Herd Mentality

This cowtown finally opens its streets to the CowParade.

Round 'em up and moo 'em out. For years, Denver looked on enviously as other cities around the globe hosted CowParades — or simply stole the basic idea and asked local artists to decorate totemic symbols that celebrated their town. Some cities went for horses, some crabs, some cowboy boots — but 25 stuck with the cow theme that debuted in Chicago in 1999 (and was itself lifted from a similar event in Zurich, Switzerland, the year before).

And now, after a few failed attempts to copy the concept, the ultimate cowtown is home to CowParade Denver 2006, with a hundred full-sized fiberglass heifers grazing their way across town, all decorated by local artists (with one, the BronCow, signed by John Lynch). "Each artist receives a $1,000 honorarium," explains Jeannie McFarland Johnson of Creative Strategies Group, the organization producing the event here. "It takes a big heart to take on such a project. Painting a cow is not easy. These are life-sized, and they have to deal with the curvature of the cow and the shape of the body. It's more challenging than painting a flat surface."

But these artists were clearly up to the challenge — as were the pint-sized Picassos who collaborated on sixteen "mini-moos" now hanging over Larimer Square. All of the sculptures will continue grazing outdoors — pasturelands are spread across downtown, as well as in Cherry Creek and at Stapleton — through October 18, then return to the barn for cleanup before half are auctioned off for charity at a fundraising gala at the National Western Stock Show Stadium on November 10. (The remaining cows will be auctioned off online through the end of the year.) For a complete guide to all cow locations, head to www.cowparade.com.
July 22-Oct. 18

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