Colorado Has a State Fair?

Well, clearly, I knew that it did … I’ve just never been. Thanks to the husband, I’ve been to Minnesota’s state fair plenty of times, but Colorado’s? Nope. It’s down in Pueblo, it’s hot down there, it’s a crap drive, no one really likes Pueblo (not even some people I’ve known from there) … why would I want to go?

Still, going is something I felt like I should do. We finally decided, you know what, screw it, we’re going this year. We did a long ride in the morning of September 6 and then drove down to see what the Colorado State Fair is all about.

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First impressions are that it’s a lot smaller than the Minnesota State Fair. It’s definitely less of a big deal here in Colorado as it is in Minnesota, where the fair is known as the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.”

We waited in the admission line which was horrible – line was wrapping around the corner and they had, at any one time, two (of six or eight) windows open. For a brief second, a third window was open, but that got closed quickly.

If you go, buy tickets ahead of time if possible.

We walked in and our first thought was FOOD. (We were possibly a bit hangry from our ride still.) Too hungry to walk the entire fair to see what was up for food options, we saw some barbecue truck and split a pulled pork sandwich. I’m so glad we split it because it was … not good. Still, food is food, and it helped calm us down to the point of thinking straight again.

We were right near some cows and a milking demonstration (they were letting kids milk cows), so we decided to walk over and check it out. Brandon got nommed on by a calf; it was kind of cute.

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Like in Minnesota, there was an ice cream/milkshake stand attached to the dairy bar. One of the dairy bars in Minnesota’s is a must-stop for Brandon (chocolate milkshake), so he decided to get one in Colorado to see how it compared. It was good, but not quite as good, according to him. Me, I got a root beer float. Needed more ice cream.

With even more calories in our bellies, we started walking the fair. It didn’t take nearly as long as it does in Minnesota because the Colorado State Fairgrounds take up … maybe a third of the space as in Minnesota? I was disappointed that the shops and stalls were very generic with stuff I felt like I could get anywhere. There was a lack of local crafts and artisans which was disappointing.

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Both state fairs I’ve been to have some variation on this – some church food booth that’s been around forever.

The Colorado State Fair also lacked in food. The Minnesota State Fair is known for its food; Colorado’s … well … there wasn’t a lot of originality. We passed by a bacon booth that looked okay:

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and I stopped there for the bacon-wrapped chicken and the chocolate-covered bacon. The bacon-wrapped chicken was super dry and the chocolate-covered bacon paled in comparison to Famous Dave’s pig-lickers (that you can get at Coors Field, even). We didn’t even finish it.

The creative arts building was okay – not quite as cool or as large as Minnesota’s, but crafts are crafts and you’ll always see different things. One thing that was quite nifty in that building was this:

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So. Many. Colorado. Plates. I happen to like our license plate, so this display was really neat to see.

I did notice one food item in Colorado I hadn’t seen elsewhere – deep-fried Nutella. I was tempted to get it, but I didn’t.

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I also found this lemon lemonade stand cooler than the root beer barrels at the Minnesota State Fair.

I do feel like the midway in Colorado was bigger than Minnesota’s Mighty Midway … if not slightly more ramshackle.

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Was it worth going to? Yes, because now I’ve gone and I don’t have to ever go again. Would I advise it? Well … anything’s usually worth doing once, and I’ll agree with that statement in this case. If you’re a Coloradoan like me, it’s NEVER a bad thing to help support your home state’s economy. If you haven’t been to a different state fair, it also might be worthwhile. But if you’ve been to Minnesota’s, or Iowa’s, or Texas’s … just know that it’s not going to be as good.

Mythic Creatures at DMNS

Driving to work down Speer every day, I see a lot of banners for exhibits going on at the local museums. One such exhibit (that I’d also seen a lot of friends on facebook go to) was Mythic Creatures at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Therefore, one afternoon, we decided to go.

We also decided to get a museum membership, for a few reasons:

1.) If you go … twice, I think, … it pays for itself, and we average two or three visits a year.
2.) Being a member means free admission to other various museums around the country due to an affiliate program (LVNH would be free if we wanted to go again).
3.) Museum membership is totally one of those “adult” things to do.
4.) If we have a membership, we totally won’t feel bad about going to the museum solely for the special exhibits and ignoring the rest of it.

In any case, the Mythic Creatures exhibit was pretty cool. A little interesting, as clearly the creatures aren’t, you know, found in nature, but as with everything, all myths have roots based in fact. A mermaid is really (somehow) a manatee. Sea creatures are delusions thanks to lack of nutrients. Or whatever.

Behold, a sampling of photos:

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Not all mythic creatures are ancient … (not pictured: jackalope)

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What really sold me on going were the fun green screen photos people posted. Here are ours.

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Winter Park Resort Ski Trip

Back in the beginning of our relationship, Brandon and I would go for ski trips around Valentine’s Day. After the demise of the Ski Train, that kind of stopped.

However, we’ve managed to revive the tradition the last two years. Last year, we spent the night post-skiing and we stayed at a lodge in town. This year, we went up the night before skiing and stayed a short gondola ride away from the base – a much better option.

If you talk to a Coloradoan who skis, we all have our favorite resort. I’ll admit that I haven’t skied too many places, but after growing up on Winter Park and loving it, why would I WANT to ski anywhere else?

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Riding the gondola to the Village.

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Train play area.

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Brandon warming himself up at a fire pit.

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The giant Coke fan hanging out with the Coca-Cola polar bear.

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Making s’mores.

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Free s’mores every Wednesdays.

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Amusing sign outside one of the bars.

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Ski chair.

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Cone dude at one of the chair lifts.

If you want some photos of us on the mountain, check out the tri blog.

Cartier at the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum currently has an exhibit on jewelry house Cartier called Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century. Ever since I heard about it, I wanted to go. Good exhibits are also a nice excuse to hit up the DAM – last time I went was for an Yves-Saint Laurent exhibition.

The pieces displayed inside were gorgeous and there was some nifty history that was tied into the exhibit as well (for example, a section filled with cigarette cases and the like due to the rise in popularity of smoking). However, I can’t help but think back to a piece I read in the Denver Post back when the exhibit started which essentially says that the show is also free marketing for Cartier, a company still very much in business today.

Whichever way you feel, I would still say it’s very much worth a trip to the Denver Art Museum, as the pieces displayed can truly be called “art.” You still have a chance to see it for another month; it ends March 15.

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Going in.

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Necklace, I believe for an Indian Maharajah.

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Bracelet.

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One of the “tutti frutti” necklaces.

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Stunning cigarette case.

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Traveling bar kit.

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Replica of Charles Lindbergh’s Wright Whirlwind engine.

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Necklace in the adverts.

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Beautiful ruby set. Birthstone!

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Probably my favorite necklace of the whole collection. No idea why.

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Blurry, yes, but taken for the sheer size of this pendant – it’s a 478-carat sapphire …

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Watch. So, cool historical fact that I’m going to presume is true – apparently one of the Cartiers invented the modern wristwatch for a Brazilian airplane pilot who needed an easier way to check the time other than pulling out a pocket watch, which was the fashion at the time.

Glenwood Hot Springs

About two weeks ago, Brandon and I took off to the mountains for a mini trip up to Glenwood Springs, primarily to check out the hot springs up there. Okay, and get out of town.

Driving I-70 west, we had always seen the Glenwood Hot Springs right off the highway on the north side of the road. However, we’d never stopped there. Finally, we decided to remedy that.

We went at night during the winter, so keep that in mind.

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In one of the pools.

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Steam coming off the water. It was … probably in the 20s or 30s out and the water was probably over 100 degrees?

It was … okay. Really, we’re not pool people. We’re fine being lazy for a little while, but then we get antsy. There were two pools open – both were warm, but one was hotter than the other. It may have been the therapy pool, but don’t quote me on that. The best time I had was spent in the cooler pool, just floating and staring up at the stars.

I know in the summer there’s more to do there, including water slides, but in terms of a hot springs, we both wished it had more of a natural feel … instead of feeling like we were in a slightly weird, giant pool. I know the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs are more natural – in a river where there are hot spots in it – so maybe we’ll check that out next time.

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Water jug repurposed as a fish tank. Seen at a coffee/doughnut shop near Copper Mountain on the drive down.

Pro Bull Riding 2015

Since we so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at PBR at the Stock Show last year, we decided to go again this year. I also learned the lessons of last year and bought better seats.

Continuing on with the “learning from history” theme, we also chose NOT to eat at the Stock Show itself, choosing instead to go to the Stockyard Saloon, which is basically on the grounds, but outside the paid admission area. The place is fairly old school – our beers were in cans! – but it wasn’t bad. We both had salads, I had a bacon cheeseburger and Brandon had a steak sandwich. The only thing that truly disappointed both of us was that the cheese on the cheese fries? Melted cheddar grossness. Like cheddar sauce, not actual shredded and THEN melted cheese. Some people like that … not me. I like my cheese not in liquid form.

After dinner, we headed into the Stock Show itself for a few moments. We were considering going to a PBR 101 thing, but ended up not quite having enough time. As a lot of the stuff is the same year after year (and Brandon’s foot was killing him), we mostly just hung out near the horses and talked to them before heading over to the Denver Coliseum

The bull riding itself (as well as team penning – got to see that again this year!) was awesome and the new seats weren’t bad. I think if we want truly good seats, we’ve got to hop on them as soon as they go on sale …

(Also: I need a better camera or figure out a better way with my point-and-shoot to get action shots …)

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Yes, the bull is bucking even though it doesn’t look like it here.

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Team penning.

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Chihuly at the Denver Botanic Gardens

I’ve known about glass artist Dale Chihuly for a little while – mainly because of his work at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Awesome stuff.

So, when an exhibition of his came to the Denver Botanic Gardens, I knew I had to go. It started in June, but I heard they were doing night tours (now sold out) starting in October, so I decided to wait until then to go.

I am SO glad I went – very, very cool time. If you’re in Denver, go before it’s gone; if you’re not, and an exhibit of his comes to town, go. You will not regret it.

Here is a small sampling of all the photos I took when I went.

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This boat did not work as well at night.

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A friend described this as Chihuly meets Walter White.

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Another exhibit that didn’t work quite as well at night.

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Workshop display.

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These were awesome during the day, too, but the sunset behind them was too good to pass up.

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Same deal with this one.

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This worked a lot better at night with the reflection.

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Shadow play on this one looked awesome at night. During the day, fairly unremarkable, comparatively.

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Awesomeness of these came out at night.

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