Festivities designed to draw people downtown during DNC

By Stephanie Clary

Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Hollywood hunk Ben Affleck are among those the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee will bring together for its series of roundtable discussions during the Democratic National Convention.

Some of the public events scheduled:

American Presidential Experience
• What: A traveling exhibit of presidential memorabilia.
• Where: Invesco Field at Mile High, Parking lot D
• When: 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Aug. 22-28; 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Aug. 29.
• Cost: $15 for adults and $10 for children 2-12 years old, seniors, military veterans and active duty military.

Dialog: City
• What: Various events throughout Denver will showcase interactive, site-specific artwork addressing social issues with the hopes of provoking public discourse. A calendar of events is available at www.dialogcity.org.
• Where: 10 neighborhoods throughout Denver.
• When: Aug. 21-29, times vary.
• Costs: Most events are free.

Colorado Green Frontier Fest
• What: A showcase of renewable technologies, energy-saving solutions and exhibits. It will also feature a farmers market, eco-carnival games, children’s area, music and guest speakers.
• Where: Denver Performing Arts Complex, Sculpture Park.
• When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Aug. 24.
• Cost: Free.

Cinemocracy Rocks
• What: The top 10 short films voted on during an online contest will be screened. The films addressed the question, “How do you define democracy?”
Where: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison.
• When: 6 p.m., Aug. 25.
• Cost: Limited free tickets available, secured-seating tickets are $20. Information is at www.cinemocracy.org.

2008 Rocky Mountain Roundtable
• What: Ten issue-oriented discussions featuring politicians, leaders, celebrities and journalists.
• Where: Denver Performing Arts Complex.
• When: Aug. 25-27, times vary. Check www.2008rmr.org for a schedule.
• Cost: $12-$55. Tickets available Aug. 11.

Unconventional Women
• What: Nonpartisan discussions aimed at galvanizing women into political action hosted by U.S. ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt.
• Where: Denver Performing Arts Complex, Temple Buell Theatre.
• When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Aug. 25.
• Cost: Tickets will be sold on a sliding scale, starting at $1.

Outside the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Complex on Thursday, July 31, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said the 2008 Rocky Mountain Roundtable will feature leaders from all over the world “talking about the most crucial issues of our time.”

The arts complex will host 10 discussions on various topics, including health, education and technology, Aug. 25-27. Tickets will range from $12, for most roundtables, to $55 for the session on energy and climate change, and go on sale Aug. 11. A schedule is available at www.2008rmr.org.

“I believe you’ll find with the 200 or so dignitaries … that there is going to be tremendous dialogue, exchange and energy that comes from the three days,” said Jim Polsfut, chairman of the roundtable.

Hickenlooper also took the opportunity to highlight the other public events taking place before and during the Aug. 25-28 convention.

“There are a lot of special opportunities, and there is something, literally, for everyone,” he said.

Planned events include a film festival, a traveling presidential exhibit, various concerts and art installations.

This convention “is in every sense a once in a lifetime experience,” he said. “One of my great, great desires is to make sure that … as all these visitors, 50,000 strong, come from all over the country and all over the world, they see what we’ve built here.”

The mayor also had to address questions about whether downtown events might be disrupted by demonstrators.

“There are very few people that are even talking about anarchy,” he said. “The media seems to give them a very broad platform.”

Hickenlooper said police officers have received 30 to 40 hours of training on crowd control.

“Can you predict everything? I don’t know. But, boy, we have studied every example in the past. We have tried to anticipate any possible contingency for the future,” he said.

He ended the conference with a final push for people to take part in the convention-inspired events.

“Come down to the city and experience democracy. It is a once-in-a -lifetime thing,” Hickenlooper said. “If people don’t do it, I think they’ll regret it.”