This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, September 8At a time when Hurricane Katrina's gut-wrenching aftermath drives home the value of service to others, you can find an outlet for your concerns at the tenth annual 16th Street Mall Volunteer Fair, taking place today during the lunch hour along 16th Street in downtown Denver. Hosted by Metro Volunteers!, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting willing people with dozens of opportunities in the region, the fair gives representatives from more than 100 service organizations a chance to hand out information on volunteer positions in myriad environments. Take your pick of work related to children, animals, education, environment, emergency services and more. Search the possibilities from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; for more information, call 303-282-1234 or go to www.metrovolunteers.org.

Friday, September 9Tonight's Art Shares 2005party in the ArtDistrict on Santa Fe Drive offers art lovers an intimate look at the street's burgeoning band of galleries while helping more than 100 Colorado charities funded by Community Shares of Colorado. The event combines guided gallery tours with a gala reception offering music, food and drink, to provide visitors with First Friday-style atmosphere amped up by that good old spirit of giving. Tours start at 6 p.m. at the Museo de las Américas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, and travel the street between Fifth and Tenth avenues; for tickets, $25, call 303-861-7507 or visit http://cshares.org.

Seventeen highly photogenic hunks and hotties will take a break from their usual work -- risking life and limb to douse fearsome flames -- to attend tonight's 2006 Colorado Firefighters Calendar Debut Party, a Fired Up for Kids fundraiser for the Children's Hospital Burn Center. The select specimens of firefightin' flesh, who were chosen from a field of more than 100 competitors to appear in this year's charity calendar, will sign copies of the finished product and participate in a bachelor/bachelorette auction from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Market 41, 1941 Market Street. For tickets, $10 in advance/$15 at the door ($50 for VIP tix), call 720-318-4199 or log on to www.firedupforkids.org.

Along with celebrating forty years of service as an environmental watchdog organization, the Colorado Environmental Coalition 40th Anniversary Gala will honor former senator Tim Wirth, who was instrumental in preserving more than a million acres of Colorado wilderness during his senatorial term, and his wife, Wren, tonight at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. The event, which includes dinner and dessert along with words from the Wirths and Mayor John Hickenlooper, begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $50; call 303-534-7066, extension 1503 or 1506, or go to www.ourcolorado.org.

Saturday, September 10What the heck is a paleocuisineologist? Strike those visions of stegosaurus steaks from your mind: Self-proclaimed paleocuisineologist Mary Gunderson, who's made a career of the work (and even trademarked the term), is merely a scholar who's equally fascinated by history and food. Through her History Cooks company, Gunderson has published numerous books specializing in culinary history, most notably The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark: Recipes for an Expedition, which includes such handy Great Plains road-food recipes as William Clark's Birthday Fruit Salad and Buffalo, Turnip and Berry Ragout. Gunderson gives a presentation on the book, Take a Bite: Foods That Fueled the Lewis & Clark Expedition, today at 10:30 a.m. in the B2 Conference Center downstairs at the Denver Central Library, as part of the DPL's Fresh City Life series. The library is at 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; admission is free, but advance registration is recommended. Call 720-865-1206 or visit www.denver.lib.co.us/programs/ fresh/index.html.

For some, a chance to contribute to arts education will be just a short walk from home -- at the corner bar -- during a one-shot blitz of Colorado Alliance for Arts Education Fundraisers being held simultaneously tonight at comfy neighborhood spots from 7 to 9 p.m. Events include a Wines of the World tasting event at the Elm, 5001 East Colfax Avenue; a South of the Border Samplings tequila-tasting and margarita workshop at the Rita Room, 3961 Tennyson Street; and Beer Tastings and Bar Tricks at Wyman's No. 5, 2037 East 13th Avenue. Admission to each event is $15; for reservations, e-mail dinac@artsedcolorado.org or call 303-778-9374.

Sunday, September 11Black-tie attire won't be the least bit necessary at this gala: The Four Mile Fling, a Western-style fundraising dinner for Denver's urban citadel of living history, Four Mile Historic Park, isn't your usual dinner/dance in a hotel ballroom. Instead, partyers will hear live period music from Hit & Run Bluegrass and stories from old-fashioned yarn-spinners, participate in a buffalo-chip toss, and roast marshmallows over an open fire as the sun goes down, all in the rustic shelter of the park's famous folksy ambience. Four Mile is at 715 South Forest Street, near the banks of Cherry Creek; admission, $100, benefits park educational programs. For information, call 303-331-5646 or log on to www.fourmilepark.org.

Monday, September 12Don't know which end of a golf club is down, but still have a way with your wallet? At the Spend to Send a Kid to Camp Boutique, held in conjunction with today's YMCA Golf for Kids Tournament at Pinehurst Country Club, non-golfers can put their money where their swings aren't by shopping for goods -- including everything from handbags to kids' clothing -- from boutique-style vendors. Admission is $10, and an additional 5 percent of every purchase helps fund summer-camp scholarships. Enjoy refreshments and shop from 1 to 5 p.m. at the club, 6255 West Quincy Avenue; for reservations, call 720-524-2714.

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