Learn about the dulcimer, staple of traditional American music, at workshops and performances this weekend at the free Mountain Music Festival at Soda Springs Park (Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs). Nashville recording star and guitarist Michael Johnson performs Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m., and seasoned practitioners of the dulcimer, hammered and otherwise, will strum from 5 to 9 Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Call 685-9655 for a schedule and more.
If hip-hop is the new folk music, then folk is the new hip-hop -- which means it's hot to hit up Rock Ledge Ranch (off 30th Street next to Garden of the Gods) for their free bluegrass, gospel and old-time music starting at 7 p.m. The Sons and Brothers Band of Westcliffe won the National Bluegrass Playoffs this year at the Huck Finn Jubilee Music Festival with their mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocal harmonies. If you want to get down, bring something to sit on and a flashlight. Call 578-6777 for more.
Why did the fungi leave the party? Because there wasn't mushroom. Ahem. The Pikes Peak Mycological Society hosts the seventh annual Mushroom Fair at Fountain Creek Nature Center (320 Pepper Grass Lane) from 9 a.m. to noon. You can pluck the plentiful specimens from your back yard and have them identified and displayed, or learn all about fungi and mushroom identification as you view over 90 species of wild mushrooms at the park. Call 520-6745 for more.
Bring the Pepto-Bismol. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Memorial Park, join the Look What's Cookin' Chili Cook-Off and support a good cause -- Workout Ltd., a nonprofit working with juvenile offenders for restorative justice. You can enter in the green, red or vegetarian category, or simply come and taste. It's $30 per entry and tasting is three tickets for a dollar, each taste a ticket. Call 471-4200 for more.
What would Colorado Springs be without Independent Records? Don't ask. Tonight, celebrate the counterculture (no pun intended) bastion's 25th birthday at the Independent Records Birthday Bash at 32 Bleu (32 S. Tejon St.) featuring local bands Leer 43, Porcelain Hand Jive, Black Pegasus and others. Go to www.32bleu.com for more.
Thirty-five years ago this month, a group formed to defend the natural and cultural resources of the forest near Florissant. They protected the ancient fossil beds from real estate developers who wanted to build a subdivision there. Now, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (15807 Teller County Road 1) provides education, enjoyment and inspiration for our lives and the future. You can celebrate the accomplishments of the Monument and its proponents as well as the beauty of the land today at their 35th Anniversary Weekend with special events all day. Call 748-3253 for directions or details.
The ARTSpace Gallery at the Hillside Community Center (925 S. Institute St.) hosts an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. for Es Una Celebracion de Arte Hispano, an exhibit celebrating the work of local Hispanic artists Carlos O. Castillo, Armando Olivero and Petra Goodman. The show is up until Oct. 17; gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Call 385-7900 for more.
If it seems like the summer keeps getting shorter and the school year keeps getting longer, that's because they are. And that's why you need to rage and rock against the dying of the daylight at the Back to School Concert at 32 Bleu (32 S. Tejon St.) tonight and tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Tonight's show features Tricklife and Colonial Excess, and tomorrow showcases Bobby Doran, Settlement Orange and Acquiesce. There's a lot of injustice out there kids, but the biggest injustice of all is letting the man keep you from your ROCK. Call 955-5664 for more.
Get thee to the library (East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd.), any time between today and Sept. 30 to see an exhibit of legendary Springs photographer Myron Wood's black-and-white cityscapes, Myron Wood: New York Photos 1962-1981. The Pikes Peak Library District houses the entire catalog of Wood's long lifetime of work, and this is a rare opportunity to see a piece of it. Don't miss it.
I don't care what any of u say, Clay Aiken is like the most talented singer ever! He is super cool and he loves animals and he totally should have beat Ruben in last year's Idol!!! I mean, Clay has a way better range and he is totally cute and I am sooooo going to his show 2nite at 8 p.m. at the Colorado State Fair Events Center (1001 Beulah Ave., Pueblo) so I can tell him how awesome he is and that I totally love it when he crinkles up his nose. Do you want to come 2? Do you think ur mom can drive us? Call Ticketmaster at 520-9090 if you want to go. I mean it ... call me later!
-- Sara Gallagher