the inevitable pleasant views; a fee of $10 ($8 for CHS members) will be charged. For reservations call 303-866-4686.
It's hard, after all these years, to imagine a Denver without the Swallow Hill Music Association, which has been providing the city with a folksy soundtrack (and a smashing music school) for more than twenty years. But lucky for us all, we don't have to imagine that: Swallow Hill keeps on growing while sticking to a comfortable ethos that's always worked. This weekend, the organization will have a chance to show off its spacious new digs during the annual Swallow Hill Folkathon, a wonderful celebration and fundraiser with lots of live music, storytelling, folk arts and food for the whole family. It all begins tonight with a kickoff concert at 8, featuring such venue regulars as Carla Sciaky, the Swallow Hill Blues Revue, Reel Women and Chiminimani; tickets are $13 ($11 for members). Tomorrow, the festival itself unfolds from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on seven stages scattered throughout the building and in tents outdoors; admission for the entire day is $6 ($1 kids eighteen and under). The Swallow Hill Music Hall is at 71 E. Yale; call 303-777-1003.
Adults are welcome--well, necessary--but kids are required at KidSpree, Aurora's sprawling annual festival for kids that includes an endless myriad of activities and entertainment tailored to fascinate, stimulate and amuse children of all ages. Here's a taste of what you'll find there: an Artstacle Course, a big bubble booth, the Colorado Clowns, the world's largest peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, a dress-up stage, a Funnoodle Sculpture Garden, a Kids Karaoke stage and a hands-on Sport Court. Kidspree takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bicentennial Park, Alameda Ave. and Potomac St., Aurora; for details call 303-478-KIDS or log on to www.ci.aurora.co.us.
Kids with an equine fixation will also enjoy the Hands-On Horses Festival, a family-oriented event where you can see over twenty breeds firsthand, watch trained horses go through their paces, have your picture taken with a celebrity horse, go for a ride or simply pat a pony's nose: It all takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow at High Prairie Farms Equestrian Center, 7522 Pinery Parkway, South Parker, in conjunction with the Colorado Summer Classic Grand Prix event at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is $10 per carload (the additional Grand Prix admission of $5 to $10 is half-price for festival-goers); call 303-841-5550 for information.
You can ogle a horse of a different feather at the Rocky Mountain Ostrich Festival, an annual féte celebrating everything ostrich, from live ostrich-chick hatchings to an obvious denouement--ostrich fajitas, burgers and brats served at the Taste of Ostrich eatery. In between, you can watch the speedy avians race while you eat, drink and are educated; proceeds benefit the Vector Foundation and the Missing Children's Task Force. Catch the fest--if you can (ostriches are pretty speedy)--from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, exit 181 off I-25, Castle Rock; admission ranges from $1 to $3 (children under five free). Call 303-790-7070 or log on to www.ostrichraces.com.
Several metro-area historical museums will join forces this weekend for Gardens Through Time: A Historic House and Garden Tour focusing on how things were, domestically, in days-gone-by. Victorian gardens, wagon rides, historical characters, a look at antique gardening tools and pin-doll-making demos are just a few examples of what you'll find from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow at the Byers-Evans House, 1310 Bannock St.; the Denver Museum of Dolls, Toys and Miniatures, 1880 Gaylord St.; Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.; the Lakewood Heritage Center, 797 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood; and the Littleton Historical Museum, 6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton. Tickets, which can be purchased in advance at any of the participating locations, are $5 to $10 (children under five free); call 303-620-4933.