Ever wonder what true cowboys do at Christmas? Well, then, grab your ten-gallon hat and git on down to A Chuckwagon Christmas at the Flying W Ranch (3330 Chuckwagon Road in Colorado Springs), where folks gather 'round a pot-bellied stove in the bunkhouse, eat off tin plates and share yarns about bears coming out of hibernation to steal the Flying W's signature biscuits. The resident cowpokes have decorated their Western Town all purdy-like, and rumor has it that Santa himself might even swing by and set a spell.
Visitors will have to loosen their belts a few notches when the ranch rustles up its supper of barbecued beef or chicken, baked beans and those grizzly-bear-approved buns; in the meantime, the Flying W Wranglers will sing the classic cowboy carols they've been crooning since 1953. "Christmas has always been a special time for cowboys on the ranch," drawls the Flying W's Bob Roose, "and we just want to keep alive that spirit of the Old West."
A Chuckwagon Christmas is a family-friendly show; no alcohol is served. (The Flying W's regular dinner show, on the other hand, offers a fully stocked, 125-year-old bar to belly up to.)
And the dress code at the Flying W?
"Why, blue jeans and boots, of course," says the boss.
The doors open at 4 p.m. for A Chuckwagon Christmas, with wassail flowing; dinner is served at 5, and the entertainment starts at 6. Admission, $23/$10 for kids eight and under, includes a visit to Western Town, dinner, the Christmas show, tax and tip. Reservations are required; to make yours, call 1-800-232-FLYW or visit www.flyingw.com. -- Kity Ironton
Artists' Swap keeps supplies handy
"We're trying to be an alternative to the Wal-Marts of the world," says Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, one of the owners of Pod & Capsule, 554 Santa Fe Drive. The shop and connecting gallery, which feature artwork, clothing and zines created by local artists, is off to a good start with its Artists' Swap Meet, which takes place every third Saturday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. The event is an opportunity for professional and amateur artists to trade unused and extra supplies; last month's offerings included paints, screen-printing supplies, paper pulp, buttons, pens, rubber stamps and bingo balls.
The exchange is just that: No money changes hands. Murphy, who came up with the idea while cleaning out her supply closet, sees it as a great way for "notoriously poor" artists to gain access to nearly free materials while getting rid of things they don't need. She also hopes the swap will become a venue for networking and inspiration: "I wanted people to have a chance to trade not just materials, but ideas and connections."
For information, call 303-623-3460. -- Caroline Bankoff