Brewer’s Olympics & great music…Vine Street Block Party has it all!

Mid-September is a fantastic time to be in Denver, Colorado. Beautiful days, blue sky and loads of festivals all mark this remarkable change of seasons. One annual event that combines all that is great in Denver is the Uptown Neighborhood Block Party at Vine Street Pub. This Denver location of Boulder’s Mountain Sun empire brings together some of the best craft-beer makers and musicians to create an entire day of mayhem and music that is hard to beat.

The 2015 edition of festivities began with the “Brewer’s Olympics”, a multi-event challenge for teams of two from well-known local breweries. There were, of course, the die-hard regulars, returning champions and eager rookies all prepared to do battle for the coveted bragging rights that go to the victors. Just beneath the thinly veiled guise of silly costumes and sillier behaviors laid an aura of dogged competition that hung in the fresh air like a ominous fog. Each team had a plan. So were successful, some not so much. In the end it was the rookie team from Ratio Beerworks that won gold and bragging rights until the fall of 2016.

Once the street was cleared and congratulations were given, the record-breaking crowd was treated to music so good, it defined awesome. The Sixty Minute Men of Boulder opened and wowed with their unique and funky sounds of “original soul”. Their music was electric and energy amazing. The “Men” were followed by a closing act that rivaled any the Mountain Sun crew has been able to put together. Anchored by The Drunken Hearts, the ensemble welcomed Dave Johnston from Yonder Mountain String Band and Rob Eaton from Dark Star Orchestra. The results were amazing and the streets were shaking.

Once  again, The Neighborhood Block Party was a monumental success and reminds us that things are good in Denver. Sponsors USBank, Westword deserve a big hand for their support, as well as the volunteers and all of the participating breweries that donated their fine craft. All proceeds from the event benefitted New Era Colorado who remind us not only to register to vote but to get out and do it!

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Summer camp rules…..Avid4 Adventure adds a residence camp.

Avid4 Adventure, based out of Boulder, Colorado, provides age-appropriate outdoor experiences for very fortunate participants. Their mission:

To inspire life-long active outdoor lifestyles and environmental stewardship through experiences that provide personal development and memorable family adventures, while addressing the logistical needs of parents.”

Avid4 Adventure offers year-round opportunities for young people to explore new and  favorite activities. Instruction includes rock, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and outdoor education. Each activity is experienced in safe and fabulous surroundings.

The newest addition to Avid4’s incredible offerings will now include an unbelievable residence camp in conjunction with Windy Peaks Outdoor Education Laboratory School. One and two week sessions beginning in the summer of 2013 will provide campers education, experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. The camp is located at 8,00 feet near Bailey, Colorado.

Bring on the kids!

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Vine Street Pub turns 4…..a party on 4/20

Vine Street Pub in Denver celebrated its fourth anniversary by throwing a blow-out party on 4/20. Sunshine, lawn games, barbeque, and of course beer made for a fantastic afternoon for the large crowd. A great band, By All Means, rocked the house with super sounds and limitless energy until the sun set.

A fine selection of hand-crafted brews flowed with all proceeds benefiting Judi’s House, a non-profit that provides “hope and healing for grieving children”.

Rebound Rumble…..Show Ready Events presents the Colorado FIRST Robotics Competition

I recently had the opportunity to help Show Ready Events, a nationally recognized event planning and management company,  put on the FIRST Robotics Colorado Regional competition. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST creates unbelievable opportunities for teams of high school students, their mentors and sponsors to create and compete at an international level.

This year’s event was held at the DU Magnus Arena. The competition was baseball-themed where teams of three robots went head to head on a custom playing field that included baskets, balls and teeter-totters. The teams showed off an impressive array of skills, not only get to the event but also to make it through the rigors of the competition, which at time resembled a slightly organized smash-up derby.  The winners had the greatest combination of design, marketing, strategy, skill, and a bit of luck.

The event was a huge success and every team that made it to the event was a winner.

el Camino Community Tavern…..come in, it’s fun.

el Camino Community Tavern is a fantastic example of much more than a neighborhood mexican restaurant. It is an experience of great, locally sourced food, entertainment and, as the name suggests, community. Upon approach to this Highlands Neighborhood fixture, one can tell it is something special. The bright pink facade invites patrons in to a wonderful mix of art, style and setting that amazes.

The fare is Mexican but far from typical. Creative combinations, flavors and food sources make the selections both flavorful and memorable. Brunch on weekends feature flamenco guitar and Tacos “on” Tuesday cannot be missed.

el Camino is a great experience for all, whether stopping in for one of the many cervezas or dining out with the family, you will always feel welcomed and leave satisfied.

Preschool Art Show…..Auraria Early Learning Center does it again.

 

Recently we had the opportunity to attend the Auraria Early Learning Center’s Student Art Show. What a blast! There were cookies, drinks, music and more great art then could be imagined. Table upon table of fascinating creations from the very talented students who attend the school. The art show is just another of the amazing opportunities the children receive while attending these great programs.

Edge Restaurant & Bar…..Four Seasons Hotel, Denver

I was recently asked to photograph the staff of Edge Restaurant & Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel, Denver for their 2011 Holiday Card. The main shot was to take place in “The Chef’s Table private dining room”. This dining room is one of three private dining rooms in Edge and features a floor-to-ceiling wall of glass bringing the action of the kitchen to the dining table.

When I arrived the staff was putting the finishing touches on an overflowing table of vegetables, cheeses, fish and meats. It was literally a potpourri of ingredients for all desires of fine dining, including two live lobsters! The colors and shapes made for a wonderfully brilliant foreground. For a background element, another member of the kitchen staff tirelessly pored very flammable liquid on the kitchen’s custom grill creating awesome flames.

The shoot turned out to be loads of fun with a very animated crew of Chefs and Front of the House Managers. They are definitely a fun team that are not only extremely skilled at what they do but also know how to have a bit of fun.

Edge Restaurant & Bar is a Denver dining experience not to be missed. Everything on the menu, from soups to salads, seafood to Colorado ranched steaks, are second to none. The staff is professional, courteous and accommodating. The 21 day dry aged Buffalo Rib Eye with Chimichurri Sauce is a must try!

Chef Simon Purvis

General Manager, Alex Valencia

Certified Sommelier, Robert Davis