How to survive...a long, hot summer

Thirteen weeks of quirky, offbeat, gloriously Colorado entertainment.

It's hot as hell, and you've got no AC. You have two choices: Sit at home and simmer in your own bodily fluids and damp T-shirt, or get out of town. The obvious question is, where? Glenwood or Ouray? Durango or Alamosa? There's just so much to do. Don't fret: We've got you covered with this week-by-week guide of what not to miss for summer 2005.

Week 1: June 9-15
Seventh Annual Breckenridge Sk8 Contest and Summer Jam,
Breckenridge, June 11

Hooligans, unite -- and head to the Breckenridge Recreation Center for some serious thrashing. Starting at 8 a.m., skate rats of all ages will compete in the annual SK8 Above 8,000 Feet Contest to see who has the gnarliest moves. It's the perfect place to challenge that preppy skater dude who stole your girlfriend to a showdown -- or watch your kid brother skin his knees (again). But if this weekend of boarding glory doesn't satisfy you, come back on July 16 for the U.S. Championships of Skateboard Racing. Rumor has it that the Z-Boys, inspiration for the new movie Lords of Dogtown, will be there. For more information, visit www.gobreckevents.com or call 1-970-453-1734.

Week 2: June 16-22
Telluride Bluegrass Festival,
Telluride, June 16-19

If you're an Americana-music junkie, then you'll be hitting all of Planet Bluegrass's summer events, no matter what we say. But for those who only need a night or two of banjo pickin' and mandolin strummin', don't miss the stellar Telluride Bluegrass Festival lineup. Wilco. Jewel. Emmylou Harris. Béla Fleck Acoustic Trio. Bobby McFerrin. Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon. Split Lip Rayfield. Yonder Mountain String Band. We could keep going. The gates open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, and the music doesn't stop until Alison Krauss and Union Station leave the stage at 11 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $175 for a four-day festival pass or $55 per day. For tickets and more information, visit www.planetbluegrass.com or call 303-823-0848.

Week 3: June 23-29
Apogaea, Happy Ass Ranch,
Lake George, June 24-26

Staged high in the mountains north of Colorado Springs, Apogaea is a more user-friendly version of the annual Burning Man Festival in northern Nevada. But it's still a visionary experiment in creativity and community, with theme camps, art installations, workshops, live performances and who knows what else. Along with your tents and stoves, pack your ideas, crazy projects and anything you may require to survive from noon on Friday until dusk on Sunday: Apogaea operates on a barter economy, which means there won't be a damn thing for sale. (Don't say we didn't warn you.) Fortunately, the people themselves are very free. (Don't say we didn't warn you.) But plan early: Only 300 people will be admitted to the camp, so you'll need a ticket in advance. For more information, visit www.apogaea.com.

Week 4: June 30-July 6
Eggfest 2005,
Colorado Alligator Farm,
Mosca, July 2-4

Who knew that July is egg-laying season for hot-springs Colorado alligators? Surely not us -- but it sounds like a hell of a reason to celebrate. Head down to Mosca, just north of Alamosa, for the Colorado Alligator Farm's annual Eggfest, where you can watch alligator wranglers check nests for eggs, wrestle nesting females (the meanest gators of them all) and remove eggs for incubation. When you've had your fill of viewing near-death experiences, check out the egg race or egg toss, and chow down on an alligator burrito for lunch. One weekend of gators not enough for you? Come back August 6 and 7 for Gatorfest X, the world's only alligator rodeo. And if your balls are big enough, you might consider signing up for a gator-wrestling class. For more information, visit www.coloradogators.com or call 1-719-378-2612.

Week 5: July 7-13
Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Crested Butte,
July 11-17

Wildflower lovers of the world, flock to the official Wildflower Capital of Colorado for the annual Wildflower Festival. Choose from a range of photography workshops, hikes, walks, four-by-four tours, horseback rides, wagon rides, bicycle rides, art workshops, slide shows and classes on everything you ever wanted to know about wildflowers. You'll learn to identify them, plant them and cook with them, even how to create natural medicines with them. Sign up in advance at www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com.

Week 6: July 14-20
Dreamtime Festival,
Paonia, July 14-18

An interactive, grassroots, futuristic hoe-down, the Dreamtime Festival brings artists, teachers, dancers, fire spinners and 24-hour-party people together for three days. This will be the fourth year that Dreamtime has transformed the small Western Slope town of Paonia with multimedia art installations, DJs and live music, along with a range of workshops as eclectic as the Dreamers themselves. Past workshop topics include dream interpretation, bio-diesel, mask-making and improv. Where else can you learn to walk on stilts, do group yoga, go to a dance party and sit around a campfire in the same afternoon? For more information and tickets, visit www.dreamthefuture.org.

Week 7: July 21-27
Cummins Rocky Mountain Truck Fest, Bandimere Speedway,
Morrison, July 24

You don't have to be a redneck to love the racetrack. On a summer evening, there are few things better than fast cars, loud music and cold beer. And it's absolute perfection if the hotrods are actually semis duking it out for king of the road. Now, that's a sight to behold. Check it out at the annual Cummins Rocky Mountain Truck Fest, where the big rigs (sans trailers, damn it!) demonstrate what's under their hoods. There's even a smokiest-burnout contest. The event revs up at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit www. bandimere.com or call 303-697-6001.

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