What in the world is going on in Denver?

By Bob Schulman

Images by Rich Grant for VISIT DENVER

Denverites love any excuse to put on a costume. So October is going to be a busy month, filled with lots of wacky events – sure to keep the Guinness World Record people busy -- like what's billed as world’s largest Zombie Crawl, the world’s largest Gorilla Run and the world’s largest beer festival.

You can blame the early craziness on the suds. The annual Denver Beer fest

(http://www.denver.org/denverbeerfest) kicks off on Oct. 4 for an eight-day run with more than 150 beer-centric events, from tap takeovers and firkin tappings to beer-paired dinners and meet-the-brewer nights.

It’s all an appetizer to the Great American Beer Festival )(www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com), which rolls into town Oct. 10-12. This is the largest gathering of suds lovers in the world with more than 49,000 beer geeks attending for the privilege of tasting some 3,000 different beers produced by 600 different brewers. More beers will be available for tasting in 2013 than at any other single spot in history.

If you can't get tickets to the tastings (they sell out fast), there are still 150 beer-related events taking place throughout metro Denver during the overlapping Denver Beer Fest, not to mention goings-on at some 26 downtown Denver breweries and tap houses.

Many GABF-goers come in costumes, ranging from fetching frauleins in dirndl skirts to people dressed as hops, wizards, or even big mugs of beer. Scottish pipe bands add to the madness, squealing up and down the aisles as 15,000 people try to taste as many exotic beers as they can squeeze in during one of the four, four-hour tasting periods.

Streets 'dripping with blood'

The largest zombie gathering in history will take place in downtown Denver on Oct. 19, when some 16,000-plus blood splattered crazies drag themselves down the 16th Street Mall in a day-long event that can be as funny as it is horrifying.

The Annual Denver Zombie Crawl

(www.denver.org/events/detail?e=16146&t)  has already been documented as the largest zombie event in the nation, and for this – the 7th annual crawl – the organizers are again shooting for a new Guinness World Record. Why is Denver home to so many zombies? Why not? Colorado already has the “Frozen Dead Guy Festival,” so why not a festival of 16,000 undead strolling the streets.

The day begins at 11 a.m. with the “Organ Trail.” This zombified version of a 5K event is a run, walk or crawl around downtown Denver that mixes the gross parts of “Fear Factor” with the clue-solving of the “Amazing Race,” and puts them all together in a “Haunted House.” Zombie teams solve clues to find locations and move to checkpoints, and it’s all very complicated, but the main attraction is seeing the creativity of the other zombies – like zombie cheerleaders, zombie nurses, zombie brides, zombie Playboy bunnies and even a complete zombie marching brass band.

Run gorilla, run!

A week after the zombies leave town, downtown Denver is inundated with gorillas – thousands of them! The 10th Annual Denver Gorilla Run

(www.denver.org/events/detail?e=16145&t) is set for Oct. 26 with more than 3,000 people in gorilla suits running a 5K to benefit the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The cost of the race is $99, which includes a full gorilla suit (available in different sizes). Participants from each of the nine previous races are being encouraged to dig out their suits and show up to help re-set Denver’s current Guinness World Record for a gorilla run with even higher numbers.

Racers are welcome to dress up their suits to run as gorilla families and gorilla bands, or as senior gorillas, young gorillas, Hawaiian gorillas or just about any other kind of gorillas.

After the race there is a gigantic block party for everyone in the city with food trucks, craft beer, and bands, all in front of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s oldest and largest brew pub. The Wynkoop was founded by current Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the first former brewer to be elected state governor since Sam Adams in 1793.

After participating in these world-record events in The Mile High City, you’re going to be exhausted! So check out the special hotel deals and packages on the website of VISIT DENVER (www.visitdenver.com/hotels/special), the city's convention and visitors bureau.

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