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First, the bad news: Your favorite music festival is cancelled. Summer camps have gone virtual. You’re training for a race that doesn’t have a finish line. And it’s likely that your summer bucket list is looking a bit scant. But, even though the sunniest season won’t look normal, it doesn’t have to be dull. We took on the challenge of turning your would-be summer getaways into fun at-home activities to make Summer 2020 even more memorable.
Usually you: Take the family to see classic films like Legally Blonde at Red Rocks’ Film on the Rocks
So this summer: Patronize another beloved Denver institution—Denver Film—and get your movie fix at home. Through its Virtual Cinema program, Denver Film will offer new releases, like Shirley, a biographical drama about the life of author Shirley Jackson starring Elisabeth Moss. Bonus: You can skip the store and order movie theatre popcorn and candy (and wine and beer) straight from Denver Film for pick-up at the Sie FilmCenter.
Usually you: Drop the kids off at day camp and indulge in some much-needed me time—or just finally get some work done
So this summer: Though most in-person summer camps are cancelled, your kids don’t have to totally miss out on the highlight of summer (and you don’t need to miss out on that alone time). Museums, like Longmont Museum, are going virtual this year, which means you can enroll your child in imaginative programs like Zombie Apocalypse Training Camp, in which amateur survivalists will learn skills such as disaster preparedness, off-the-grid living techniques, and first aid, or Fashion Design camp, in which budding fashionistas can mend, upcycle, and sew.
Usually you: Run with hundreds of fellow athletes in the Colfax Marathon
So this summer: Register for the Colorado Virtual Distance Challenge instead. Participants of the month-long race, created by the people behind the Colorado Brewery Running Series, log as many miles as possible during the month in order to reach their goal—and receive prizes such as a silicone pint glass (for 25 miles) and two free crowlers of beer at a future Brewery Running Series party (for 100+ miles). Though you might not be competing with your best runner friends, you can still engage in a little friendly competition by checking out the miles they post on the program’s app—and then maybe trying to outdo them. Even better: 10 percent of the proceeds go to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund.
Usually you: Catch up with your college buddies over beers at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival
So this summer: Queue up some tunes from Colorado-based Yonder Mountain String Band and Leftover Salmon, who were slated to play this year, and have a listening-slash-catch-up session over Zoom with your pals. For more rowdy fun, pick up some beer from a local brewery—we suggest Denver Beer Co.’s Summer Mix Pack, which includes their new-this-summer Tart Delight citrus sour.
Usually you: Host a block party, aka the highlight of your neighborhood’s summer
So this summer: Instead of gathering in large numbers, have a backyard family bash. Order and pick-up Ash’Kara’s pre-prepared chicken and vegetable kebabs from Denver Bazaar, or grill up your own goodies with these tips from chef Justin Bronson. For quick-and-easy drinks, sign up for Cocktail Caravan’s community supported cocktail program, where you’ll get a bottle of fresh-pressed cocktail mixer each week, which you can mix with your favorite spirit or drink on its own.
Usually you: Go camping in the great outdoors.
So this summer: Pitch your tent a little closer to home—in your backyard. If you need a new tent (or just don’t feel like hunting for it in your mess of a garage), hit up a local shop, like Feral, which offers curbside delivery and is open for in-store shopping. After you’ve set up your tent with sleeping bags, lanterns, and blankets, stock up on snacks (or order in from this list of restaurants offering up to-go goodies), grab a few board games, and—once the sun sets—maybe even tell a scary ghost story or two.
Usually you: Let artists dazzle you with their stunning creations at summer art shows.
So this summer: Make your own sidewalk art with tips from Niwot-based chalk artist Stephanie Duffy. Duffy—who won the Denver Chalk Art Festival’s “Best in Show” award in 2018—has been honing her craft for 15 years. The first step is to gather your materials. Duffy suggests a 24-pack of soft pastels (available at craft stores), masking or duct tape, a measuring tape, something soft to sit on (like cardboard or carpet samples), and baby wipes to clean your hands with. Beginners should start with a colorful, not-too-complex image. “Cartoon characters are a fun way to start,” Duffy says. “When I’m picking a piece, I pick something that I think will challenge me and that really excites me, something that I want to look at closely all day.”
Next, divide your selected image into grids with a ruler. Then, on the ground, use tape to create a square or rectangle, with each grid on the image correlating to one square foot on the ground. “Putting tape down along the edges is important, it helps give your chalk art a nice clean pop, and is so satisfying to pull up and remove when the project is complete,” says Duffy. After that, go square by square, outlining your subject with your pastels, then filling in the lines with color. After you’ve added a base layer of color, you can add detail on top. Most importantly, if you’re not feeling it at first, keep trying. “I’ve been doing chalk art for 15 years, and each time I start I still have the stream of thought that tells me that it’s impossible and just to quit before I even try,” Duffy says. “…don’t let that critic stop you from taking a chance, it’s all temporary and it’s OK if it doesn’t turn out.”