Like Washington Park, Ruby Hill Park boasts more than 80 acres of public space—but it gets only a fraction of the visitors. In 2008, Denver Parks and Recreation set out to change that, adding playground equipment, picnic tables, and a mountain bike terrain park to help transform the underdeveloped knoll into a community gathering place. The last stage of the renovation project wraps up this month with the opening of the Levitt Pavilion, an outdoor amphitheater funded by the nonprofit Levitt Foundation that will host 30 free concerts—many featuring Colorado artists—in 2017. (Don’t miss the opening-night performance by three Denver-based outfits: rock group Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, country band Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams, and Americana ensemble Andy Thomas’ Dust Heart.) The venue will also support the surrounding neighborhood through BandStart, a new outreach program created in partnership with Great Divide Brewing Co. to give Ruby Hill elementary students free music lessons through Swallow Hill Music. The hope is that someday those kids can play on Ruby Hill’s stage themselves.
Katica Roy has never been persecuted. But she can’t say the same for her family: Roy’s father and three eldest sisters escaped Hungary after its 1956 revolution and were among 21 refugees flown to safety in the United States. So when Denver’s Isabella Bird Community School, which Roy’s two children attend, was tagged with hate graffiti last fall, the 43-year-old Stapleton resident grew uneasy. “I just knew I had to do something to stem the tide of division and bias that created the graffiti in the first place,” Roy says. In March, she co-founded the Brave Coalition, an organization that advocates for inclusivity among youth and works to combat stereotypes through book clubs, film screenings, and call-to-action sessions. Join Roy and her fellow crusaders at the Stanley Marketplace for a screening of Surviving Skokie, a documentary about Holocaust survivor Jack Adler and the events that almost led to a neo-Nazi march in a small Illinois town in the late 1970s.
During Paddles Up, a History Colorado–sponsored canoe trip ($354 to $484) from July 8 to 10, novice paddlers can travel 26 flat miles on the Colorado River while Fort Lewis College history and environmental studies professor Andy Gulliford shares tales of 19th-century settlers who had a much more difficult time braving the state’s namesake waterway.
As longtime residents of the Pikes Peak region, artists Wendy Mike and De Lane Bredvik have witnessed the devastation that comes with wildfires and floods. Yet they’ve also watched their communities find the strength to rebuild, a motif that runs throughout their Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center installation, Ragnarök. (The name comes from a Scandinavian mythological concept that outlines how the destruction of the world via fire and water leads to rebirth.) Mike’s life-size models of human figures—made out of clear packing tape—and Bredvik’s floor-to-ceiling paintings of trees will invite viewers to reflect on the fragility of their environments and the resilience of the people who live in them.
Sometimes you need a little encouragement to hit the pavement. At the Fit Foodie Festival & 5K/10K ($45 to $55) in Westminster, that motivation comes in the form of small bites from local restaurants at the end of every mile. Both the sweating and the snacking continue at the postrace expo, where you can attend an outdoor bodyweight fitness class with Camp Gladiator trainer Jessica Knapp, sample gourmet cheeses—such as chèvre from Laura Chenel’s—and sip drinks made by Brew Dr. Kombucha.
Looking for more to do in Denver? Check out our events calendar.