Category: Local Community

Lightning and Thunder make Denver’s 4th of July a wet success

Written by Jared Kennedy 
A personal experience trying to find a location to shoot photos on July 4th

It turns out to be quite the day when you set out in mind to do a 4th of July article and it turns out to be a photography write up instead.

The weather was awful and the sky was filled with rain, smoke and fog. It was very unlikely to get a decent long range wide angle photo of the entire Denver area and surroundings. The intent was to go to lookout mountain and shoot some firework photos of the entire Denver surroundings.

Visibility was poor. On the drive from Golden it seemed there were 2 police cars blocking the road. I guess they don’t want anyone falling off the cliff this year. Looking for another venue, there was a high mountain not far. It was Mathews Park (near Dinosaur Ridge) and was only about a 1/4 mile hike to the top. It was dark and there was large metal power tower nearby. With clouds inbound and lightning striking several miles away, probably not a good idea to be near the tower at the highest point in the area.

2 minute video collage of the luminated sky and lightning strikes over Denver and Rockies Field

Currently raining, I quickly set up the camera and tripod. I’m using a Canon 5Dmk4 with a 50mm f/1.4 and a Sigma 24mm f/1.4 (and a rain umbrella). Both are exceptional lenses for low light photography and greatly reduce your iso. However, after the fact, I would have rather have had one of the Blackmagic cameras and shoot prores at 160mb/s. They are great for pulling out frames and using as photos but the cameras weigh about 13lbs. I ended up trying some time lapse photos that were unsuccessful, then switching to video in hopes to get something in the 10 minutes available.

Lightning striking near Commerce City

Soon, lightning started getting closer and it was time to pack up and hike out down the side of the mountain. Next stop was Downtown Denver!

Lightning striking near Rockies Fiels

At 10pm, I made it back and parked near Mile High Stadium. It was still raining hard and many people were soaked from the rain. Someone mentioned the stadium fireworks were cancelled but someone else said they were running late. People were watching the Rockies fireworks.

Even though it was raining people were determined to see the fireworks. Though the fireworks were tough to see through the rain, smoke and fog, The lightning and thunder definitely enhanced the experience. People were discussing how excited they were to see firework, lightning and thunder. I guess you could say this years 4th of July was a success but definitely not as expected.

Denver’s 10th Annual Civic Center Park Independence Day eve celebration

Written by Jared Kennedy

Every year on the eve of Independence day you can see an amazing assortment of food trucks, music, and fireworks at the Civic Center Park! This year was no different.

A large crowd gathered to see the excitement and share in the celebration of the Independence of the United States. The colors are presented by the color guard and The Colorado Symphony plays majestic hymns of patriotism. Speakers remind us of our great nation. Last there are the fireworks! Fireworks mimic the celebratory firing of muskets, artillery and other explosives which was a carryover from colonial days. The 4th of July is said to consume more fireworks that any other holiday.

The fireworks may not be the loudest. Due to the restraints in cities and ear large crowds velocity and intensity are reduced. However, they among the most unique displays you will find in Colorado. The Colorado Symphony plays and the fireworks are synchronized to the music.

The Civic Center is illuminated in red,white , and blue. The fireworks launched by skilled pyrotechnic experts off the rooftops. The colors of the buildings change.

The combination of visual effects and music present a demonstration that thrills the senses.

Creekside Park and the City of Glendale kick off the fireworks early on July 2nd

Written by Jared Kennedy

Most firework displays are held on Independence Day and the day before or through a weekend leading up to July 4th. This year is a little tricky with Independence Day falling on a Thursday. Four mile Historic Park and the City of Glendale kick off the July 4th celebration 2 days early with a splendid firework display drawing thousands in attendance throughout the Cherry Creek area.

Today there were only 2 major locations with fireworks (The Rockies Field and Cherry Creek).

Independence day falls mid summer and is the perfect time for family outings, barbecues, and drinking your favorite craft ale with friends. On July 2, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed and later approved on July 4th. This was like a divorce or legal separation from Britain. It was not until 1783 following several bloody battles, that the Treaty of Paris was signed recognizing the colonies as an independent entity. If these bloody battles would have been lost Washington, Adams, and Jefferson would have likely been hung for treason.

Fireworks video from Creekside Park

On July 3rd, fireworks can be seen at the Adams County Stars and Stripes celebration, The Rockies game, in Erie near Vista Ridge, Littleton at Clement Park, or at the Civic Center. The Civic Center offers a spectacular yearly celebration with music, food and entertainment. Sunsets at appx 8:50pm and the fireworks started around 9:30pm at Creekside. On July 4th, if you find a high enough elevation you can see fireworks all over in the distance with plenty of locations to choose.

Acrobatrix duo delivers breathtaking performances at the Renaissance festival

Written by Jared Kennedy

       If you are looking for a breathtaking, fast paced, slapstick comical performance, look no further!  The Acrobatrix integrates everything from axe and machete juggling to astonishing stunts during their act. Every second of their performance will leave you laughing and wondering how could anyone do that! 

Leah Orleans is Star and Etienne McGinley is Thunder M’Crack. Bending, flipping and flying through the air- the show is action packed from start to finish. Leah and Etienne are a duo unlike any other. Quirky contortionist plus charismatic juggler equals a show that will bring the house down. Surprises and thrills delight the audience with over-the-top feats of strength, agility and absurdity.

      The real life couple has been performing since 2013. Their 40 minute renaissance festival shows are predominantly improvised, securing large crowd participation. This is their career and they have turned their dreams into reality.

The festival runs during the weekends and Leah is also offering workshops in Denver on July 23rd and July 25th.

The Renaissance festival runs every weekend until August and is filled with nonstop performances. This is one you won’t want to miss!

Trash Pandas offer assistance in recycling initiative

Written by Jared Kennedy

Recent influence has pushed Colorado to become more eco friendly. Goats are a new trend for clearing weeds from an overtaken yard, so why not use raccoons to clear unwanted decaying food from the city streets. These adorable critters aka Trash pandas willingly donate their services gratis! Best of all composting time is eliminated.

 If you have ever been downtown in Lodos on a friday or saturday night, it is no secret that it’s a circus out there! The lower downtown area remains one Denver’s hotspots. If you want cheap well drinks, to get sauced with friends, or simply to people watch- this is the place for you. Shoulder to shoulder packed bars, dancing, and chaos in the streets escalate the excitement. 

In addition, the Rockies games are in full session! A large portion of attendees hit the bars after the game. On the corner of 20th and Market, The Viewhouse, The Tavern, and Cowboy Lounge all offer rooftop views of the streets and surrounding areas. The Viewhouse also has a lawn style outdoor patio. El Capultapec, one of Denver’s oldest jazz clubs even serves food late. With an abundance of food trucks, you can catch views of people eating and often dropping food as they struggle to reach the next bar. 

When the bars close and the people stagger home, the trash pandas comes out and begin their feast! They are quite efficient and do not consume energy, leaving a low carbon footprint. This raccoon was spotted on 19th and market and calls home to a sewer drain. A local street resident told a pedestrian filming the beast, it had babies and could attack. Video mode was quickly activated but no attack was initiated. Oh well…..

Denver Cherry Blossom Festival 2019

Written by Jared Kennedy|     

Drums beat and thunder roars, as rain tries to play it’s role on many festivals this weekend! Nonetheless, The 47th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival was able to entertain the public and celebrate their heritage. Saturday morning was filled with rain but gave way to sunshine throughout the day attracting a large crowd to share in their celebration.

Above is a performance in Taiko Drumming. Julia Misawa founded the group Boulder Taiko Hibiki in 2006, a taiko group open to all ages, where students study with a focus on the four values: mind skill, body and manner. Julia also started the Boulder Taiko Ensemble (BTE), which pushes new boundaries in the ever-expanding world of taiko performance adding western drums , guitar and voice, shakuhachi flute and violin (Anthony to the traditional taiko mix. 

DBT Minyoukai participants performed in several displays of Traditional Japanese folk dances.

In Japanese culture, tea is much more than a drink. The tea ceremonyhas been a part of the traditional Japanese culture for centuries. A quiet celebration performed with grace and beauty, the tea ritual is a bonding experience of mindfulness and respect. Above, narrated by Leonard Large, Aislynn Van Clief prepares tea for her guest Alyssa Pinsker who is a travel writer and JET alumni. Aislynn is the owner of Fudo-An Tea and wellness services .

The Cherry Blossom festival celebrates annually in downtown Denver sharing Japanese heritage with the community. There are 2 full days of performances in martial arts, ikebana, music, dancing, taiko drummers , and ceremonies. The streets were filled with vendors of all sorts hosting an array of Japanese items. Best of all, there was no shortage of traditional foods and saki!

Written by Jared Kennedy, Contributing Associate