1 Sep
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Pallet Fest 2015

Cities and I have a precarious relationship. I like the idea of visiting a city, but inevitably, the closer we are to a city the more my desire to visit fades. Traffic makes me antsy. Crowds make me anxious. The abundant choices are overwhelming. I can only handle a city for a long weekend before I have to search for open spaces and less traffic.

I do enjoy the novelty a city offers. I crave the unique and free-spirited. I like hearing people’s stories that are markedly different from my own. Cities expose my children to more options on how to do life. Denver, Colorado, a four-hour drive, is our closest city. We visit several times a year and were there this weekend.

boy drawing on a pallet wall at Pallet Fest Denver

My husband read a blurb about an event, Pallet Fest, being held in downtown Denver. I like being creative and witnessing the creative process in others. I was intrigued by Pallet Fest.

boy playing Connect 4 on an upycled pallet game board

Pallet Fest was at the Sculpture Park of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. It was billed as the “ultimate upcycle event.” We walked a few blocks after circling for free parking. The traffic and number of vehicles everywhere you go is one aspect of city life I could never handle. Traffic is probably the number reason I with never live in a city or near a city.

boys using magnifying glasses to burn a wood pallet

I had zero expectations for Pallet Fest. Curiosity alone was the driving factor for attending. I loved everything about it: the people, the art, the activities, the family atmosphere, and the energy. The people were interesting and friendly. We talked with Michael Papadakis who uses the sun and wood to create wonderful pieces of art in a way I never imagined. There was the uber-positive hula hoop dancing instructor and a former America Ninja Warrior participant.

children going through a pallet maze

Our first stop was a pallet maze. I can’t fathom how to begin the process of creating a pallet maze. The kids entered extremely confident I would finish last. They didn’t take into consideration that pallets are not very tall, and I am. My height advantage aided my beating my children out of the maze. It’s a victory I’ll use in the future when they disregard my ability to win.

woman hula hoop dancing

We found ourselves in front of a stage for a hula hoop dancing demonstration. My hula hoop skills weren’t that wonderful heading into the class. I learned I have been hula hooping wrong for the last three decades. The instructor on stage corrected my poor form, and a few minutes later I was rocking that hoop.

man walking on stilts

The pallet Parkour course was a favorite for the kids. They listened as trained supervisors offered suggestions on landing and ways to manipulate the course. Our kids are always up for a challenge and delighted in seeing what they could do. We were surprised to discover the option of Parkour classes at a local gym. Craig and I were forced to listen to some grumbles about how city’s are so much cooler than our smaller town.

I can’t count the number of times we’ve read about something and gone to it with no idea what we were getting into. We’re rarely disappointed. Our kids will ask where or what we’re doing and our standard response is, “We’re on an adventure.”

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  • Hello Shannon, my name is Michael Papadakis. I am the man who facilitated the “Magnifying Glass” Artwork at Palletfest. I truly appreciate you featuring it on your website. http://www.carryout4dana.weebly.com

    • Our boys enjoyed your artwork. Thank you for working with them! I’ve updated the post with your name and site. Thanks for reading!

  • Awesome! Thank you so much Shannon! It was very nice to meet you a couple weeks ago! Hope you pass this technique along! Take care!