On game days in Boise, I sometimes feel as if that’s the only thing going on in the entire city. There are other events, of course, but for the past 35 years I’ve planned my fall schedule around Bronco football games. The first year I sat in the student section. The next three years I sat in the press box as the sports editor of the university newspaper. Then for 27 years I sat in the press box as a radio guy. For 12 of those years I left at the end of the third quarter to get back to the radio station and host Game Night. For the past three years, declining eyesight has forced me to watch the games at home on an iPad held six inches from my face, since I can’t see what’s going on from the stands anymore. But regardless of the situation, I watch with no other plans.
I figured the same was probably true in most other NCAA football cities. To prove it, I looked up things to do this weekend in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the location of the Air Force Academy, where Boise State will play Saturday at 5pm. I assumed there would be a short list and that the football game would be the biggest thing on it. I was off by a bit.
Beginning at 8am, it’s Make a Difference Day at Fort Carson. Church and service groups and clubs will gather to complete landscaping projects in a place called Iron Horse Park.
At 9am, a downtown coffee shop called the Perk is hosing their annual “Pumpkin French Toast Frenzy” with entertainment by Ben Carr from southern Vermont, who plays solo ukulele.
At 9:30, you can run in the “Creepy Crawl 5k” on County Line Road. Or catch the opening of the Applewood Arts Festival at Highlands Ranch High School. Or hit the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for a multi-media presentation by artist Virgil Ortiz, who tells the story of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, then skips to the year 2180 and tells the story with Star Wars effects.
At 10am, don’t miss the Halloween History Hunt at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. It mostly involves just looking at museum exhibits, but you do it in costume. Or you can see the Darla Slee Taro Deck at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts. Slee is a self-taught artist, and her latest project has been creating an entire deck of giant tarot cards, at which she invites you to “look critically”. And at Colorado College, there’s a presentation called “P.S. I Love You: A Portrait of Miss Elsie Palmer”. It’s your chance to see several paintings that explain who Elsie Palmer was and why she was so important during the three years she lived in Colorado Springs in the 1880’s with her sisters and wealthy parents.
If you’d like to go to a farmer’s field celebrating Halloween, most of those open at about 10am, too. There’s one called “Pumpkin Patch”, another called “Spooky Magic Town”, another called “Tri-Lakes Pumpkin Patch”, plus “Lone Creek Farms”, “Puebloween”, and one virtual reality farm in the downtown area for those who prefer less mobility.
In the town of Parker, there’s an event starting at 10:30am called “Practice Your English”. For 90 minutes, you can stop by and talk about the subjects of your choice in English with an actual English-speaking person. It’s designed, I think, for people who speak English as a second language, but that’s not specified in the event description. It could also be for people who are lonely or just don’t talk much. It’s not far from an event called “Bark for Books”, during which children age 6 through 12 read out loud to groups of dogs.
At 11am in nearby Manitou Springs, you can participate in the 24th Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races. Each team has one Emma, who lies in a coffin, and four runners who push the coffin down Manitou Avenue. The winner qualifies to participate in the 2019 Frozen Dead Guy Days. At 1pm, you can learn to make your own spider web during “It’s Stitches Time” at the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park. Or join in the Ruxton Railsplitters Coffin Races at a placed called “Kinfolks”. I think the winner of that one may also quality for Frozen Dead Guy Days. I don’t know that for a fact. I just can’t see the point otherwise.
The Festival de los Muertos starts at 2pm in Memorial Park, fittingly. If you enjoyed the Disney movie “Coco” or the James Bond movie “Spectre”, both of which featured Mexico’s Day of the Dead, you’ll enjoy the Festival de los Muertos.
There’s also a “Boo at the Zoo” just like the one in Boise, several “Trunk of Treat” parties in church parking lots, and my favorite, the “Safe Trick or Treat and Fall Festival” at the Colorado Springs First Christian Church. It’s exactly like Halloween, except you take out anything that resembles Halloween.
You can also see a puppet-show version of Robin Hood at the Colorado Springs Charter Academy, participate in bar-hopping in costume at “Frights and Pints”, take in the “Three Nights of Horror Film Festival” at the Tim Gill Center for Public Media, or hit “Spooktacular” at the Garden Ranch YMCA.
There is a listing for the football game. It doesn’t mention Boise State, and it doesn’t mention the Air Force football stadium in Colorado Springs where the game is being played. It reads, “Air Force Football, 5pm, CBS Sports Network”. So this weekend, the big sports event in Colorado Springs is apparently watching Boise State play on TV. And that’s what I’ll be doing anyway.