Thrills for the week

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On the other hand, more than a few people religiously mark their calendars every year for the return of the Capitol Hill People's Fair, an open-air Denver tradition as fundamental to the season as lemonade, watermelon and a dip in the old swimmin' hole. The ever-growing and always-changing extravaganza this year includes a cornucopia of live entertainment on six stages, a National Trail Days Expo for outdoorsy types, a newly expanded children's area with all manner of activities for kids, arts and crafts vendors as far as the eye can see, and every kind of street food and drink imaginable to whet your appetite and your whistle. Taking place at Civic Center Park, Colfax Ave. at Broadway, the fest is open to the public from 10 to 7 today and 10 to 6 tomorrow; for details, call the fair hotline at 517-FAIR.

At a loss for words: A time-honored and refurbished Five Points nightspot, the Casino Cabaret continues to deliver a barrage of top-flight entertainment, with upbeat jazz master Ramsey Lewis sitting down at the keyboards tonight at 9. Lewis--best known for instrumental hits such as "Wade in the Water" and "The In Crowd"--will also be on hand for a VIP reception at 7; tickets are $30 general admission, or $37.50 including the pre-concert event. The Casino Cabaret, which offers valet parking and easy proximity to light rail, is located at 2637 Welton St.; call 830-TIXS to purchase tickets in advance.

June 8
Pace-makers: Are you ready to run with the big shots? They're ready to run with you. Join Denver Broncos alumni Robert "Red" Miller, Claudie Minor and Haven Moses, along with Denver Nugget LaPhonso Ellis and a slew of media personalities, for Race With the Stars, a benefit event for the Rocky Mountain Stroke Association taking place this morning in Washington Park. A 5K run, 5K walk and half-mile Stride for Stroke fun walk get started between 8:30 and 10 a.m.; entry fees range from $12 to $20. For more information call 730-8800.

An evening in the park with Ron: There's more than one park in town. Imagine serene Ferril Lake, the swaying trees, the setting sun, picnic fare, waggish mutts, giggling children, exquisite jazz--and you. When City Park Jazz gets under way tonight at 7 for another summer of free evening concerts at the park bandstand, there's no better place to park yourself. Trumpeter Ron Miles, one of our area's best, leads his combo through challenging changes while life drifts hazily on around him. Expect other local favorites, from Laura Newman to Joe Keel and the Action Orchestra, to show up at future dates; the series continues through July 4.

June 9
A Tiger by the tail: Football, soccer, baseball, hockey--all things of the past. Thanks to the inspirational success of Tiger Woods, the kids all want to tee off instead. And now they can. Novice golf moms, pack up your mini-vans with clubs, cleats and twelve-to-seventeen-year-olds and drive them off to the Boulder County Optimist Junior Golf Challenge, commencing with a shotgun start this morning at 7 at Lake Valley Golf Course, 4400 Lake Valley Drive in Longmont. Entry fees are $20 in advance ($25 after June 7); winners in boys' and girls' categories will go on to June 30 district championships in Castle Rock. For details call 444-0036.

June 10
The plot thickens: Summer page-turners, get in line. The Tattered Cover Book Store in Cherry Creek hosts An Evening of Mystery Writers tonight, featuring a couple of literary thrillers well-suited to an afternoon poolside bakeoff. First up at 5:30 p.m. is Nelson DeMille, whose new whodunit, Plum Island, finds NYPD homicide detective John Corey investigating mysterious happenings on Long Island.

Stephen Cannell, whom most of us know as the creator of such action-packed television hits as The Rockford Files and The A-Team, follows at 7:30 with his comic thriller King Con. The story pits master con man Beano X against Mafia boss Joe "Dancer" Rina, with help from federal prosecutor "Tricky Vicky" Hart--and no help from the con-founding Bates family. We pity the fool who doesn't make it to this book signing. The Tattered Cover is at 2955 E. First Ave.; for more information call 322-7727.

June 11
Garden bounty: A visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St., in summer can be so much more than a tramp among some of the best flowers in town. During Wednesday night Sunset Garden Strolls, from 6 to 8 p.m. weekly tonight through August 27, you can also enjoy live music, food by Pour la France!, a cappuccino or the contents of your own picnic basket in the waning sun. Stroll admission is $3 to $5 (children five and under free). Early risers who are at their best at the crack of dawn can get in on an even better deal: The DBG also sponsors free Tuesday morning Sunrise Fitness Walks weekly from 7 to 8:30 a.m., through Aug. 26. Call 370-8187.

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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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