Downtown Denver will be buzzing today as the streets are infiltrated by a swarm of scooter enthusiasts participating in this year's Shopping Ride, a highlighted adjunct event in the sixth annual Mile High Mayhem scooter rally. "Still pushing junk" is the theme as the two-strokers take the road by storm, stopping along the way to do a little destination shopping in some of the city's funkiest boutiques. The prequel to tomorrow night's official Mile High Mayhem launch at the Bluebird Theater, the Shopping Ride is the last chance for the mod squad to scout out fancy new gear for the swank extravaganza. The event draws scooterized shoppers from around the globe, with past Mayhems hosting visitors from Canada, England and even Bosnia.
Shopping Ride organizer Jani Smith has rustled up a book of coupons with discounts of 10 to 20 percent exclusively for riders. "People love to come back every year; it's like a homecoming," says Smith. "Denver is a really great city to visit, and an even greater city to have a rally in."
Wanna be among the motoretta, or just look like it? Then beg, borrow, or hop on the back of a scooter as the rally kick-starts at Colorado Vespa, 726 Lincoln Street, at 1:30 p.m. Then hold on tight as riders rev up for a marathon parade, with pit stops scheduled at stores along First Avenue and Broadway and 13th Avenue and Washington Street. A finish-line fete and barbecue will be hosted by the Buffalo Exchange, at 13th Avenue and Grant Street.
Smith, who rides a 1974 vintage Vespa Primavera 125, thinks the popularity of the two-stroke vehicles is straightforward: "They're a great way to get around the city, and they're just so zippy and fun." Even Mayor John Hickenlooper has been seen riding around the streets of Denver lately.
Festival marks neighborhood diversity
Nobody really knows for sure how Sloan's Lake came to occupy the land east of 25th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard, but homesteader Thomas F. Sloan, who claimed the surrounding land in 1866, was digging for something -- some say potatoes, others say a well -- and hit an aquifer. Out sprung a beautiful lake that still laps at its northwest Denver shores. The lake's vicinity has been host to an ice house, an honest-to-God steamboat, a dump, a private turn-of-the century amusement park grandiosely titled Manhattan Beach, and the public park that continues to grace its waterfront today. The surrounding neighborhood also boasts a unique, checkered and multicultural history, providing homes for both working-class and newly rich families, including orthodox Jews, immigrants from Italy, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and, more recently, Mexican nationals, who now make up at least half the area's population.
Cause for celebration?
Members of the Sloan's Lake Citizen's Group think so, which is why they're throwing the first annual Sloan's Lake Spirit Fest, an event as varied as the neighboring populace. The party takes place today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the lake's edge. "Our purpose is not to rent a bunch of booths to vendors and sell T-shirts -- it's something more than that," says SLCG spokeswoman Carolynne White. To that effect, there'll be everything from a klezmer band to a Mexican folk-dance troupe performing, along with a kids' bike rodeo, a helmet giveaway and more. For details, log on to www.neighborhoodlink.com/denver/slcg. -- Susan Froyd
Where the Girls Are
Celebrate female power tonight at Savor the Night, the third annual summer celebration benefiting four local women's organizations: the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, The Gathering Place, SafeHouse Denver and the Women's Bean Project. "It's always a beautiful evening," says Keller Hayes, president of the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce. "We've got great entertainment, delicious food, tarot-card readers, storytellers and so much more."
The party will feature hot culinary creations by cool local restaurants, including Buca di Beppo, Jillian's, Maggiano's, the Samba Room, Sambuca Jazz Cafe, the Painted Bench and Tamayo, as well as free-flowing beer and a Chef's Competition, in which several top foodies will battle to create the ultimate dish using sponsor Coors beer.
Performers include local jazz bands and Hazel Miller. "She rocks," says Keller. "She's an amazing woman, and Denver really loves her."
Savor the Night will be held tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria, 14th and Curtis streets. Admission is $35 plus a non-perishable item for the Gathering Place; tickets are available at 303-458-0220, at www.cwcc.org, or at the door. -- Julie Dunn
Buffalo Bill Days stir Golden
From its final resting place high atop Lookout Mountain, the spirit of Buffalo Bill Cody must look down proudly upon Golden's annual Buffalo Bill Days Festival. Held today and tomorrow in downtown Golden, the festival features a pancake breakfast, burro races, a parade down Main Street, craft and food vendors, mutton-bustin' competitions, a classic car show and live music; headliner Lannie Garrett takes the stage in Parfet Park tonight at 8 p.m. For information on the free fest, call the hotline at 303-384-0003. "It's by far the biggest event of the year in town," says festival organizer Charlene Pazar.
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