WHY: Proceeds benefit mountain area fire districts and the Blue Spruce Kiwanis Foundation. This nonprofit not only helps endangered forests and adopt-a-tree programs, but supports dozens of Colorado organizations such as homeless shelters, wilderness teen programs, senior homes, Brownie troops, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Last year's cook-off raised more than $35,000, so ladle up, chili-lovers.
BONUS: Bragging rights. Picture it: You on Superbowl Sunday, a roomful of hungry fans, and a pot o' steaming chili labeled "2007 People's Choice." (But let's face itwe can't all be the crowd favorite, so work on your serving flair for the "Showmanship" prize or bring the heat for "Best Firehouse Chili" award.)
DETAILS: Tournament Sat, 8 a.m. shotgun, Evergreen Golf Course, Hwy. 74 and Upper Bear Creek Road, $120 G.A./$80 for firefighters; cook-off Sun, noon6 p.m., Evergreen Lake House, 29614 Upper Bear Creek Road, $10$12 (firefighters/kids under eight get in free). Visit www.bigchili.org . CULTURE WHAT: Alliance Française Open House: Parlez Vous Français? No worries, neither do we. But if you've ever been curious about the romantic tongue, the dashing culture, or even just their exquisite culinary talents, Alliance Française gives you a taste of all things French at an Open House (Soirée Portes Ouvertes) this Friday. It's an in-the-element type of affair, with a French art gallery, photo exhibit, and wine from Loire Valley vineyards. Plus, pick up a tip or two from the French chef cooking demo or sample some regional cheeses (France is home to more than 400 varieties).
WHY: Whether you jet off to Paris for work each month or just want to give your rusty high school skills a try over some lovely French wine, the natives at Denver's French hub will help you fit right in with the culturally savvy folks from across the Atlantic, and maybe even find you a language class to meet your needs (perfect timing for fall registration).
BONUS: Colorado Ballet will perform a teaser, so you won't feel too far from home.
DETAILS: Fri 59 p.m. Alliance Française de Denver, 571 Galapago Street. Free. RSVP at 303-831-0304 or visit www.afdenver.org . PERFORMING ARTS WHAT: Bach and Beer: Boulder's "Telling Stories" concert series is back with a bang for its second season, starting with a kickoff celebration hosted by series sponsor Avery Brewing Co. The show features a mix of classical music and hip, lively essays paired with Avery beer selections to get the juices flowing. Treats by local bakery Haute Cakes and raffle drawings to boot.
WHY: Put your creative hats on, people. It's a meeting of great minds devoted to great processes, whether it's the rehearsal time and special care it takes to get Bach right, or the brewing time and special ingredients it takes to get that fall ale right. So sit back and appreciate the crew who can please our palates and our minds simultaneously.
BONUS: For just $5 more than the ticket price, you'll get an annual Telling Stories membership that includes the kickoff bash ticket, a monthly newsletter subscription, a custom mug, and more.
DETAILS: Sat 58 p.m. Avery Tasting Room, 5763 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. $20 at the door ($25 for a membership). Call 303-997-2877 or RSVP to [email protected] . ART WHAT: James Coleman and Terry Gilecki in person: Walt Disney's James Coleman and Koi painter Terry Gilecki swing by Fascination St. Fine Art in Cherry Creek this Friday to discuss their work, meet with art connoisseurs, and sign original pieces.
WHY: Art by famous people. What's not to love (or at least, appreciate)? Once breathing life into Disney's animated The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Coleman now captures picturesque tropical landscapes and sweeping skies with his experienced brush stroke. Terry Gilecki breathes a different type of life into the gills of Koi fish. He builds the foundation for his 3-D paintings with reactive mediums and modeling material, then employs various techniques such as scratching back and opaque airbrushing to create the texture that distinguishes his work.
BONUS: Hosting internationally renowned artists isn't a one-time gig for Fascination St.; the gallery prides itself on featuring exceptionally accomplished and creative artists for a refreshing art-buying experience. Peruse other limited editions and inspirational pieces when you visit.
DETAILS: Fri 69 p.m. Fascination St. Fine Art Gallery, 315 Detroit Street. Call 303-333-1566 or visit www.fascinationstart.com .