Denver

A 40th birthday party at Dave & Buster’s

Dave & Busters

Photos by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer.

Birthdays are a big deal in our house and the milestone birthdays are an even bigger deal. A birthday usually involves a weekend away, but since my husband, Ryan, was turning 40 this month I asked whether he preferred a party. He informed me that he wanted a party, but “didn’t want to just meet up for beers with friends like we do all the time.”¬Ě

So I had to put my thinking cap on. I came up with a hundred different ideas, but most involved meeting up with friends for beer like we do all the time. Then, Dave & Busters popped into my mind. We hadn’t been in a while, but Ryan loves video games and I figured it would give our friends a fun evening out.

So I booked Dave & Busters in Westminster, Colorado and nearly 30 people showed up to help Ryan ring in this new decade of life and to rib him about turning the big 4-0. Due to Friday evening rush hour traffic we were running a few minutes late to our own party, but I got an excellent text from a partier who beat us there.

Dave & Busters buffet

Fajita buffet at Dave & Buster's.

It read: Set up looks great! ūüôā

And it did. We had booked a party room that included a pool table, shuffle board, tables and lots of seating. The space was large, but not too big, and it was staffed with three attentive wait staff. As party goers continued to arrive and people began to tip back beers, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better.

I like to feed people. I got this trait from my mother. I’m always afraid people won’t get enough to eat or won’t like the offerings. I had ordered the fajita buffet and as they uncovered the food I was pleasantly surprised to see the party goers digging in.

dessert tray at dave & busters

The dessert tray at Dave & Buster's was a real hit.

When ordering a buffet for a party, I’m always a little nervous about the quality, but this buffet was a big hit. I was overjoyed to see people going back for seconds and thirds. The buffet included chips and queso, fajita stuff (tortillas, beef and chicken) and lettuce, cheese, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and an addictive green sauce.

Everything was fresh, as was noted by several guests, but despite the compliments on the food, the best praise is that people ate the heck out of it!

After a fine meal and conversation, party goers began to filter out onto the game floor. Our party package came with $10 power cards for each attendee. Our group took over air hockey, then basketball and then moved on to trivia. Smiles were wide and laughs were many.

My 7-year-old niece, the only child in attendance, made out like a bandit because everyone kept giving her their winning tickets. She was giddy with excitement as she “bought” nearly every jelly bracelet in the Dave & Busters store.

zea playing basketball at Dave & Buster's

Why is this basketball game so addictive?

With the games and crowds, Dave & Busters is a noisy place, so it was good to have our room available as an escape from the hubbub of the game floor. Some in our party became addicted to shuffle board and never left our room. Our wait staff also remained on hand, making sure all the gifts, purses and coats were looked after and drinks were full.

Almost everyone stayed late and I deemed this birthday bash a complete success. Having a party at Dave & Busters makes it easy for everyone ‚Äď the host and the guests. With food and fun at your fingertips, not to mention drinks, there’s no reason to leave early.

Dave & Busters may not be the first place you think of when planning an adult birthday party, but maybe it should be. They also specialize in team building parties and office holiday events.

DaveandBusters.com

Dave & Buster’s Westminster location (303) 217-7107

HeidiTown on the Radio – Getting ready for a Colorado Christmas

Estes Park Colorado holiday photo

Estes Park, Colorado lit up for the holidays. (Photo courtesy of VisitEstesPark.com, photo by Eric Rose)

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are almost upon us, and while you may have been ignoring this fact, many have not. Last December’s post entitled “Top 5 Colorado Christmas Towns” has been trending here for nearly two months already. Apparently, many people are planning a Colorado Christmas this year.

I hope that this week’s segment on KRFC 88.9 FM will help you get in the spirit. I’ve found some delightful activities ¬†including tree lighting events and holiday theater sure to get you in the proper mood for mulled wine, gingerbread cookies and roasted chestnuts.

So snuggle up with a mug of hot chocolate (I prefer it with a shot of peppermint schnapps) and listen to this week’s radio segment HERE.

Featured Festival: The Grand Illumination of Downtown Denver

denver city & county building holiday lights

Photo with permission from VisitDenver.com.

As much as I love small towns, during the holidays I love taking a trip to the big city. One of my fondest Christmas memories is walking under the canopy of lights on Larimer in downtown Denver. We were checking out all the window decorations and that year they were all ski scenes. Some were very elaborate with skiers moving up and down paper mache mountains and ice skaters twirling on painted ponds.

Denver is delightful during the holiday season; horse drawn carriages clomp up and down the 16th Street Mall, children skate at Skyline Park and you might even hear a Christmas carol or two.

The Mile High City knows how to do the holidays and the city literally lights up on during the Grand Illumination on Friday, November 23, 2012.

This year there will be lighting displays at the City and County Building, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions, Union Station, Skyline Park, the 16th Street Mall and the historic D&F Tower.

This is a FREE event, so bundle up the kids and bring them down for an evening in the city. Live entertainment starts at 5:30 p.m. at Skyline Park and at 6 p.m. at Denver Union Station and at Civic Center Park. The official “countdown”¬Ě begins at 6:30 and the lights go on at 6:45 p.m.

Once the lights are on, wandering over to the Denver Christkindl Market to do a little shopping and listen to live German music from Peter Kron. Afterwards, warm up at one of Denver’s fine eating establishments – currently, my personal favorite is Euclid Hall.

Details:
Grand Illumination of Downtown Denver
Friday, November 23, 2012
Free fun for the entire family

***

If you are looking for more FREE winter events and activities in Denver, I love this list compiled by Visit Denver.

 

HeidiTown on the Radio – Let’s get artsy, Colorado

crayons

As the days get shorter and colder, I start to think about theater and museums. I realize these topics come up a lot on HeidiTown, but that’s because Colorado has no shortage of artistic and cultural events to write about, plus museums and live theater are the Mayor’s favorites.

On this week’s radio show on ¬†KRFC 88.9 FM, I share some upcoming art-related events happening along the Front Range in November.

Listen to the show here.

Featured Festival: Denver Arts Week

denver arts week logo 2012Nothing destroys the stereotype of being a cow town, like Denver Arts Week. Denver is a hub of arts and culture and during this week long celebration, every type of artistic medium is celebrated including visual arts, theater, music, film, museums, dance, opera comedy, history and heritage.

Get walking, get artsy

The event kicks off on November 2 with First Friday Art Walks in numerous neighborhoods around town. A list of six different walks can be found here.

Learn stuff

Next up, on November 3, it’s Night at the Museums. This is an opportunity to tour 22 Denver museums and pay no admission fees. There’s even a free shuttle that makes exploring that much easier. From the Denver Art Museum to the Denver Children’s Museum to the Forney Museum of Transportation, this is a whirlwind event that will leave you with a better knowledge of everything from history to art. Click here to learn more about Night at the Museums.

On stage

sign. theatre sign

Every day during Denver Arts Week, you’ll have a chance to see live theater, from the Denver Performing Arts Complex (the second largest such complex in the U.S.) to more intimate neighborhood theaters. There’s also the opportunity to get a sneak peek behind the curtain; see how productions come together and learn about actors’ and dancer’s crafts during workshops. From ballet to musicals to dramatic theatre, there’s a little something for everyone on stage during Denver Arts Week. For the entire lineup go here.

 

Becoming Van Gogh

Becoming Van Gogh

The Denver Art Museum is the largest jewel in the city’s cultural crown. The museum hosts world renowned exhibits, such as Yves Saint Laurent this past summer. Another amazing show just opened and it’s attracting art lovers from around the world.

The exhibit explores Van Gogh’s evolution as an artist through more than 70 paintings, alongside paintings from artists who played significant roles in his life. The exhibition is on loan from more than 60 public and private collections around the world.

Nothing like this has ever been assembled before and Denver is the only venue for this exhibit. Becoming Van Gogh is at the museum through January 20, 2013. Learn more at DenverArtMuseum.org.

See Starz

Starz Denver Film Fest

Starz Denver Film Festival, brought to you by the Denver Film Society, celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. If you’re a movie buff, this is the festival for you. The event runs November 1 through 11, and features 100s of films (I think. Their website doesn’t have the exact number of films being shown, but it seems like there are a lot). From documentaries to student films, the entire Starz Denver Film Festival schedule can be found here.

Denver Arts Week runs November 2 through 10th. Learn more at Denver.org/DenverArtsWeek.

 

HeidiTown on the radio – the Colorado ghosts, goblins & zombies edition

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. (Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved)

It’s October and that means Halloween. It just so happens that I am a big scaredy cat, however, I do love a good ghost tour and I share some Colorado ghost tour information in this week’s radio segment. There’s also a nod to dead people and zombies in this show – you have been warned!

So without further ado, LISTEN HERE if you dare.

Note: Each Monday I upload my  KRFC 88.9 FM  segment to HeidiTown. You can here it on the radio on Wednesdays at noonish and Fridays at 5:30 p.m.

Pompeii comes alive at Denver Museum of Nature & Science

DMNS Pompeii

A Day in Pompeii at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. (Photo by Chris Schneider)

I am a museum junkie, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is one of my favorites. I love the smell of a museum, the lighting, and the sense that I am learning something new just by being in the building.

Ancient history has never had a big draw for me, so I wasn’t particularly overjoyed to hear that the Pompeii exhibition was coming to Denver. But, of course, I had to see it, and in doing so I have developed a new fascination with ancient history.

“A Day in Pompeii”¬Ě takes the visitor on a trip through the ancient city of Pompeii, a city of 20,000 that was covered in volcanic ash in AD 79. Ninety percent of the population was able to make it out of the city, but 10 percent were not, and the thick, wet ash from Mount Vesuvius encased them where they stood, sat or lay.

As a writer, I truly appreciate how the story of Pompeii unfolds as you walk through the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s newest exhibit.

DMNS Pompeii

Historical re-enactors at "A Day in Pompeii" at DMNS. (Photo by Chris Schneider)

First, you meet the people of Pompeii and discover how they worked, shopped and played. You get to know them, through high resolution videos that take you through their homes, through the numerous artifacts on display and through the historical re-enactors that stroll through the exhibit, ready to impart the story of their daily life with you.

The beginning of the exhibition is cheerful and there’s a sense that life in Pompeii was pretty good, and although these people lived thousands of years ago, we have much in common. ¬†The Pompeiians loved creature comforts, enjoyed the theater, and would grab food from a street vendor and meet friends at a local bar where they played dice games.

As I walked through the exhibit with my husband, a furniture designer and builder, it occurred to us that the Romans may have discovered interior design. Their frescos and highly ornate furniture could have graced the pages of Roman Fine Living, if such a magazine existed in the early part of the 1st Century. Check out the pair of ornate curtain tie backs on display and you will truly understand our train of thought.

DMNS Pompeii statue

(Photo by Chris Schneider)

“A Day in Pompeii takes a 21st ¬†Century approach to the 1st Century,”¬Ě says Dr. Steve Nash, exhibit curator.

Ancient Greece has influenced today’s culture in many ways, and it’s interesting to keep this in mind as you walk through “A Day in Pompeii.”¬Ě From architecture to everyday living, many things in the exhibition feel strangely familiar.

Once you get to know Pompeii and its people, things get somber. You learn how the Roman’s worshipped, how they buried and honored their dead, and then the volcano erupts. Don’t miss the five minute video of the eruption in the room right before the part of the exhibition that houses the body casts from Pompeii. This sets the scene in a sobering fashion.

The body casts are probably the most famous artifacts from this exhibit, and most of us have seen photos of them at some point in our lives. As people huddled in their homes, or tried to outrun this natural disaster at the last moment, they were covered by volcanic ash. Over time, the bodies disintegrated leaving an empty cavity for  archæologists  to find centuries upon centuries later. In 1860,  archæologist  Guiseppe Fiiorelli poured plaster into these cavities, creating the first versions of the casts.

body cast

(Photo by Chris Schneider)

Ironically, seeing these body casts in person made these people even more real to me. The poses are so human; hands to the mouth, an arm covering a lovers head, friends (possibly sisters) in an embrace.

I left “A Day in Pompeii”¬Ě with a newly sparked interested in ancient Roman history, and I think that’s the best review a museum exhibition could receive.

This exhibit opened at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on September 14 and leaves on January 13, 2012. There are programs and events planned for both adults and children around “A Day in Pompeii”¬Ě ‚Äď see the list here.

Go to DMNS.org for ticket information.

 

HeidiTown on the radio – the Colorado museum edition

DMNS Pompeii

Visitors interact with the historical enactors that dress in period clothing and portray characters from Ancient Rome inside A Day in Pompeii at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. (Photo credit: Chris Schneider)

This week’s radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM is full of history and culture. Think you can handle that?

Have you ever wanted to party like a Italian in AD 79? Well, find out when and where you can.

Wondering about the new Fort Collins Museum of Discovery? Find out the schedule for the opening of this state-of-the-art facility.

Are you a bird lover like me? Find out where you can see birds portrayed by 60 different artists.

And more Colorado cultural stuff that will tickle your curiosity and enrich your mind.

It’s all in this week’s radio segment, so LISTEN HERE.

HeidiTown on the radio – Agritourism events around Colorado this September

Ripe wheat earsIt’s Monday, and that means this week’s segment from KRFC 88.9 FM is here!

By the way, September 14-22 is KRFC’s membership drive. This is a 100% community run radio station and it takes donations to keep the doors open. There are all sorts of membership levels to choose from so become a member today and help keep shows like HeidiTown on the air!

BECOME A KRFC MEMBER

Now on to our regular scheduled blog post.

Last week I wrote about agritourism, and on this week’s radio show I share some upcoming agritourism-related events happening around Colorado including harvest festivals and a top-notch foodie event in Denver.

LISTEN TO THE HEIDITOWN SEGMENT HERE.

HeidiTown on the radio – Educational festivals can be fun!

sustainable living fair no dates logoOn this week’s radio segment on KRFC 88.9 FM, I share several educational festivals happening this weekend in Northern Colorado.

Also, new plays are in production on dinner theater stages around the state, find out what exciting titles are being produced currently.

Lastly, if you are planning a wintry escape to the mountains, I share a few great winter festivals you might want to plan your trip around.

Listen to the RADIO SEGMENT HERE.

 

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