One of Denver's better cultural values--not to mention a great way to while away a summer evening--is Theater in the Park, which returns tonight to the open-air Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park at Broadway and Colfax. Show up with a picnic in tow, and you'll be treated to a performance of the Birdman Productions comedy Sports Talk 2000, beginning at 8 (and continuing nightly through Saturday). The Golden Eagle Brass Band makes music Saturday at 4:30, Trouble Clef Productions contributes three performances of the drama Nine on July 29, 30 and 31, and the Shwayder Theatre's Mizel Children's Theater wraps it all up August 1 with performances of Androcles and the Lion at 5:30 and 8. All Theater in the Park events are free; call 303-770-2106.
Or, if you're the type who just begins to perk up when evening breezes cool the day, put on your running togs and throw in your hat for the annual One Step Closer Twilight 5K Walk/Run benefit for Food Bank of the Rockies, taking place at 6:30 p.m. in City Park. Post-race, the free Party in the Park offers healthy burgers, fruit, sodas and beer; entry fees range from $12 to $22 (or $225 to $275 for ten-person corporate teams). For information, call 303-371-9250.
Help our growing family of public parks welcome a couple of newcomers this morning from 9 to 11 by joining Rod Lister of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation for a Denver's Newest Parks Tour of two new green spaces--Commons and Cuernavaca parks--located right among the city's oldest Platte Valley haunts. The Colorado Historical Society-sponsored tour will include a dash of historical background, along with the inevitable pleasant views; a fee of $10 ($8 for CHS members) will be charged. For reservations call 303-866-4686.
It's hard, after all these years, to imagine a Denver without the Swallow Hill Music Association, which has been providing the city with a folksy soundtrack (and a smashing music school) for more than twenty years. But lucky for us all, we don't have to imagine that: Swallow Hill keeps on growing while sticking to a comfortable ethos that's always worked. This weekend, the organization will have a chance to show off its spacious new digs during the annual Swallow Hill Folkathon, a wonderful celebration and fundraiser with lots of live music, storytelling, folk arts and food for the whole family. It all begins tonight with a kickoff concert at 8, featuring such venue regulars as Carla Sciaky, the Swallow Hill Blues Revue, Reel Women and Chiminimani; tickets are $13 ($11 for members). Tomorrow, the festival itself unfolds from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on seven stages scattered throughout the building and in tents outdoors; admission for the entire day is $6 ($1 kids eighteen and under). The Swallow Hill Music Hall is at 71 E. Yale; call 303-777-1003.
Adults are welcome--well, necessary--but kids are required at KidSpree, Aurora's sprawling annual festival for kids that includes an endless myriad of activities and entertainment tailored to fascinate, stimulate and amuse children of all ages. Here's a taste of what you'll find there: an Artstacle Course, a big bubble booth, the Colorado Clowns, the world's largest peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, a dress-up stage, a Funnoodle Sculpture Garden, a Kids Karaoke stage and a hands-on Sport Court. Kidspree takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bicentennial Park, Alameda Ave. and Potomac St., Aurora; for details call 303-478-KIDS or log on to www.ci.aurora.co.us.
Kids with an equine fixation will also enjoy the Hands-On Horses Festival, a family-oriented event where you can see over twenty breeds firsthand, watch trained horses go through their paces, have your picture taken with a celebrity horse, go for a ride or simply pat a pony's nose: It all takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow at High Prairie Farms Equestrian Center, 7522 Pinery Parkway, South Parker, in conjunction with the Colorado Summer Classic Grand Prix event at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is $10 per carload (the additional Grand Prix admission of $5 to $10 is half-price for festival-goers); call 303-841-5550 for information.
You can ogle a horse of a different feather at the Rocky Mountain Ostrich Festival, an annual féte celebrating everything ostrich, from live ostrich-chick hatchings to an obvious denouement--ostrich fajitas, burgers and brats served at the Taste of Ostrich eatery. In between, you can watch the speedy avians race while you eat, drink and are educated; proceeds benefit the Vector Foundation and the Missing Children's Task Force. Catch the fest--if you can (ostriches are pretty speedy)--from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, exit 181 off I-25, Castle Rock; admission ranges from $1 to $3 (children under five free). Call 303-790-7070 or log on to www.ostrichraces.com.
Several metro-area historical museums will join forces this weekend for Gardens Through Time: A Historic House and Garden Tour focusing on how things were, domestically, in days-gone-by. Victorian gardens, wagon rides, historical characters, a look at antique gardening tools and pin-doll-making demos are just a few examples of what you'll find from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow at the Byers-Evans House, 1310 Bannock St.; the Denver Museum of Dolls, Toys and Miniatures, 1880 Gaylord St.; Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.; the Lakewood Heritage Center, 797 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood; and the Littleton Historical Museum, 6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton. Tickets, which can be purchased in advance at any of the participating locations, are $5 to $10 (children under five free); call 303-620-4933.
It used to be the GNU Mountain Jam, but it'll hereafter be known as The Charles: The annual fundraiser for Boulder County community radio station KGNU has been renamed to honor late bluegrass guitarist Charles Sawtelle, who served as the event's music director for several years before his death in March. The Charles Sawtelle GNU Mountain Jam, featuring music by Ronnie and Robbie McCoury, Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore and other acoustic-music notables, takes place from noon to 5 at the Gold Hill Inn, up Sunshine Canyon from Boulder, where beer and barbecue will be served for a reasonable price. Admission is $15 ($10 KGNU members); call 303-449-4885 or log on to www.kgnu.org.
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The Tattered Cover Autographed Book Club's July author Niall Williams does his duty when he reads from and signs copies of As It Is in Heaven, a poignant love story set in small-town Ireland, tonight at 7:30 at the T.C.'s Cherry Creek flagship. A classic summer read, the novel balances just the right amounts of magic and sentiment; for more information on the club call 303-322-1965, ext. 2374. The Tattered Cover is at 2955 E. 1st Ave.; call 303-322-7727.
Tonight's Fly by Night at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is anything but--the event, featuring an auction, fortune-telling and live music by pianist Art Lande and Boulder band Fat Mama, borrows its fishing theme from the current BMoCA show, Confluence: Art and the Trout Fly, and will send successful bidders off with everything from an exotic fly to an angler's mountain getaway. Proceeds from the event, 7 to 11 p.m. at BMoCA, 1750 13th St., Boulder, benefit the museum and the Colorado Breast Cancer Coalition; admission is $25 ($20 members). Call 303-443-2122 or log on to www.bmoca.org.
A perennial favorite with the feminine soul-searching set, British singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading satisfies like a warm cup of coffee. She'll bring her rich voice, robust guitar-playing and evocative, personal tunes to the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., tonight at 8; for tickets, $25, call 303-830-TIXS.
Tone deaf? That's no reason to miss tonight's Shady Grove Picnic Concert, a weekly event sponsored each Wednesday during the summertime by the Swallow Hill Music Association. Though entertainer Christopher Maier is a trained flamenco dancer and will incorporate the genre's torrid rhythms into his bilingual show, he's also a skilled storyteller, which is something everyone can appreciate. Maier performs at 6:30 p.m. at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.; admission is $1 to $3. Call 303-777-1003.