The Golden-based Independence Institute believes in protecting an individual's right to do just about whatever bat-shit-crazy thing that individual wants to do -- including shooting, smoking and drinking. But since this is also a sadly responsible organization, it strongly suggests shooting first, drinking later. Every June, it gathers the faithful to an ATF party, where participants shoot at clay pigeons (not liberals, contrary to common belief), then retire to a luncheon where they can blow smoke -- through both speechifying and cigars -- and indulge in some alcoholic beverages. Vice is nice.
Anyone who's been to one of Geeks Who Drink's seventeen weekly pub quizzes knows that quizmasters John Dicker and Joel Peach have created something far bigger than your average trivia night. They've got a gang situation on their hands, a mobile army of adoring geeks ravenous for a cerebral smack-down. That hunger reached horrific proportions this past February at the first annual Geek Bowl, where 38 teams competed for over $1,400 in prizes. The six-hour orgy of trivia saw fifteen people badly injured, a rip-roaring domestic dispute and one guy violently shivved in a bathroom stall. Okay, we can't confirm any of that. But damn it, the intensity of these trivia hounds just feels gang-like. Don't turn your back on the geekstas.
There's something so satisfying about the perfect outfit. And if that outfit happens to coordinate with one's pet well, you don't see that every day. You can, however, see it once a year at Mutts & Models, the annual benefit for Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital. Featuring local celebrities rocking Saks Fifth Avenue couture and classed-out canines in complementary attire -- plus both silent and live auctions and a cocktail bar -- the event benefits the largest non-profit veterinary hospital in Colorado and helps support low-cost spay and neuter services. That's a reason to let the dogs out.
For budding fashionistas, nothing beats a paper doll. They're cheap, they come with an entire wardrobe of two-dimensional clothes, and if you're talented enough, you can make your own outfits. The Art Directors Club of Denver sees no reason to outlaw paper as a fabric substitute, and its Paper Runway Fashion Show showcases more than thirty unusual yet chic designs. A fundraiser for worthy causes (this year's beneficiary was Downtown Aurora Visual Arts), the event highlights a collection that's over-the-top, all paper, all wearable and all fabulous, dahling.
They like to keep it quiet down on Main Street in Littleton, but every October, downtown businesses and the locals gather the Pumpkin Follies and Goat Show, one of the most daft -- and clever -- Halloween parties on the planet. The two-day event begins with a goat-stew dinner and festive crowning of Follies royalty, and continues the next day with a shopping-cart parade and mass Snap-N-Pop drop. There are also belly dancers, jugglers, accordion-playing chickens and general mayhem. The best part? All the Pumpkin Poles -- pumpkin-based art installations with themes ranging from the Peanuts to Harry Potter -- that grace the street for days to come. Except for the public art left behind, a hush falls back over Bleat Street when all is said and done.
Buntport Theater Company
Courtesy Buntport Theater Facebook page
As if tRUNks, Buntport Theater's ongoing live-theater serial for young people, weren't already the best thing to happen to Denver kids since chocolate milk, imagine what a great birthday party could be built around a performance. Reserve in advance with troupe ringleader Jessica Robblee, bring your own cake, and you'll not only get to enjoy a fast-paced and silly episode with goofy superheroes the Germ, the Tongue Twister, the Volt and the Cute, but afterward, you'll meet with the cast for theater games. The only downside? If your birthday falls between June and October, you're out of luck: tRUNks goes on hiatus for the summer.
Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
What could be more brilliant than a free night at the Children's Museum? Catch some quality time with the kids from 4 to 8 p.m. every first Tuesday of the month, when the museum hosts guided play throughout the building and special literacy-building storytimes for children and their busy parents. The sponsor, Target, has hit the bull's-eye.
Larimer Square
For one weekend each June, Larimer Square becomes a giant canvas for chalk artists. Mimicking the street painting of sixteenth-century Renaissance Italy, dozens apply to the Larimer Arts Association for permission to create their masterpiece on some of Denver's highest-rent asphalt. The lucky are selected on a first-come, first-served basis; all materials are provided, and participation is free. It's also free to watch, and a stroll at dusk through this urban festival is one of the year's most perfect nights in Denver. Just don't tell anyone you're a cheap date.
Last year's inaugural SunStock music festival was R.C. Griffin Jr.'s effort to give acoustic rockers a place to showcase their musical stylings, a place that anyone could access free. A place to spread the love. The only rules were leave nothing but footprints, and hug someone at the festival and express your love. The music-makers at Clement Park included Wendy Woo and a host of other locals. What's not to love?
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
It's rare that rain and concerts go well together. But at Red Rocks, the rain makes a beautiful backdrop. From the concrete seats, listeners get a view of clouds gathering over downtown Denver, and bands often keep playing while everyone watches the lightning strike in the background. Getting stuck in the rain at a concert sucks, but there's always a silver lining at Red Rocks.

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