This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

 Thursday, April 29

School fundraiser season is in high gear, as parents scramble to collect bucks for next year's programs. It's no different at the Denver Public Schools' Academia Sandoval in northwest Denver, which boasts a bilingual Montessori curriculum. Backers have organized a benefit to match the elementary school's multicultural mission: The Amigos de Sandoval Rodeo de Tesoros/Roundup of Treasures, held from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Lumber Baron Inn, 2555 West 37th Avenue, features a silent auction as well as live Latin music by Manuel Molina. Admission is $15 to $20, and free child care will be available from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Call 303-715-9175.

Friday, April 30

La Fiesta: Cinco de Mayo dances back to Civic Center 
Park this weekend.
La Fiesta: Cinco de Mayo dances back to Civic Center Park this weekend.

Just as National Poetry Month skedaddles off into the sunset, here comes the Mercury Cafe's Poetry Rodeo 2004, a fitting annual answer to the burning question "Does Denver actually have a poetry scene?" The "Poedeo," as it's fondly called, gets under way tonight at 5:30 p.m. and promises eight hours of poetry reading and presentations, which this year pay tribute to event founder and Colorado poetry activist Woody Hildebrant, who died last year. Admission is free; to sign up for an open-mike slot, call 303-458-7952 or e-mail poetseth@earthlink.net. The Merc is at 2199 California Street; call 303-294-9281.

The latest thing in animal-shelter fundraising circles? Cocktail parties for dogs -- yes, you read right -- during which the leading end of the leash is turned, at least for one night, and the pooches run the show while their human companions politely look on. The folks at the Denver Dumb Friends League invite one and all to wag and quaff during Yappy Hour, a sensational canine social at the Hotel Teatro, 1106 14th Street, this evening from 5 to 7 p.m. A kickoff for tomorrow's Furry Scurry walk/run in Washington Park, the soiree will provide tasty treats from Restaurant Kevin Taylor, including "muttinis," Swedish meatballs, prosciutto purses, peanut butter petits fours and more, while the DDFL offers night-before race-registration opportunities. Those too stuffed to leave the premises have the option of booking a room upstairs at a special rate that includes party attendance. Regular admission is $25; call 303-696-4941, ext. 379, or log on to www.ddfl.org. For hotel reservations, call 303-228-1100.

No one takes the trash-to-treasure adage more seriously than the Eco-Cycle/Broomfield Recycling Center, which hosts the annual Artful ReCreations Recycled Art Show and Auction to raise consciousnesses about the infinite possibilities in junk while raising dollars for the facility's continued operation. Bid on fabulous assemblages created by local artists from recycled and scrap materials and hear Jeffrey Hollender, president and CEO of a company that produces environmentally responsible products, speak, tonight from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Renaissance Suites at FlatIron, 500 FlatIron Boulevard, Broomfield. Tickets are $35 to $40, or $75 for a VIP package that includes dinner and an auction preview at 6 p.m. And if you miss the fancy gala (by design or otherwise), you can still get in on the trash-rehashing fun tomorrow at the family-friendly Artful ReCreations Street Festival, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Village at FlatIron Crossing, 1 West FlatIron Circle in Broomfield. For information, call 303-404-2839 or log on to www.ecocycle.org.

Saturday, May 1

Fiesta time is here again: Cinco de Mayo hitches up its voluminous skirts and shouts "Ay-ay-ay!" in Civic Center Park at Broadway and Colfax Avenue, today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The traditional herald of Denver's summer festival season, the downtown Cinco fest has something for everyone: six stages of live music, from Tex-Mex to Latin jazz; a colorful array of arts-and-crafts vendors; ethnic foods and a margarita garden; rides courtesy of the Bill Hames Carnival; and more, including the Celebrate Culture parade through downtown Denver on Saturday and a Mariachi Mass on Sunday. Admission is free; call 303-534-8342 or log on to www.newsed.org. Tomorrow, Cinco fun-seekers can opt for the smaller La Fiesta de Mayo, hosted by LARASA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue. Embrace the area's rich Mexican heritage with music and dance, craft vendors, kids' activities and, in the mart pavilion, a Pure Passion With a Purpose car show and competition. Admission to both events is free; for details, log on to www.larasa.org.

Another springtime favorite spreads its petals today when downtown Littleton's Paris Street Market debuts for a brand-new season at the Arapahoe Community College parking lots at Church and Prince streets. Saunter in the sun and peruse the open-air flea market for treasures -- from vintage clothing to clever garden ornaments -- offered by more than 100 exhibitors. The exemplary flea runs today from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., then returns at the same time on the first Saturday of every month through October. Call 720-795-7149 or log on to www.aparisstreetmarket.com for information.

Sunday, May 2

Just about anyone can rev up and compete at today's Street Machine Showdown at Bandimere Speedway, 3051 South Rooney Road in Morrison: The drag-racing event, a combination of competitions for street-legal vehicles, including cars and motorcycles, starts with time trials at 9:30 a.m. and eliminations at 1:30 p.m. The day's biggest event is a Sunoco King Street Series race with cash awards, but the most amusing might turn out to be the Smokiest Burnout Contest, a benefit for Bandimere's Race to Read literacy program. Gate admission is $12 (children ages twelve and under admitted free with a paying adult); the fee to participate is $30 to $35. Call 303-697-4870 or log on to www.bandimere.com.

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