What started fifteen years ago as a simple farmers' market has evolved into a flourishing hub for the Denver community, thanks to the Civic Center Conservancy, a local nonprofit working to activate Denver's historic Civic Center Park. The Conservancy, which is a beneficiary of the Westword Music Showcase, hosts weekly events that start in April and run through October in Civic Center Park.
"It's a diverse community, and so we provide a diverse range of programs," says the organization's executive director, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent.
The nonprofit's major program is Civic Center Eats, which runs May 2 through October 5 and showcases dozens of local food trucks every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. "We needed to give people a compelling reason to come here," says Lent. "And the most compelling reason is food."
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The program initially started as a farmers' market where Denver residents could shop for fresh local ingredients, but it shifted its focus to food trucks. "People who work in the area want lunch, not a sack of potatoes they have to take home," Lent notes. Westword is a presenting sponsor of Civic Center Eats.
The Civic Center Conservancy also hosts Civic Center Moves. These free events take place every week, Monday through Thursday, and include programs that range from yoga to full-body conditioning. You can even find pamphlets with a map and color-coded paths that tell you how many steps it takes to walk different routes through the park.
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Later this summer, Civic Center Conservancy will host Independence Eve, an event that includes a free concert and fireworks the night before the Fourth of July, as well as three free movies, Back to the Future, The Blues Brothers and Jurassic World, on August 2, 9 and 16, respectively.
In addition to providing Denver residents with great food and activities, the programs activate the park, helping make this historic spot safe. Lent says empty public spaces lead to criminal activity, which is one reason bringing new energy to the park is so important for Denver.
Because Civic Center Park is at the heart of Denver, just blocks from the site of the Westword Music Showcase, the Conservancy will receive a portion of the proceeds from the Showcase. You can do your bit for the organization, too, by volunteering at the Westword Music Showcase on June 24. Not only will you get free admission, but you'll be helping the Civic Center Conservancy.
Find information on volunteering, as well as the full lineup of artists performing at the Showcase, online at westwordshowcase.com.