June 14, 2018

Weekend Recap: Summer Festivals and Concerts

This past weekend was near perfect, with the exception that I didn’t spend almost any time at home! But there were so many fun things to do in Denver that I really didn’t mind 🙂

The weekend kicked off with one of my favorite work events of the year – a friends/family event on the Jack Daniels Roofdeck Terrace at Coors Field! I organized the event for my company, but I’ve learned over the years to bring on an extra person to hand out tickets so I can just relax and enjoy myself. We had about fifty people come this year, which was one of our best turnouts in a few years, and although it was a little hot, it was otherwise the perfect night to watch baseball, enjoy a few drinks, and get to know the colleagues who live in the Denver area but with whom I rarely get to work. (I am hoping to change that as I start trying to sell more work locally.)

After the game, rather than dealing with the crush of people trying to catch a cab right from the stadium, I walked about 2 miles to LoHi and then stopped at a bar for a nightcap before catching a cab from there. The place I went, Occidental, was new to me, but had a cool atmosphere – we sat out on the back deck, and it reminded me of the low key patios of some Dallas hotspots (Katy Trail Icehouse, The Rustic). My drink was delicious too – the Rev, a smooth blend of bourbon, peach, mint, and lemon.

Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early, and after reading in bed for a little while, got my gym clothes on and headed out for a run around Sloan’s Lake with Amanda. We hadn’t caught up in forever, and while it’s been a bit of a challenge to find a time that worked for both of us, when I saw her, I was reminded that it was all worth it. I missed her a ton!! Although we live in a hyper-connected world, sometimes it can just seem so difficult to make plans, and I dread the process; it makes me feel a lot better to get together with a friend and realize why I go through all that planning.

Sloan’s Lake is one of my favorite places in the city to run. From one side of the lake, you can see the mountains; from the other side, you can see the Denver skyline. It also has the added bonus of being pretty much the only running route in Colorado that’s flat! (But you still have to contend with the base altitude.)

Amanda and I ran one loop around the lake, and then decided to walk a second loop around the lake so that we could get a break from the run but still keep catching up. There was so much to discuss since we hadn’t seen each other in so long! When we finally looped back around, we met up with our friend Kevin, who had come out for a few loops himself, so the three of us ended up running another loop together. By 10am, I had done 8 miles (5.5 running, 2.5 walking) – not a bad way to start my day!

Our run ended on the north side of Sloan’s, which happened to be where a festival was being set up – the National Get Outdoors Day festival. I hadn’t heard of this before, but they had lots of neat booths and activities. I was especially impressed by the outdoor camping setup that demonstrated how you could bake chocolate chip cookies using the strong Colorado sun… and sample a few too. After all that running, I definitely helped myself 😉

The cookies came out surprisingly crispy, not chewy / soft like I would have thought. I want one of these for camping!

By the time I got back and showered from my run, I was starving, so it was time for a quick-but-tasty lunch: sesame noodles with chicken. That really hit the spot! And I need the energy, because now it was time to go hit up another festival: the South Pearl Music & Beer Fest.

I got down there just in time for Tivoli Club Brass Band to take the stage, and I was really impressed. Although I played French horn as a kid, I hadn’t heard a brass band playing pop / rock music before. They were excellent, and it kind of made me want to find a French horn to start playing again!

Here’s a shot from backstage that I found on the band’s page… can’t wait to see them again!

It was really nice to sip a few beers and hang out listening to the various bands. The setup of the street festival was pleasantly low-key, with an area for dancing by the stage, ample tables/chairs for anyone who wanted to sit, and of course, plenty of booths / trucks selling crafts, beer, and food.

For dinner, though, the wait times at area restaurants were a bit longer than we wanted, so we instead Ubered up to the Highlands and grabbed some quick pizza at Pizzeria Locale. I love the Boulder location of Pizzeria Locale, but hadn’t before been to the Highlands one, and it was really different!

The Pizzeria Locale in Boulder is more of a sit down restaurant with an upscale vibe (and crazy delicious arancini balls that I always order as an appetizer). At the Highlands location, you order at the counter and then take a number so they know where to bring your pizza. Also, the Highlands location makes individual pies rather than regular size (like the Boulder location serves), so you can pick whatever you want without having to decide as a group on your pizza toppings. I chose the sausage and broccolini white pizza, and wasn’t disappointed – the crust was perfection, and the sausage had a ton of flavor. I had to stop myself from wolfing down the whole pie!

Seriously, how do you turn this down?! Perfection!

But stop myself I did, because I knew I needed to save room… for Sweet Cow Ice Cream across the street! We got there early enough that we only had to wait in line about 10 minutes, which is pretty short for this popular spot, and I happily walked away with a cone of two yummy flavors: lemon poppyseed and chocolate chip cookie dough. (One on top of the other, so I ate them separately.)

I also tasted two more flavors when I was making my decision, which brings up an important philosophical question: how many flavors is it legitimate to ask to taste test when trying to decide which ice cream to get? My max is three (if I’m really torn), but I usually try to sample no more than two, so as not to be a jerk. Please tell me that’s not already too piggish?

I slept well and hard after all that delicious food and time in the sun, and it was a good thing, because Sunday was another busy day. I started it by meeting one of our town’s trustee candidates at 8am for coffee, and then headed up to Walker Ranch in Boulder, where I was volunteering at their summer Heritage Day. I switched stations every hour this time, which made the time go by quickly, and got to run a general store game for the kids, teach people how to make wooden buttons using a clever spinning tool to drill the holes, greet guests in the log cabin for cooking demos, and churn butter from cream.

The views here are so pretty!

Although it was a crazy hot day with temps in the 90s, my 18th century outfit was surprisingly not all that hot, despite the layers of petticoats, long sleeves, and bonnet. Just goes to show how breathable cotton is, and how important it is to keep the sun off your skin! (Which is why I tend to trail run in long sleeved tech tees rather than tank tops, even when it’s really hot out.)

As a tangential aside, I found this McSweeney’s article really funny, on what you should have saved by age 35 if you lived on a farmstead in 1818.

I left Walker Ranch with about a pound of fresh-churned butter, and on the way home, decided to turn at least some of it into a yummy dessert: peach rosemary crisp, for the potluck house concert I was going to that evening. I got home at 4pm, needing to cook, shower, and be out the door by 4:45pm, but that ended up being just enough time! I mostly used this Greatist recipe, though I simplified it by using canned peaches in juice and then using 1/2 cup of the juice in place of the agave syrup. The crust this time ended up coming out more cobbler-like then crisp, but it was still delicious, and a surprisingly great treat for summer! If you make it at home, I’d recommend adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top for serving.

With the peach crisp in hand, I wrapped up my weekend at this month’s Sounds of Simon house concert, featuring Tony Lucca – an acoustic guitarist who performed on the Voice several years ago. Once again, I managed to snag near-front row seats on the carpet, just five feet away from the artist, and that vantage point was fantastic. How cool is it that one of my neighbors hosts these awesome concerts and I get to be that up close and personal with the artists?? Tony was fantastic, and I’m looking forward to listening to more of his music on Spotify now that I “know” him.

Nope, not sunburned; I was just accidentally in the “stage” lights for the pic.

All in all, it was a fantastic summer weekend – tons of time outdoors enjoying the Colorado sunshine, and I also was psyched I got to hear so much good music. Ever since my brother dragged me to see Mapache a few months ago, I’ve been much more interested in the live music scene… and with house concerts in my neighborhood and fun festivals like Saturday, I’m loving it! Looking forward to finding more cool new-to-me artists as the summer continues.


2 thoughts on “Weekend Recap: Summer Festivals and Concerts”

  1. I think the ice cream sample question also depends on how many people are in line behind you. If it’s super busy, I say one or two samples tops. If I hadn’t ever been to the place before and nobody was waiting behind me, I’d ask for as many as I wanted! For science.

    1. Sweet Cow is always packed with a line, so I guess that means two :/ I do, however, ask for both at the same time… I don’t play the game of “hmm let me try this one” and then keep requesting more.

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