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Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos cultural celebration

Halloween may be almost behind us but the the 7th annual Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos cultural celebration is Saturday, November 4, 12-5 p.m., at McAllister Park Center, 750 W. 96th Ave., in Thornton. This popular Mexican holiday celebration is a family-friendly event to remember and honor deceased loved ones with food, flowers, music, and mementos. It’s presented by Thornton’s Arts & Culture Division and Thornton Arts Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO).

“TASHCO and Thornton have partnered again with the Mexican Cultural Center, as well as with various local artists and small businesses so the community can gather and celebrate this festive holiday,” says Thornton Arts & Culture Manager Alisa Zimmerman. “We are looking forward to another year of record attendance and are encouraging everyone to return for more fun activities and food on this special day.”

Activities include:

  • face-painting
  • music by Elisa Garcia and Mariachi Sangre Mexicana
  • Thornton youth and Fiesta Colorado dancer
  • a stilt walker
  • art market
  • ancestor altar
  • photo booth
  • food trucks
  • Catrina costume contest with prizes.

New this year is the Butterfly Pavilion with their monarch butterfly information table. These butterflies are native to Mexico and are believed by some to represent the souls of the dead returning to visit the living on the Day of the Dead. The event is free except for face-painting and food vendors. Activities will take place indoors and outdoors.

Event sponsors include TASHCO and the Mexican Cultural Center with funding from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and the city of Thornton. This event is subject to change. For updates or additional information, visit, or call 720-977-5887.


Denver middle schoolers can receive $1,000 for afterschool programs

 In a kids town hall meeting, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced My Spark Denver, a new pilot program that will provide 4,000 Denver Public Schools (DPS) middle school students with $1,000 to enroll in afterschool programs. As students enroll in participating programs, My Spark Denver will invest $4 million in after-school activities. 

“Many of us have a story about the activities we loved as kids. For me, my spark was soccer and theater. I didn’t become a professional athlete or actor, but the lessons of teamwork and collaboration have stayed with me,” said Mayor Mike Johnston. “While my administration takes on the urgent issues of ending homelessness and ensuring public safety, My Spark Denver addresses many of the underlying causes of these issues by investing in the wellbeing of young people now to help them weather life’s storms and build positive connections to their community.”

Mayor Johnston and City Council Members Chris Hinds and Diana Romero Campbell heard from middle school students about their interests and favorite afterschool activities. The students, some of whom are enrolled in My Spark Denver, also asked city leaders about how they’re including youth perspectives in policy-making, reducing stigma and finding joy in supporting youth mental health, and creating spaces where young people feel safe. Mayor Johnston also addressed students’ concerns on important issues in the city like homelessness and safety.

Participation in afterschool programs improves youth self-confidence, self-awareness and positive social behaviors. However, nearly 60% of parents say the high cost of afterschool programs keeps them from enrolling their kids.

“Parents often echo what the research tells us – that their child discovers something new about themselves through dance, that a new friendship is formed thanks to chess or that a kid builds confidence through sports. These experiences aren’t nice to have but critical to youth wellbeing and mental health,” said Angie McPhaul, Director of Youth Success at Gary Community Ventures. “This is a community-led effort and one step closer to making it possible for every child to pursue their passions and find their spark.”

Parents can apply for My Spark Denver on Once approved, parents will receive a debit card with $1,000 in funding that can only be used to enroll their child in a participating My Spark Denver afterschool program. More than 100 providers are participating and offering activities that range from art, sports, chess, tutoring, dance, martial arts and music. These offerings continue to grow as new providers join the program. The 2023-2024 school year is the first year during which My Spark Denver has been piloted. Researchers will study the outcomes of the program and advisory groups composed of community leaders, kids, parents and afterschool providers will inform My Spark Denver’s development.

Watch this live carving of a giant pumpkin at Botanic Gardens!

Do you want an extra memorable Halloween? 

Sweet Love, one of the largest pumpkins grown in Colorado, will be carved at Denver Botanic Gardens’ York Street location by professional carver Willy Tuz on Halloween day. The pumpkin weighs 1,687 pounds and was grown in Parker, Colorado by Chad New. Tuz, who carved many of the pumpkins on display at the recent Glow at the Gardens, will create an etched botanical design.

Visitors are invited to watch the live carving and access to the pumpkin is included with general admission. Advance tickets are encouraged. 

WHEN: Tuesday, October 31, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., weather dependent.
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver, 80206. The pumpkin is on the concrete pad at the top of the UMB Amphitheater.

ABOUT DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS: Green inside and out, Denver Botanic Gardens began in 1951 and is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the United States and a pioneer in water conservation. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Gardens’ living collections encompass specimens from the tropics to the tundra, showcasing a plant palette chosen to thrive in Colorado’s semi-arid climate. The Gardens is a dynamic, 24-acre urban oasis in the heart of the city, offering unforgettable opportunities to flourish with unique garden experiences for the whole family 

Our favorite family finds in Littleton, Colorado

Littleton, Colorado offers a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions that are perfect for a fun day out with your loved ones.

Here are some ideas for year-round family fun in Littleton.

Family fun in Littleton, Colorado

  1. Hudson Gardens: This beautiful botanical garden is a great place for families to explore nature. You can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, have a picnic, or attend one of their special events like Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns.
  2. Chatfield State Park: Located just southwest of Littleton, Chatfield State Park offers opportunities for hiking, biking, picnicking, and water sports. You can also visit the Chatfield Farms area, which features a working farm, historic cabins, and a children’s play area. Don’t miss all the fun fall pumpkin festivals. 
  3. Aspen Grove: This open-air shopping center in Littleton often hosts family-friendly events and has a movie theater where you can catch the latest family films. It’s also a great place for shopping and dining.
  4. SeaQueset Littleton is the ultimate sea and land adventure with a premier aquarium and unique animal interactions.
  5. Downtown Littleton: Stroll through historic downtown Littleton, which features charming shops, galleries, and restaurants. There’s often live music and community events taking place here.
  6. Littleton Museum: This living history museum is a fantastic place for kids to learn about the history of Littleton. It features two historic farms, a working blacksmith shop, and exhibits about the area’s past.
  7. Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center: Beat the summer heat by visiting this water park in Englewood, which is not far from Littleton. It has water slides, a lazy river, and a children’s play area.
  8. South Platte Park and the Carson Nature Center: Explore the natural beauty of the South Platte River area. There are walking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and the Carson Nature Center, which offers educational exhibits and programs for children. Featured image: Enjoy a story in their nature center’s reading lodge that was chewed by actual beavers!
  9. Bowles Grove Park: This park has a playground, picnic areas, and plenty of open space for outdoor activities. It’s a great spot for a family picnic or a game of frisbee.
  10. Skate City Littleton is a roller skating rink located in Littleton, Colorado, USA. It’s a popular destination for roller skating enthusiasts of all ages. The facility typically offers roller skating sessions, including open skate times, themed skate nights, and special events. 
  11. Bemis Public Library: Littleton’s public library often hosts family-friendly events, storytimes, and workshops. It’s a great place to encourage reading and learning in your children.
  12. Littleton’s Western Welcome Week: If you happen to be in Littleton during Western Welcome Week in August, be sure to check out the various family-oriented events and parades that celebrate the city’s heritage.
  13. Robert F. Clement Park is known for its beautiful setting and various recreational amenities. Some of the notable features of the park include a large lake with a walking path around it, picnic areas, playgrounds, a skate park, and sports fields.

Remember to check the operating hours and availability of these attractions, as they may vary depending on the season and any local restrictions or guidelines. Littleton offers plenty of opportunities for family fun, whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply enjoying some quality time together.

Deals: Free uber, Chipotle, pumpkin discount and more

How much do you decorate for Halloween? Does it matter if it falls in the middle of the week? While chatting with some friends – some said they only decorate a little – like a pumpkin or two and that’s it. While the other goes all out and sets up a whole skeletal scene in the front yard. But the one that said she only is doing the pumpkin says she is only doing it that way because it falls on a Tuesday. Does the day of week matter to you?

King Soopers Pumpkin. King Soopers is offering Large Pumpkins for just $2.99. So if you have not gotten yours yet – get one now!

Firehouse Subs. October 28 is National First Responders Day – but all week long Firehouse Subs will offer a buy one get one deal to first responders starting on October 29 who are in uniform and show their valid ID.

Outlets of Castle Rock. The Outlets of Castle Rock have a lot going on this weekend! The Boo Bash will take place on Saturday, October 28 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. with all kinds of family fun including Trick or Treating, Pictures with Big Jack (the Giant Pumpkin), Halloween Scavenger Hunt, Festive treats, and a Spooky Selfie Station. Join the Biggest Caramel Apple Making party at 11:00 a.m. ($20 per person) to make your very own spooky apple.

Free Ride. If you are out having adult fun October 27 – 31. Don’t drink and drive! Sawaya Law firm says you can send them your receipt for a cab, uber or lift to be reimbursed (limit 1 ride).

Chipotle.  Gone is the BOOrito – but Chipotle still wants to offer you a special. Get an entrée for just $6 on Halloween night from 3 p.m. to closing. This offer is valid only for digital orders.

Hollister.  Jeans are on sale at Holiister with Men’s and Women’s jeans for as low as $19.99. Plus, you can get an additional 15% discount at checkout (making them only $16.99) – no promo code necessary.

QVC NFL Hooded Sweatshirts. My mom is a big QVC shopper and my son a huge NFL fan. She sent me a deal for NFL Full Zip Hooded Sweatshirts only $33.48  (use promo code HOLIDAY20).  They have all the NFL teams available and in sizes small to 5 XL.  

McDonald’s.  Mcdonald’s is getting in the Halloween fun too with the pails for the kid’s meals returning! Plus, you can get treat packs for Halloween for just $1! And there appears to be a buy one get one free chicken nuggets promotion (available at limited locations).  

Sonic. Sonic is giving you half off (small and medium) Sonic Blasts from October 25-27. Use the promo code SPOOKY when you order in the app. If you are at Sonic on Halloween night you can get a corn dog for just 50 cents!

Yogurtland. Yogurtland is having Fan Appreciation Day with FREE frozen yogurt on October 30. It is a buy one get one free offer for Real Rewards Members (join free) available in stores only (not online or delivery)

 Krispy Kreme. On Halloween wear your costume to Krispy Kreme for a free donut.

7-Eleven. If you’ve not already joined the loyalty program – maybe these deals, just for loyalty members will entice you: October 30 & 31 buy a large pizza get another large pizza for free; October 25-31 for just $1 each choose standard size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Starburst, Nerds Ropes and more. For a limited time, enjoy the Mtn Dew Pitch Black Slurpee (smalls are just $1 each).

IHOP. IHOP has its Scary Face Pancakes once again. Between October 24 and 31 get free scary face pancakes for the kids with the purchase of an adult entrée between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Shake Shack. From now to November 30 head to Shake Shack to get a buy-one-get-one shake any day between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Free Days. Our free days list has been updated! Mark this page to see free days this week.              

GetOutPass. Get HUGE discounts on Denver’s best attractions including Downtown Aquarium, Bandimere Speedway, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, ice rinks, bowling and more. Find out what the weekly GETOUTPASS discount

13 best tips for new moms: from routines to self-care to delegation

Adjusting to life with a new baby can be both incredibly rewarding and challenging. It’s a major life transition that requires physical, emotional, and logistical adjustments. Here are some tips to help you navigate this exciting but often demanding time:

Tips for New Moms

  1. Accept Help: Don’t hesitate to accept help from family and friends. They can assist with tasks like cooking, cleaning, or running errands, allowing you to focus on your baby and yourself.
  2. Prioritize Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is essential. Get enough rest, eat well, and make time for relaxation when possible. Nap when your baby naps, and don’t be too hard on yourself if the house isn’t perfectly clean.
  3. Create a Routine: Babies thrive on routines. Establish a consistent daily schedule for feeding, napping, and bedtime. This will help your baby feel more secure and make it easier for you to plan your day.
  4. Communicate with Your Partner: Maintain open and honest communication with your partner. Discuss how you’ll share responsibilities, whether it’s baby care, household chores, or emotional support.
  5. Seek Support: Joining a new parents’ support group or connecting with other new parents can provide valuable advice, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging during this time.
  6. Learn About Infant Development: Understanding your baby’s developmental milestones and needs can help you respond to their cues more effectively and reduce frustration. Check out the bestseller Caring for Your Baby and Young Child
  7. Practice Patience: Parenthood is a learning curve, and there will be challenging moments. Be patient with yourself and your baby. It’s okay to ask for help or take a break when you need it.
  8. Delegate Tasks: Delegate responsibilities and tasks to other family members when possible. If you have older children, involve them in caring for their new sibling to foster a sense of responsibility and bonding.
  9. Maintain Your Relationships: Don’t forget about your relationships with friends and family. While your baby will require a lot of attention, maintaining connections with loved ones can provide emotional support.
  10. Take Time for Bonding: Spend quality time bonding with your baby through skin-to-skin contact, cuddling, and talking to them. These interactions are essential for their emotional development.
  11. Plan Ahead: Plan ahead for outings or events to minimize stress. Make sure you have all the essentials packed in your diaper bag and a plan for feeding and napping while you’re out.
  12. Accept Change: Recognize that your life will change significantly with a baby, and it’s okay to mourn the loss of some aspects of your pre-baby life. Embrace the new experiences and joys that parenthood brings.
  13. Ask for Professional Help: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Postpartum depression and anxiety are common and treatable. Reach out to the Colorado Chapter of Postpartum Support International

Remember that adjusting to life with a new baby is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes and learn as you go. Trust your instincts as a parent, and don’t forget to cherish the precious moments with your little one. You’ve got this, Mamas! 

 Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

What should I do when my kids talk back to me?

It seems almost as soon as kids start talking (and even long before) they start forming strong opinions. But what should you do when those opinions turn to sass?

Dealing with children who talk back can be a challenging aspect of parenting, but it’s important to handle it in a constructive and supportive way.  Be sure to check out How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk and also these helpful steps. 

  1. Stay Calm: It’s essential to remain calm when your child talks back. Responding with anger or frustration can escalate the situation and make it harder to resolve.
  2. Listen Actively: Try to understand why your child is talking back. Are they feeling frustrated, misunderstood, or upset? Listen to their perspective before responding.
  3. Set Clear Expectations: Ensure your child understands the rules and expectations for behavior in your household. Be consistent in enforcing these rules and consequences for breaking them.
  4. Use Positive Communication: Model respectful communication by using “I” statements and a calm tone. For example, say, “I feel hurt when you talk to me that way” instead of becoming confrontational.
  5. Offer Choices: Giving your child some degree of autonomy can help reduce the likelihood of them talking back. Offer choices within reasonable boundaries to help them feel more in control.
  6. Teach Problem-Solving Skills: Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns in a respectful manner. Teach them how to find solutions to problems rather than resorting to talking back.
  7. Ignore Mild Backtalk: If the backtalk is minor and not disrespectful, you can choose to ignore it rather than engaging in a power struggle. This can discourage the behavior if it doesn’t get a reaction.
  8. Set Consequences: Be clear about the consequences of disrespectful behavior. For example, if your child talks back, they might lose privileges or have a timeout. Be consistent in enforcing consequences.
  9. Praise Good Behavior: Reinforce positive behavior by praising and rewarding your child when they communicate respectfully and follow the rules.
  10. Lead by Example: Children often mimic the behavior they see in their parents. Make sure you model respectful communication in your interactions with others.
  11. Seek Professional Help: If talking back becomes a chronic and severe issue that disrupts family life or your child’s well-being, consider seeking guidance from a child psychologist or therapist.

Remember that talking back is often a normal part of a child’s development as they assert their independence and test boundaries. Be patient and understanding while guiding them toward more respectful communication.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

Is your child anxious? Help them manage it effectively

Dealing with anxious children requires patience, understanding, and a supportive approach. Anxiety in children is a common issue, but with the right strategies, you can help them manage their anxiety effectively. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn about childhood anxiety, its common signs, and symptoms. Understanding what your child is going through will help you provide better support. A great book for kids is Anxiety Relief Workbook for Kids: 40 Mindfulness, CBT, and ACT Activities to Find Peace from Anxiety and Worry
  2. Open Communication: Create an environment where your child feels comfortable talking about their feelings. Encourage them to express their worries and fears without judgment. Listen attentively and validate their emotions.
  3. Maintain Routine: Consistency and structure can help reduce anxiety in children. Stick to a regular daily routine for meals, bedtime, and activities. Predictability can provide a sense of security.
  4. Teach Relaxation Techniques: Teach your child simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation. Practice these techniques together, so they can use them when they feel anxious. Yoga for Children has 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children.
  5. Positive Reinforcement: Praise and encourage your child’s efforts to confront their fears or worries. Focus on their bravery and progress, no matter how small.
  6. Avoid Avoidance: While it’s natural to want to protect your child from distress, avoiding anxiety-inducing situations can reinforce their anxiety. Gradually expose them to the situations that trigger their anxiety in a controlled and supportive manner.
  7. Limit Media Exposure: Be mindful of the media your child consumes, including TV, movies, and the Internet. Some content can be anxiety-provoking, so monitor and limit their exposure to distressing or violent content.
  8. Healthy Lifestyle: Ensure your child gets enough sleep, eats a balanced diet, and engages in regular physical activity. These factors can have a significant impact on their mood and overall well-being.
  9. Professional Help: If your child’s anxiety is severe or persistent, consider seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or child psychologist. They can provide specialized interventions and strategies.
  10. Lead by Example: Show your child how to manage stress and anxiety by modeling healthy coping mechanisms. Children often learn from observing their parents.
  11. Promote Social Connections: Encourage your child to spend time with friends and engage in social activities. Positive social interactions can help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
  12. Be Patient: Overcoming anxiety takes time. Be patient and understanding. Celebrate even small victories, and reassure your child that you are there to support them.

Remember that every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Tailor your approach to your child’s specific needs and consult with professionals if you have concerns about their anxiety. Your consistent support and understanding can make a significant difference in helping them manage their anxiety effectively.

 Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

Invent your own treats at this Denver dessert shop

Ice creams! Candies! Composed desserts! Hip, colorful shop!

All those sugarplums no longer need to just dance in your mouth–now, your imagination can run wild straight into your mouth.

There’s always something fantastically wacky and wonderful to try at this bewitching West Highland dessert emporium from Ian Kleinman, a molecular magician and science lab conjurer who schooled Denver in crazy-cool things like Twizzler space foam, exploding whipped cream, spun sugar, candy corn powder, clouds of smoke and pomegranate fizz pop-rocks — tricks that reach way beyond Willy Wonka’s fictional candy factory.

Reserved tickets, available on the Inventing Room website, are required to enter the dessert wonderland, which plays host to themed cooking demonstrations and small group tasting tours that commence in a bounty of sweet and savory treats that will blow your mind. Regular food is served as well! Try the Grilled Beef Slider with Fresh Mozzarella & Freeze-Dried Tomato Marinara or Spicy Chicken Wonton Taco with Marinated Cabbage & Soy Caviar.

Inventing room Denver

Liquid Nitrogen Mocktails for Kids are always a fun surprise. Choose from the Blackberry & Lime Soda with Lavender Ice Cubes; Frozen Hot Chocolate with Exploding Whipped Cream; Butter Beer Float with Butterscotch Soda; Mango & Peach Smoothie; Strawberry Slushy with Mint Condensed Milk.

Inspired by the whimsy in the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie, where Violet turns violet; The “Inventing Room” was a whimsical dessert and culinary experience concept created by Chef Ian Kleinman, known for his avant-garde approach to food and desserts. It gained popularity in Denver, Colorado. The Inventing Room offered unique and interactive dining experiences, often featuring molecular gastronomy techniques to create innovative dishes and desserts.

NEW TO THE INVENTING ROOM: Mobile Nitro Chef Station.  They are no longer tethered to a table at events –  they can roam with your guests, serving their unique liquid nitrogen treats. The mobile chef station is best suited for larger events of 75+ guests & the menu can change as the event continues. 

Our favorite family adventures in Evergreen, Colorado

Just a stone’s throw away from Denver, Evergreen, Colorado is a beautiful mountain town tucked in the foothills. It offers a wide range of fun activities and attractions for visitors and residents alike.

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Evergreen.

Family fun in Evergreen, Colorado

  1. Evergreen Lake: Evergreen Lake is a popular spot for outdoor recreation. You can go fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, or ice skating, depending on the season. The lake is surrounded by picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains. Favorite tip: Be sure to check out the lake’s popular New Year’s Eve celebrations with ice skating, fireworks and more. 
  2. Elk Meadow Park: This park offers hiking and mountain biking trails, making it a great place to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. You might even spot some wildlife, including elk and deer. Try the easy 2.6-mile South Loop with your littles. 
  3. Evergreen Nature Center: Learn more about the local wildlife and natural history at the Evergreen Nature Center. They often have educational programs and exhibits for both kids and adults. Kids will love the Touch Table with real animal furs and antlers, and grown-ups will enjoy the animal and bird displays. Hours vary so be sure to call before visiting.
  4. Downtown Evergreen: The downtown area is quaint and charming, with unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. It’s a great place to stroll, shop for souvenirs, or enjoy a meal. Our family favorites include Beau Jo’s pizza and The Wild Game Entertainment Experience with a bowling alley amd video game zone. 
  5. Evergreen Golf Course: If you enjoy golf, the Evergreen Golf Course offers a scenic and challenging 18-hole course surrounded by the beauty of the Colorado Rockies.
  6. StageDoor Theatre: Check out a live performance at the StageDoor Theatre, which hosts a variety of plays and musicals throughout the year. Upcoming performances include Cinderella and Mary Poppins Jr., Rock of Ages and Legally Blonde. 
  7. Evergreen Artists Association: If you appreciate art, visit the Evergreen Artists Association, which showcases the work of local artists in various mediums. Check out the arts festival every August. 
  8. Breweries and Wineries: Evergreen has a few breweries and wineries where you can sample locally crafted beverages. It’s a great way to unwind and socialize.
  9. Evergreen Lake House: The Evergreen Lake House is a popular venue for weddings and events. Even if you’re not attending an event, it’s worth visiting to admire the stunning lakeside setting.
  10. Hiking: Evergreen is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails for all skill levels. Some popular trails include Three Sisters Park which has stunning vistas, landmark rock formations, beautiful old stands of ponderosa pine and the most trails per acre of any foothills park. Maxwell Falls, a 4.1-mile hike that follows Maxwell Creek. Bergen Peak, a challenging 4.6-mile climb. 
  11. Evergreen Rodeo: If you visit during June, you might catch the annual Evergreen Rodeo, which features rodeo events, a parade, and more.
  12. Concerts and Festivals: Keep an eye out for concerts, festivals, and other events happening in Evergreen throughout the year. These can provide great entertainment and a chance to mingle with the local community.

Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural activities, or simply enjoying the stunning mountain scenery, Evergreen, Colorado has something fun for everyone to enjoy.

Image: Evergreen Chamber of Commerce