Skip out of work early and head over to Colorado College for a lecture, "Islam and Democracy: Some Bittersweet Lessons from Indonesia and Beyond," led by Robert Hefner, professor of anthropology at Boston University. Admit it, this is a super interesting topic, and you really should go, if only to understand what those experts are talking about on NPR. Besides, it'll impress the co-workers at the water cooler on Friday morning. The event is at Gates Common Room, in Palmer Hall on the CC Campus from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Call 389-6607 for more.
Wrangle up your favorite buckaroo and haul on over to the NMRA Rodeo and County Fair in Westcliffe. Tickets are $4 for kids, $5 for seniors and $7 for adults. From 1 to 6 p.m., witness children with belt buckles the size of dinner plates take on events like mutton bustin', junior steer riding, and calf scrambling. Throw in some adult bull ridin' and wild horse racin' and you've got yourself a day. If you've got on your good boots, the rodeo dance tonight featuring live music by Midnight Rain is for you ($7 singles and $10 couples). You just might find yourself ridin' home with a T-shirt emblazoned "Real women marry cowboys." Call the Custer County Chamber of Commerce at 719/783-9163 for more info on the events, which run Friday to Sunday.
Sick of building those tepees in your living room from blankets and broomsticks? If you're over the age of 8, for only $5 you can spend three hours learning about the Ute Indians of the Pikes Peak region while hiking and working to build a Ute tepee. Meet at Helen Hunt Falls (4075 North Cheyenne Cañon Road) at 10 a.m. Call 633-5701 for more.
Back after a few years' hiatus due to dry weather, wilderness survival expert and author Cattail Bob will lead you to discover, identify and categorize local wild medicinal herbs. Meet at Sage Woman Herbs (308-A S. 8th St.), and for only $19, travel to altitudes high and low from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn about wild poisonous plants, wild edibles, eco-harvesting and the preparation and use of medicinal herbs. How could you go wrong on an herb walk led by a guy named Cattail Bob? Call 473-9702 to reserve your space.
If you desire the essence of the outdoors, but hate that dirt underneath your fingernails, maybe the Bear Creek Nature Center's Classical Strings Open House (245 Bear Creek Road) will be more up your alley. Enjoy the sounds of the Classical Strings Quartet, refreshments by the creek and a variety of new exhibits featuring Colorado wildlife. You could also take a self-led hike through the trails, but hey, no pressure. All this for free, from 1 to 3 p.m. Call 520-6387 for more.
Cool off in the adobe interior of El Tesoro, the pretty little New Mexican eatery down by Antlers Park, have lunch or dinner, and enjoy the exhibit of oil paintings by George Sanchez and hand-carved woodworks by Marc Shereck. The restaurant/gallery is open from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5:30-9 p.m. for dinner. Gallery browsers are welcome any time. Call 471-0106 for more
You can always count on the Old Colorado City Historical Center (1 S. 24th St.) to bring oft-overlooked treasures to your attention. Today, Michael and Patricia Olsen share their knowledge of Pioneers on the Santa Fe Trail such as a U.S. Army wife, Owl Woman and a boy who hunted buffalo with the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia when he was only 13 years old. You're interested already, aren't you? Donations are welcome, and the door opens at 6:30 p.m. with talks to begin at 7 p.m. Call 636-1225 for more.
Nothing smells quite like abstract expressionism in the morning. Join guest curator of the exhibition, Hunter Frost, for a gallery walk through the exhibit Emerson Woelffer: Life in the Abstract at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St.). Included in the museum's admission price of $5 for adults, $3 for seniors over 62 and $2 for kids 6-16, the tour at 10:30 a.m. follows the life of this modernist who was head of the Fine Arts Center's art school from 1950 to 1957 as well as a famed artist of his movement. Call 634-5583 for more.
Following the gallery walk, march downtown to Acacia Park for the Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society's Brown Bag Lunch Series. Today's concert features the 312th Army Band from Lawrence, Kan. John Philip Sousa guaranteed.
Pack a picnic, grab those nifty fold-up camping chairs and bring the whole family down to Acacia Park for the Pikes Peak Blues Community's Thursday night concert series. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the kids can frolic in the psychedelic Wilber fountain and get their faces painted or have a balloon fashioned to fit around their head. You get to enjoy the stylings of Metro Blues while you eat your sandwich. Or even easier, buy a sauce-slathered meal on a bun from Front Range BBQ. If it rains, no fear, the Wayfarer (520 S. Tejon St.) will host the event instead. Call 685-1861 ext. 42 for more.
-- Sara Gallagher