Held every year, the Kitchens with Altitude tour supports the Junior League of Colorado Springs, an organization that promotes volunteerism and developing women's potential throughout the Pikes Peak region through its charitable showcase of the region's most sophisticated residential kitchens. Tour-goers journey through a self-guided tour of the area's most upscale neighborhoods, scoping out gleaming appliances and getting marooned on elegant islands of marble and oak. At various homes along the path, the day's culinary odyssey will cover current trends in tabletop design and floral arrangements as well as cooking demonstrations and food and drink samples from renowned local chefs as they shout monosyllabic catchphrases at their ingredients. All tour proceeds support projects and programs benefiting women and children in El Paso County and the Junior League's Fantasy Flight and Kids in the Kitchen programs.
A Hirschfield-style line drawing of George Burns dominates the brick wall of the Loonees stage. The good-natured caricature–complete with the comedian's trademark round glasses and enormous cigar–watches over modern comics as they launch their best lines into the crowd, from Saved By the Bell alumnus Dustin Diamond to hyperactive J.J. "Dy-no-mite!" Walker from Good Times. Appetizers, sandwiches, and desserts comprise the menu, which visitors peruse before the spotlight sets the stage aglow.
Sensory overload is the stock and trade at Rawkus. The massive venue, sporting 13,000 square feet for hundreds of regular-shaped feet to stand in, carries electronic accoutrements that range from a surrealistic laser system to a pro audio system for transcendent evenings out. While sprinkling its schedule with DJs, dance parties, and rock acts, the venue also serves beer and liquor from its bar and snacks from its kitchen.
In 1984, against the advice of certain friends and family members, a man named Frankie opened a pub on the East Side of Colorado Springs. He began with little more than a small storefront and a chalkboard on which he scrawled the day's burgers and sandwiches. But over the next three decades, to the surprise of everyone except the people who ate Frankie's food, the bar doubled in size. Frankie opened a patio, installed big-screen TVs, and, with the help of his wife—who was once just one of his patrons—began printing real menus. Today, Frankie keeps his visitors full with burgers, steaks, hand-battered onion rings, and other pub eats—most of which are recipes he's been making for years and some of which were inspired by dreams about storm clouds raining nacho cheese.
But Frankie's isn't just about food and beer, it's also about community. Throughout football season, his TVs broadcast the professional and college-level games in College Tickets, games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday Tickets and ESPN's Gameplan package, ranging from regular-season match-ups to special conference games. And every Saturday, live music draws newly formed friends to the dance floor, keeping them moving long into the night.
Mark and Dorie Wexler—along with a staff of instructors that hail from Panama, Brazil, and Peru—enthusiastically spread the irresistible rhythm of Latin beats through their signature Zumba and salsa classes, earning their Colorado Avenue location the title of Best Dance Studio from Colorado Springs Independent in 2011 as well as Best Adult Dance Studio from the Gazette in 2010. The Wexlers view dance as a form of fitness rather than one of competition, allowing students to enjoy themselves and experiment without the fear of being rated or punched in the knees by ornery judges.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their child’s development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.