Icing on the Marade

What's a parade - or marade, for that matter - without free stuff?

There was plenty of it today in Civic Center Park, the endpoint of the city's official Martin Luther King Day Marade. (For those of you who are wondering, in the grand tradition of the cockapoo -- half cocker spaniel, half poodle -- and the centaur, a marade is half march, half parade.) This year's featured free license plate holders, lollipops, drink cozies and oh, a cake the size of a man.

The Cake That Denver Breathed On.

Every year, King Soopers donates a giant sheet cake to the marade. This year, it was the size of eight full sheet cakes and decorated with three pictures of MLK, quotes from his speeches and red frosting roses. You could smell the sugar from three feet away. For hours, two brave volunteers from the city's parks and recreation staff guarded the cake from children's fingers, wayward camera straps and anything else that might have fallen from the sky as throngs of people hovered and marveled.

"Go get the camera!" one woman shouted. "I said, the camera! THE CAMERA! I WANT A PICTURE OF THIS CAKE!"

The cake was looking especially photogenic, too. Most years, it's covered with plastic. Anti-breathing, anti-finger plastic. Next year, said volunteer Ida Glanton, they're going to ask for the plastic back. "We don't want people sneezing on it," she explained.

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