Sister Act

July 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 August 3, 4, 5
PACE Center, Parker
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to ParkerArts.org

Based on the hit 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, with music by the Tony and multiple Oscar winning Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Newsies), Sister Act is the newest show-stopping musical coming to the PACE Center later this month. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Sister Act is the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe disco diva who is placed into protective custody after witnessing a heinous crime.

To ensure her safety, the authorities put her somewhere she is sure never to be found, a convent! Deloris, disguised as a nun, attempts to breathe new life into the church’s quite bland choir. Often butting heads with the quite uptight Mother Superior and the much more rigid ways of the church, Deloris inspires the choir to reach new heights, but in doing so, jeopardizes her cover. By helping the members of the choir find their voices, Deloris rediscovers herself.

With music that will move you to leap to your feet and dance numbers that will dare you not to join in the fun yourself, Sister Act is a rousing tribute to the power of friendship. You may even see a familiar face in the cast, our very own Mayor Mike Waid. Brought to you by Parker Arts and Inspire Creative, Sister Act begins its run at the PACE Center on Friday, July 20th through Sunday, August 5th. For show times and tickets, visit parkerarts.org.
Inspire Creative is an artist directed, non-profit organization that encourages individuals to discover their artistic talents and develop those talents in a safe atmosphere, focusing on growth, not ego. Through their programming and performances, Inspire Creative provides opportunities to use those talents and continue to promote the importance of the arts. For more information about Summer Youth Classes, upcoming performances, instruction and information on how to donate to Inspire Creative, go to www.inspirecreative.org.

Summer Concert Series

If you’ve ever been to a show at Red Rocks or Fiddler’s Green, you know what an amazing thing it is to sit out in the sun, or under the stars, and take in a fantastic concert. Parker may not have a huge, natural rock formation that doubles as an outdoor amphitheater, but we do have our own way to enjoy wonderful, outdoor concerts, right in the heart of Downtown Parker. Discovery Park’s nearly acre and a half of space not only houses a 900 square foot water feature, perfect for cooling off during the sizzling summer months, but also the performance stage on the north end of the park, which leaves little excuse to not get out and enjoy the show!

Throughout the summer, Parker Arts is offering FREE concerts in the park as part of their Summer Concert Series. Bring your picnic blankets and your lawn/camping chairs and make yourself comfortable! Due to the open-space nature of this event, no alcoholic beverages are permitted at the concert, but you are allowed to bring in coolers, cloth bags and picnic baskets. If you don’t feel like packing in, there is a concession stand available on site and periodic food trucks with a variety of food available to purchase.

Strollers, lawn chairs (under 32” tall), seat cushions, blankets (no larger than 8’x8’), and service animals are also permitted. Limited seating is available around the fire pits around the skating slip, so concert goers are encouraged to arrive a bit early and find a good spot for their chairs and blankets. If it is a highly attended event, visitors may be asked to condense their blanket area to allow more room for others. Certain areas of the park are marked off before each concert to create aisles and provide a more comfortable concert experience and allow for emergency access. Seating in these areas will not be allowed.
Umbrellas, shade tents and other large items are only allowed in the back and along the sides of Discovery Park. Any item found to be obstructing the views of others may be relocated or removed from the event. Smoking, in any form, is not allowed within 15’ of any entrance into a Town of Parker building. During the Free Summer Concert Series, smoking is not allowed within the seating area of any performance.

All shows in the Summer Concert series are held, rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, concert activities will pause until it is determined by event staff that it is safe to continue. Any weather-related actions will be announced through Discovery Park’s public announcement system.

This summer’s line-up includes:

HomeSlice – July 5th at 6pm:
This Denver-based group is a high energy, nine-piece vocal and horn musical powerhouse performing everything from funk to soul, jazz to rock, swing to ballads and old school to modern originals. With their enthusiastic and animated performances, you’re sure to be singing, dancing and laughing right along! HomeSlice has it all.

Soul X – July 12th at 6pm:
Whether it’s current Top 40, Motown, Blues, 80’s, or Country, Funk, Soul X’s high-energy performances featuring exceptional vocals backed by authentic musicianship, bring a rare combination of talent, expertise, versatility, showmanship, and fun to every show

Wash Park – July 19th at 6pm:
Voted as Denver A-List’s #2 Band in the state, Wash Park has been delighting crowds for nearly ten years. This power house of a group features dynamic vocalists, a full horn section, and a rhythm section that delivers an experience like no other. What really sets this band apart is its powerful and faithful reproductions of the horn band era dance music from the 70’s to the top 40 hits of today. With a fully choreographed show, Wash Park is your cure for standard entertainment.

That Eighties Band – July 26th at 6pm:
A local favorite, That Eighties Band’s repertoire covers a vast selection of beloved 80’s songs that will have you up and dancing the minute those familiar tunes start. From the fiery guitar of Van Halen’s “Jump” to the irresistibly catchy Michael Jackson classic “Billy Jean,” or other hits like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Push It,” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” their shows are exciting and glamorous from start to finish. Summer Concert finale

Summer Concert Finale –
Tunisia – August 2nd at 6pm:
The Summer Concert series concludes with Tunisia, a dynamic show that will cover a number of styles, ranging from modern hits to Classic Rock, R&B to Disco, Motown to Hip-Hop, and Standard Jazz to Swing. This talented group features the front line vocals of Orlando Poole, Yvonne Brown, and Stephen Wilburn, along with three horns, and a four piece rhythm section. Their charming enthusiasm, professional choreography, and infections, high energy are the perfect way to close out a season of spectacular shows in Discovery Park!

For more information on the Summer Concert Series or any other their other events, visit parkerarts.org

6 TIPS that will help you become a GRILL MASTER

It’s time to kick up your grill game and our six easy tips can help you do just that. So what are you waiting for, get the grill fired up, invite over some friends and cook up some grub!

Chimney Starter
Skip the toxic charcoal lighter fluid and go with a chimney starter. They are super easy to use and won’t have any of that offensive odor. Simply crumple up some old paper, stuff it in the bottom of the chimney, fill it with charcoal and light the paper. That’s it. After about 15 minutes or so the coals will be ready to rock. Spread them in an even layer in the bottom of your grill.

Get Handsy
Not sure if your grill is hot enough? No worries, that’s why you have a hand. Carefully hold your open palm about 5-6 inches above the grill rack. If you can’t stand the heat for more than 2 seconds then your temp is considered high. 5 seconds of heat and you are in the medium range. If you can keep your hand over for 10 seconds then you are experiencing low heat. Most of all be smart, don’t burn yourself because you can’t cook if you can’t use your hand.

Let’s Keep It Clean
Once your grill is nice and hot, clean it. Use a long handled wired brush made for grills to clean off gunk and debris from your previous meal. When the grill is hot it is easier to clean, so get to it.

Oil It Up
Keeping your grill clean and “seasoned” is imperative. Once it is clean and hot make sure you oil it up before placing your food. Simply take a folded up paper towel and soak it in vegetable oil. Grab it with tongs and rub it back and forth over your grill rack. This will help keep your food from sticking to the rack.

Embrace the Basket
Vegetables and small food can be a real bummer. Don’t get frustrated with them…instead use a grill basket. These miracle workers will save you lots of time and frustration. Just give them a once over with vegetable oil or non-stick spray before each use to keep the sticking to a minimum.

Take It Easy and Give It a Rest
Once your meat is done, give it some time to rest. Place your culinary creation on a platter and tent it with foil for 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow the meat time to distribute all those yummy juices evenly.

Secor

49,000 that’s a staggering number. Especially when you consider that number reflects how many families are in need in our communities. Thousands and thousands, in our neighborhoods, that are already considered to be living in suburban poverty or at risk of living in suburban poverty. For so many, one twist of fate can spiral a situation completely out of control. It could be the loss of a job, unexpected medical bills or another unfortunate circumstance. Whatever the circumstances, people living in 42 different zip codes in Douglas, Arapahoe and Elbert counties are struggling to turn those circumstances around.
SECORCares believes that kids and families in need deserve to be treated with dignity and provides food and financial services to help restore their hope as they strive for a better future.

If you’ve not heard of SECORCares or had the privilege of volunteering with them, their philosophy and practice is different than your typical food bank. At SECOR, guests walk their cart through the aisles of the market to select food for their family. Just like anyone else at a market, shoppers can select items that their family will actually eat as well as plan around any allergies or food sensitivities their family may have.

Helping families through their market and services at their current location off Pine Drive isn’t the only way SECOR reaches the community. Through the Food for Thought Program, SECOR serves 600 children and their families through 15 schools. Services like this are crucial as studies have shown that:
·Hungry children exhibited 7 to 12 times as many symptoms of aggressive behavior than their at-risk or not-hungry peers.

·Hungry children were significantly more likely to receive special education services, to have repeated a grade in school and to have received mental health counseling.

·Hungry children suffer growth impairment that greatly hinders their full physical potential.

·Hungry children are sick more often, and more likely to have to be hospitalized.

Over 30,000 children in Arapahoe, Douglas, and Elbert counties go without food on the weekends, but SECOR, with help from corporate partners and community members are working to change that, but with the need so great, the need for more people to partner with SECOR continues to grow. Right now, SECOR has requests from more than 25 new schools representing more than 1,500 children each week who need help. By partnering with SECOR and Food for Thought, you will help to provide healthy food for the most vulnerable children, giving them meals for the weekend. Each week the leadership and counselors from these schools gives SECOR the names of the most at-risk students. Food for the family is bagged, delivered to the school and discretely distributed to those families, most of the time by a liaison at the school.

In order to continue to serve and enable others to serve, SECOR is breaking ground on a new, much larger facility adjacent to their current location. This new location will allow for 4x the warehouse space, allowing for that much more food storage and the ability to, hopefully, house even more services, such as a possibly providing a local SNAP office (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or other services.

One very exciting new venture that is already in the works is the new Mobile Grocery Market that will be hitting the streets as soon as September. This specially adapted truck will allow those who may not be able to get to SECOR to still have the same opportunity to shop for food for their families. Groceries for 80-100 families can be loaded into the truck and per stop, allowing other programs (churches/outreach programs/food banks) who don’t have the resources or the space to house the volume of food needed to still provide this service to families in need. Once the new warehouse facility is finished and the process is streamlined, SECOR hopes to eventually be able to serve up to 200 families each day the truck goes out.

To keep the market shelves full, more partners are always needed and appreciated. The cost of food has gone up 40% in the last year and where SECOR used to get 85%-95% of food free from partners (stores) that were able to donate, that number has dropped to 40% of the food being donated. Needs for partnerships don’t end there. SECOR is always looking for those willing to lend a hand. Families are welcome to come in together to help. 8-15 year olds must be accompanied by a parent, 16+ can come on their own. Volunteers 18 and under will be helping in the warehouse. Help is appreciated at SECOR as well a at SECOR events. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, call Sarah Piquard – Volunteer Coordinator at 720.651.3207.

The work that SECOR does could fill volumes and the impact their programming is making reaches so many. The domino effect of what SECOR and their partners are doing and what they still plan to do is astounding and will be life changing for so many families and other organizations. To find out more, go to www.secorcares.com. To get involved now, check out all the upcoming events benefitting SECOR!

SECORCares Gala and Auction Sunday, July 29th, 6pm, at the Hilton Denver Inverness Enjoy an amazing meal and bid on fantastic items at the live and silent auction (like an authentic Rolling Stone guitar!) www.classy.org/englewood/events/secorcares-gala-auction-2018/e167959

SECORCares Charity Golf Scramble, July 30th, 10am, The Club at Ravenna (11118 Caretaker Road, Littleton) https://www.classy.org/littleton/events/2018-secorcares-charity-golf-scramble/e167960

August 12th, Six Blocks for SECOR, 2pm at the Parker Fieldhouse

Start training for the 1K! Your $30 entry fee gets you Your Parker 1K T-shirt, Donuts, Pastries, Beer, Pizza, Sliders, AND Wings from amazing local sponsors, Fun on bouncy castle and dunk tank & A DJ and more! Kids under 18 run for free (no t-shirt) if they bring packages of toilet paper for SECORCares’ Market.www.sixblocksforsecor.org

9/16 Grape Stomp to Stomp out Hunger for SECOR, September 16th at Flat Acre Farms Four teams will compete at a time with 90 seconds to stomp. The winner of each heat will advance to the grand championship round held at the end of the day. Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners as well as the best “I LOVE LUCY“ look-alike contest winner. The Stomp will be followed by a delicious Farm to Table meal from Rory’s Diner.
www.secorgrapestomp.com

Douglas County Fair and Rodeo

Dust off your boots, shine your spurs, grab your hat and get ready for one of the most exciting weekends of the year. It’s time for the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo, which is celebrating their 100th anniversary and 100 years of fun this year. Go for the Carnival, stay for the Rodeo and don’t miss anything in between.

Paradise Amusements is offering up another weekend full of the classic fair carnival experience. You can purchase tickets for the Carnival through August 1st; after August 1st, tickets will be available at the Ticket Office during Carnival hours. The Carnival will be open Thursday, August, 2nd from 2pm-10pm, Friday, August 3rd from 2pm-1130pm, Saturday, August 4th from 10am-11:30pm, and Sunday, August 5th, from 10am-4:30pm.

In addition to the fun and games at the Carnival, there are tons of things for the whole family to enjoy that weekend. Check out Discovery Ranch and see what it’s like to be a farmer for the day! Visit the “Feed a Pig” Learning Station, see farm animals up close and personal and more in this interactive, hands-on agricultural area. All these hands-on activities highlight the importance of agriculture.

Want to see what gives the Rodeo it’s get-up-and-go? Check out Beyond the Dirt. This family friendly event gives you a glimpse behind the scenes at the Fair and Rodeo. Meet the animals and rodeo clowns, learn to rope, check out the bucking shoot gate and find out more about the youth organizations that play such an integral role in the Fair and Rodeo. Take part in Beyond the Dirt on Saturday, August 4th, from 12:30-2pm at the Outdoor Arena Warm Up Area.

Feeling a little competitive? Check out the Cricket Races on Friday! Register for this free event at 1pm, get ready to race at 1:30. DO NOT bring your own crickets, they will be provided for you. This event is for kids ages 4-14. Kids of ALL ages can take part in the Pie Eating Contests on Saturday at noon and Sunday at 10am. Entry fees are just $2/person, and the whole family can get in on the fun (and the pie) as there are three ages groups, 12 and under, 13-17 and 18 and up. Another hilarious event both to watch and compete in is the Blindman Tractor Drive.
On Satruday, August 4th, watch (or sign up to be a team) where blindfolded drivers have partners to help them navigate the course; husband wife teams are divided into two categories, those that have been married less than 10 years and those who have been married more than 10 years! Miscellaneous categories are made for Mother/Son, Father/Daughter or Friend teams.

If that’s not enough, there’s still the Goat Costume Contest, Quickdraw Milkout Contest, Vintage Marketplace at the Events Center, Creative arts and open classes, Stick Horse Rodeo, 4-H and FFA Exhibits of livestock, general projects and the Jr. Livestock Sale, Sunday’s Church Service and free Pancake Breakfast and much, much more!

Of course, the weekend isn’t complete until you see the big show, the Rodeo! There’s three 3 PRCA (Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association) Rodeos throughout the weekend. Friday at 7pm is the Patriot Rodeo, honoring veterans and the men and women currently serving in the military. Active and retired military (with ID) will receive 1 free rodeo admission. Wear your red, white and blue to show your support! Saturday at 7pm will be a special performance celebrating the ProRodeo Hall of Fame class of 2018. Several of the inductees will be there to be a part of the evening. Sunday at 1pm is Cowboys for Cops; supporting local law enforcement from the Colorado State Patrol, Douglas County Sheriffs Department, Castle Rock and Parker Police Departments and contributing to their funds for fallen officers. Wear your blue and show your support for these officers and everything they do every day for our communities. Rodeos events include bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, women’s barrel racing, team roping and bull riding. There’s also the Xtreme Bulls event Thursday, August 2nd at 7pm. Xtreme Bulls is often considered the rodeo’s most dangerous event, showcasing the PRCA’s top bull riders and some of the “rankest” bulls on tour. It’s real down and dirty, in-your-face competition. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

Little cowboys and cowgirls can try their hand at riding in the Mutton Bustin’ event. Riders must be ages 5-7 and weigh 55 pounds or less. It’s just $10 per rider, and entries register 1 hour before each scheduled ride. The first 60 kids to register are allowed to ride and the top 10 scores of each Mutton Bustin’ event will have the opportunity to ride in the ticketed performance later the same day. Long sleeved shirts and pants and boots or tennis shoes (no sandals) are required. Safety vests and helmets are provided and must be worn.

With all there is to see and do, it’s impossible not to lasso some fun at the 100th Anniversary of the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo!

To purchase tickets online, go to www.douglascountyfairandrodeo.com/tickets, buy tickets early at the box office or buy at the gate. Grounds Admission and ticketed event tickets go on sale at the Fair Box Office starting August 1st.

“It’s guts and love and glory one mortal’s chance at fame. His legacy is rodeo and cowboy is his name.” –Baxter Black

Local Business Spotlight: BlueMountain Self Storage

BlueMountain Self Storage
10255 Dransfeldt Place, Parker 80134
720.729.0060
www.bluemountainselfstorage.com

Office Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sunday: Closed
Access Hours:
7 Days a Week 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Not every collection is the same, some require some more TLC than others, and your wine collection is certainly no exception. With each bottle comes a story, and what better way to preserve them than with your very own climate controlled wine locker? Instead of taking up precious space within your house, you can ensure these valuables are away from prying hands until the perfect opportunity to pop the cork presents itself. With BlueMountain Self Storage, state of the art storage units are their passion, so you can safely protect yours.

BlueMountain Storage Facility also keeps in mind the community they serve, housing the local nonprofit Parker Secret Closet, Inc. This organization works with volunteers and donors from our Parker community to ensure that a steep price tag does not prevent any girl or guy from taking advantage of all the memories events such as prom or homecoming can create.

With anything from small units for your wine collection to large units to store your business merchandise, Blue Mountain is sure to have a unit to suit your unique needs. With options for covered loading and unloading, climate controlled units, ground level units, and high ceilings, the ability to create the perfect experience will lay at your fingertips. Not to mention, they cater to more than just your storage needs, with a concierge service, on-site conference rooms, and a free business center, they hold superior customer service above all else.
Located (conveniently) next to the Parker Police Station, Blue Mountain boasts of access 7 days a week complete with 24-hour monitoring, digital surveillance, and a tenant protection program. The premises is fully fenced with electronic gate access, motion detecting lighting, and individually alarmed units. Complete with a free moving truck with your move in, a complimentary SecureGuard Lock, and dollies and carts that are always available for your use, BlueMountain seamlessly combines security with service to create the best experience possible.

With both autopay and online payments available, not to mention no admin fees with autopay and military discounts, superior storage at BlueMountain is affordable as well. Their Worry-Free Guarantee allows you to cancel within 5 days of renting your unit for a full refund. Not to mention, If you choose to prepay, you’ll pay only one cent for your first month with the prepayment of your second and third month.

This is NOT your typical self storage. Everything from their facility to their extensive services, on site amenities and state of the art security sets Blue Mountain apart from any other storage service you’ve experienced before. Whether it’s storing your business merchandise, precious personal items or even those rare vintages, go and see for yourself what makes BlueMountain a step above the rest.

Local Business Spotlight: Fred Astaire Dance Studio

Fred Astaire Dance Studio
Mary Jo Hansen
11153 S Parker Rd Suite S
Parker, CO 80134
303-237-3733
fredastaire.com

Open Tues-Fri 12-9 & Sat. 9-5

Fred Astaire once said, “Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained.”
Many of us see professionals or competitors on those popular dance shows on TV and think, that looks like so much fun, but I could never do that! Well Fred Astaire Dance Studio doesn’t think those dancers on the screen should be the ones having all the fun!

Open in Colorado since 1997, and in Parker since 2013, Fred Astaire has been teaching all ages and all levels of students in social and competitive dancing for over twenty years. Owner Mary Jo Hansen, from a small town in Arkansas herself, felt right at home in Parker and knew it was the perfect place to grow her business. When you can take what you are passionate about and make a career out of it, it’s never really work. That’s exactly what Mary Jo did. She wanted to do something fun, she loves to dance and she loves people, so opening Fred Astaire was a perfect fit.

“I enjoy watching people both students and staff grow and feel empowered through dance.”

The instructors at Fred Astaire pride themselves on providing a safe and comfortable environment with a professionally trained staff that can customize tailor made programs to fit any individuals’ or couples’ needs. Our very own Mayor Mike Waid and his lovely wife even took some lessons in order to cut a serious rug on the dance floor at the annual Mayor’s Ball a couple of years ago.

Tempted to give it a try? It’s quite simple to get started with their introductory special or beginners program. They are both designed to give someone a sample of each dance and a sample of the studio and how the instructors teach. The Beginners program is more detailed and designed to help someone start learning the basics while the introductory lessons are just a brief sample of what each dance is all about. If someone is really just ready to start learning, the beginners program is definitely the best option and if someone is still unsure, the introductory program is the way to begin. If you want to make your first dance as a married couple something more than a bit of awkward swaying about the dance floor, Fred Astaire offers a Wedding Program that will give you both the confidence and skill you need to help show off your personal style. Whether you just want to learn a few basic steps or choreograph the entire dance, Fred Astaire’s instructors will guide you every step of the way.

If finding your way around the dance floor is always something you have wanted to try, why wait any longer? Let the instructors at Fred Astaire help you find your way and you may find a new passion in the process!

THE BOOKENDS with Pam and Becky

The Lucky One
By: Nicholas Sparks

When Logan Thibault finds a picture buried in the sand, while stationed in Iraq, his only thought is to find the owner. When the picture is never claimed, this US Marine decides to keep it. As he experiences a sudden streak of luck, his friend Victor tries to convince him that the picture is a lucky charm. Later, after Victor and Logan are back home after numerous tours of duty, Logan decides to look for the beautiful woman in the picture. This journey leads him to Beth, a single mother in North Carolina. They both feel a strong attraction when they meet, but will secrets tear them apart?

Pam: I found this book when I was going through a used book store recently. The story sounded mysterious and romantic and I couldn’t resist. Logan and his dog Zeus walk to North Carolina from Colorado to try to find the subject in the picture. I liked this pair right away and wanted to see Logan find peace and happiness. We meet Logan as he deals with a local deputy who is harassing him after finding him and his dog walking in his county. The deputy had been bothering some college students after secretly taking pictures of them (very creepy), when Logan enters the picture. I loved the way Logan takes care of the situation and felt that this gave us a glimpse of what type of person he was. What was your first impression of Logan?

Becky: I liked the way he handled the situation as well. It made me instantly like him. We don’t know much about Logan at this point but it is clear that he is the ‘good’ guy and the Deputy is the ‘bad’ guy as this story begins. He quickly outwits the Deputy and has now created an enemy in this little town. Each chapter is told from one of three points of view. We have Logan, Deputy Clayton and Beth, the beautiful woman in the picture. Did you feel like the author gave each character its own voice?

Pam: I did feel that each character had its own voice in this story. At the very beginning, I struggled to see where Deputy Clayton fit into the story, but that was quickly established. Not only do we get the opportunity to know the three adults in this relationship, but we also get to know Ben, Beth’s son. Ben was struggling with the different expectations from his mom and dad, who are divorced. Did you feel that Ben was trying to find a relationship with his dad? Or did you feel that he had given up on that idea?
Becky: I think that Ben was trying to keep the peace with his father but they didn’t connect on several levels. His father was unkind to him and made it clear that his son was a disappointment. He also came from a local family that had great influence so both Ben and Beth were subjected to his abuse of power. A character that I thoroughly enjoyed was Beth’s grandmother, Nana. What did you think of this strong woman?

Pam: I loved Nana’s character! She was such a strong support for Beth and Ben and offered a fun, yet stable environment. While Beth felt overwhelmed and doubted herself, Nana believed in her and strengthened her. This strong woman had recently had a stroke and Beth was helping her around the house and with her dog training and kennel business. This may have meant having to quit her teaching job in order to help Nana. But, Logan applied for the kennel job and was quickly hired. Were you surprised that Nana trusted him right away?

Becky: I certainly wouldn’t, but this is a Nicholas Sparks story so I wasn’t surprised at the easy flow of the story. Logan has his well trained dog with him so maybe that made Nana trust him quickly. This book was made into a movie and although I haven’t watched it, Zac Efron was cast to portray Logan. I think that it was a perfect match. Have you watched the movie?

Pam: I have not watched the movie, but after reading the book I think I may have to put it on my list. I imagine this story would make a great movie with some suspense, mystery, and romance! Logan’s dog, Zeus, is an important support for him as he tries to adjust to civilian life after numerous tours of duty with the Marine Corps. Did you expect the author to go deeper into this connection between soldiers and animals and the comfort this relationship can bring?

Becky: I would have enjoyed more information about what life is like for our service men and women when they return from duty. Specifically how a support animal can assist and/or comfort them as they adjust. It would have brought another level of dimension to this story. However, I think that Nicholas Sparks is known for his style of writing that makes for an easy to read novel. Great stories, but he doesn’t go into great depth. What did you think about the ending? Was it what you expected?

Pam: I completely agree with your viewpoint and would have loved a better insight to the relationship between Logan and Zeus. The ending was not what I expected, but it suited the story and satisfied me as a reader. Overall, this book was an enjoyable read. We are going to go in a completely different direction next month! We will follow Yung Kun-ai as he navigates a life of twists and turns as we read Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford.

LOCAL AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Through the Dragon’s Fire by: A.N. MILLER

Amara desires adventure. As an only child to her elderly mother, she toils from dawn until dusk tending wheat fields in the village of Talca. When Amara stumbles upon the magical land of Capria, her dreams become reality. So do her nightmares.

There, Amara uncovers the secrets that have clodud her life for as long as she can remember. She discovers that her father was killed by a monster. Seeking revenge, Amara decides to become a BouldAra- an elite swordsman- and slay the dreaded beast. The king assigns the strict Kadin as her teacher. As time elapses, her ability improves until she is ready to be tested. But the BouldAra’s trial isnt going to be as easy as she hoped…

When Amara makes a major mistake, her world falls apart. If she cant even pass the BouldAra’s test, then how can she possibly kill the Black Dragon, especially since her father-the greatest swordsman of all time- died in the attempt?

Where to purchase:
Amazon.com

Parker Days

It’s summertime in Colorado and that means it’s time for PARKER DAYS, Colorado’s Hometown Festival. Voted “The Best Festival on the Front Range,” Parker Days brings the best of summertime fun right into the heart of Parker. Beginning with the kick off concert Thursday night, the fun continues throughout the weekend for the whole family. Whether you’re a music lover, a thrill seeker or an enthusiastic foodie – Parker Days has something for everyone!

Entrance to the Festival is free, but you may need a bit of a roadmap to plan out your weekend.

Thursday night’s headline concert, which benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, starts with weekend off on just the right note. VIP Ticket holders can head in at 5pm, general admission begins at 6pm and the concert opens at 7pm with The Kory Brunson Band. Headliner Trace Adkins takes the stage later in the evening.

Music continues on the Main Stage throughout the weekend with FREE concerts each day:

Friday 6:00-7:30 PM – The Tom Petty project
8:00-9:30 PM – Project Foreigner
10:00-11:30 PM – Queen Nation

Saturday
12:00-1:00 PM – Mr. Maestik’s 8 Track Revival 1:30-2:30 PM – Steve Thomas Band
4:30-5:30 PM – Walker Williams
6:00-7:30 PM – Mark Powell
8:30-9:30 PM – Sean Curtis & The Divide
10:30-11:30 PM – Buckstein

Sunday
10:00AM-11:30AM – Church Service
brought to you by PEPC Church
12:00-1:30 PM – Running with Scizzors
2:00-3:30 PM – Nacho Men
4:00-5:30 PM – Richie Law
6:00-8:00 PM – Soul X

Both the Pikes Peak Stage and the Community Stage have a full schedule of entertainment throughout the weekend as well. The Pikes Peak Stage features smaller, acoustic style acts and great family entertainment while the Community Stage is your destination for local entertainment for both kids and adults. The stage will include a full line-up of demonstrations, cultural presentations, and performers of all ages and varieties. The Council of Arts, Science and Culture, a local non-profit provides arts programs to kids assists Parker Days in finding great children performers for the Community Stage.

You’re bound to get a bit hungry or be in need of refreshment while you’re enjoying all the amazing entertainment. You’ll found both in abundance at Parker Days! Be sure to purchase food tickets, as no cash is accepted. You can hit up one of the many offerings in the Food Truck Alley, sample delicious carnival fare at from other vendors including bratwurst and sausages, turkey legs and hamburgers, soft pretzels, curly fries, roasted sweet corn and, of course, all kinds of deliciousness served on a stick! Don’t leave your sweet tooth neglected either, be sure to save room for funnel cakes, French macaron ice cream sandwiches, berry kabobs, frozen cheesecake, and handheld pies, just to name a few options. Coca Cola products are available through the festival grounds, unless of course, you desire a little liquid courage to tackle some of those rides! Budweiser brand beers, as well as wine, margaritas, Jack and Cola, Jack and Ginger, daiquiris and more will be served at the Main Stage bar. Make sure to bring your ID as everyone must have proof of age in order to buy alcohol at Parker Days. In addition to the ever-popular Main Stage bar, a second location with alcohol at the festival is at the Pikes Peak Stage and will include microbrew beers, wine and other tantalizing options to choose from while you enjoy the entertainment. (Drinks are 5-7 tickets per drink; no cash is accepted at the bars.) Tickets must be purchased for $1 per ticket (no minimum required) at the ticket kiosks and can be traded for food and drink in the Main Stage and Pikes Peak Stage area. Tickets can be purchased with cash only (no credit cards). ATM’s are on-site in both locations.

Sunday morning, start the last day off right and bring the family out for the Parker Days Festival Pancake Breakfast. From 8:00am-10:00am, the Main Stage hosts the best breakfast in town, and all for a great cause – cash donations for the Pancake Breakfast benefits the Parker Taskforce Food Bank.

Now that the music, food and drink are covered, let’s get right to it, the main attraction of Parker Days, those amazing rides! Parker Days rides will turn you round and round, upside down and right side up again. There are also mazes, fun houses, and haunted houses. Make sure, for your safety, that you wear closed toed shoes if you plan on riding rides. Those in flip flops, bare feet or festival goers in a cast will not be permitted to ride. Tickets for rides ($1 each) can be purchased on site by the ticket or by purchasing carnival passes. A One-Day Carnival Pass is $25, if purchased in advance on the website, or $30 if purchased at the event. Carnival wristband(s) do not include access to Water Balls or Bounce Houses. These items must be purchased separately through the groups running those sections of the festival. Inflatables start at $3/ride (tickets are available for purchase at the entrance to the inflatables) and Waterballs are $10/ride (tickets available for purchase at the entrance to the attraction.)

The little ones who may not be quite tall enough to “ride the ride” can enjoy Kids’ Zone with dozens of festival booths, face painting, music, crafts, the petting zoo, and other fun, including numerous rides for younger children.

For over 40 years, Parker Days has delighted the young and young at heart and served as the unofficial start to summer. The site of that grand Ferris Wheel signals to all of us that the days are getting longer, the weather warmer and the time to get out and enjoy it is here!

Full Festival Hours
Thursday 5pm – 10pm
Headline Concert: 5pm VIP Ticket Holder Access.
6pm General Admission Access. Concert starts at 7pm.
Friday 5pm – Midnight (Booths close at 9pm) Saturday 9am – Midnight (Booths close at 9pm)
Sunday 9am – 10pm (Booths close at 7pm)

Whiskey & Wine Hours
Friday 5pm – 10pm, Saturday 10am – 10pm
Sunday -10am – 7pm

Carnival Hours
Thursday 5pm – 10pm, Friday 5pm – Midnight
Saturday 10am – Midnight, Sunday 10am – 10pm

For detailed information, maps and to buy tickets online, go to parkerdaysfestival.com