March is a tricky bitch, especially here in Denver. Sure, other parts of the country will see significant swings in weather in the month of March, and Colorado is known for a seriously random weather element almost any time of the year — but March is notorious for alternating between snow, springtime and snow again. Rain, snow, ice, sun, shorts weather one day, parkas and plows the next. Anything goes in Denver in March.
That's why much of March and what it has to offer happens inside, because the smart bet in March is to hold your cards until May. So how does one survive a Mile High March? Here are ten things to consider as you’re biding your time — and a few ways to kick up your springtime heels.
The good news is that the snow is stopping. Bad news is that your car is under there.
Daniel Spiess at Flickr
10. Realize the Odds
Okay, it’s not guaranteed that we’ll have a big snow in March, but it’s statistically more likely in March than in any other month. And it’s not just the snow totals involved — it’s the snow itself, which is likely to be wet and heavy and able to break limbs, down power lines, even collapse roofs. Don’t worry about trying to prep now — if you haven’t had your dead branches trimmed yet, it’s probably too late. Maybe try prayer. Or shaking the snow off your trees in the middle of a storm. Or finding a four-leaf clover, which may do no good whatsoever, but at least it’s seasonal.
9. Make Plans at the 61st RV Sports and Travel Show
Ignore, if you will, the irony inherent in holding a huge outdoor-recreation event indoors — from March 2-5 at the National Western Complex, to be specific. But maybe your idea of camping is driving a motor home out to the woods and then playing Xbox in air-conditioned comfort on a couch with a slightly different view out the window. Then you’re my kind of camper. There are things at the show for those who embrace nature a bit more directly, as well.
8. Start Tuning Up the Bike
But do it in your garage, or if you don’t have a garage, in the house. Sure, you might catch a sunny afternoon when you could do it in your front yard, and even a few days when you could take it for a ride without thick snow tires and head-shaking glares from all the white-knuckled drivers in the lane behind you trying to stop without making you a hood ornament. For March, stick to the tuneup.
7. Sing Along at Charlie Brown’s
Whether or not it’s too cold to go out during the day, it’s going to be too cold to go out at night — or at least that’s what you can tell yourself when you belly up to the piano bar at the classic and inimitable Charlie Brown’s, where the ivories are still tickled, where the wood paneling still tells the stories of countless cigarettes, where the food is good and the drinks are strong and every song is worth singing out loud.
6. Know that Green Doesn’t Mean Go
It sounds like a riddle: When is a green light not a green light? The answer, here in Denver, is March. That’s when green doesn’t mean go; it means stop, look both ways and make sure there’s no one sliding unexpectedly through the intersection after hitting their brakes too late and inadvertently skidding into the intersection. (Or — as some drivers do — taking the opportunity to run a red when the roads are slick, because that's safer than slamming on your brakes, right?)
Keep reading for more rules for March in Denver.
5. See Basquiat Before Basquiat
The always-amazing Denver Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a show dedicated to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work in 1979-1980, when he lived with a friend in the East Village of New York City before he became the artistic name he was destined to become. It’s as much a love song to the city and the era as the artist himself, and worth the trip downtown.
4. Drink Up at Collaboration Fest
March, as our own Jonathan Shikes has pointed out, is yet another peculiarly strong month for beer and brewing in Denver. The jewel in the beer crown of March is Collaboration Fest, held at the National Western Complex on March 25, where over 100 beers made by over 150 breweries working together will be on display. There’s music and food, too — but really, beer is enough, isn’t it? Yes. The answer is always yes.
3. Start Strong with Keggs & Eggs
Speaking of beer and music, one of the traditions of March is Keggs & Eggs, the early-morning tradition sponsored by 93.3 KTCL now in its twelfth year and still going strong. This year, the event is hosted by Blake Street Tavern, and the lineup consists of American Authors, Bishop Briggs and Bryce Fox — not to mention the most starkly honest advocacy of day drinking that one will find — even on St. Patrick’s Day. Start early, stay strong, and don’t forget the eggs. Lay a foundation, people. The day is long, and as long as we remain conscious, it is ours.
2. Take in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Yes, it’s early (9:30 is early, right?), but since you’ll already be at Keggs & Eggs, you can head right over to one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S. and celebrate the green with the rest of the city. You don’t have to march, you don’t have to sing, you don’t even have to drink. But all of that helps. Mainly the drinking.
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1. Trust Nothing
You know the old saying: In like a lion, out like a lamb. Or vice versa. Whatever. For Denver, March can come in like a lion and go out like another lion after a series of additional lions. Or it could be all lamb all the time, just out of spite. One sure thing: As soon as you think you have March’s number, March will prove to you that, in fact, you do not.