Get Your Ukes

Denver Urban Gardens, a literal grassroots organization, was founded 25 years ago to help start and support community gardens in diverse neighborhoods across the city. The quarter-century anniversary of this group is reason enough to celebrate — but today, DUG will also break ground on its hundredth community garden at Ruby Hill Park. Along with the garden, the southwest Denver park, with its famous scenic view of downtown, is undergoing improvements that include a beefed-up stretch of the Sanderson Gulch Trail, a new playground and an event pavilion.

To mark the occasion, DUG and Denver Parks and Recreation are co-hosting Flourish!, a free festival that runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. In addition to the garden groundbreaking, the family-friendly fun includes a local chefs’ competition and live performances presented by Swallow Hill Music Association, with such national folk acts as Patty Larkin and Lucy Kaplansky. And at 1 p.m., Swallow Hill will offer the World’s Largest Ukulele Lesson, a musical lark intended to raise awareness of the school’s Ukes for Youth program. But Chip Herter, spokesman for Swallow Hill, says the organization is serious about wanting this lesson to truly be the world’s largest — which means it will have to break the current record of 851 participants.

So while Swallow Hill is encouraging folks to bring their own ukes and join in, the organization will also have ukuleles on hand for those who come empty-handed. And for the price of a ticket to next February’s Swallow Hill UkeFest, participants can keep the instruments after they’ve learned to strum. “Some people will walk away with the uke at the end of day,” Herter says, “but we’ll still have done our jobs. As long as 852 people show up and play, we’ll be happy.”

Ruby Hill is at 150l West Jewell Avenue. For more information, go to
Sat., Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 2010

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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