Is Denver Funville or Snoozetown? The government wants to know

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

But what happens in Denver? It's too boring to tell stories about anyway.

That's the impression that a Wednesday story in the Wall Street Journal may have left on readers. Headlined "Government Meeting? Stay Away From Fun City," the article was about how several large federal agencies, like the U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture, are avoiding cities with party reputations when they book conventions and meetings.

On the bad list: Reno, Orlando, Manhattan and Las Vegas.

On the No Fun list: "buttoned-down" cities like St. Louis, Milwaukee and Denver.

So is Denver zzzzzville?

"That is just the government's poor wording," says Rich Grant, spokesman for Visit Denver, the city's convention and visitors bureau. "It's not a matter of a place that's not fun. But that Denver has a reputation as a place that's good for doing business."

In fact, Grant points out that the article is good news, since it could mean more money for Denver from out-of-town visitors. "This is why the Honolulu Convention Center has always struggled," he says. "If you send four government employees to Honolulu for a meeting, it's a news story. If they go to Cleveland, it's not."

Yeah, but Rich, is Denver boring?

"We offer the best of both worlds. You can have the same experiences here that you can have in other places," he says. In January, the city will host 17,000 people, predominantly young men, for the SnowSports Trade Show, which is holding its annual convention outside of Vegas for the first time in thirty years.

To prepare, Visit Denver is filming scenes of where to party in the Mile High City. "I was at the Church last Friday at Midnight with a film crew and it looked like any one of a thousand scenes from a movie, but usually that movie is taking place in Las Vegas or New York," Grant says. "We will definitely give them a Vegas experience."

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes