The Hill may be home, but tonight, you'll want a passport to get around.
Passport to the Hill is welcoming students back to the neighborhood with a block party of sorts. The event has existed in different forms, under different names, though organizer Bonnie Dahl doesn't remember what they were.
It's not important, anyway. The event is back, years later, as Passport to the Hill. More than 30 neighborhood business will be offering retail sales and food specials, and with each one patronized, participants get a stamp inside a passport. The stamps earn tickets, which are entered in a drawing for gift certificates.
Meanwhile, the streets will be filled with music and other activities. The Fitter, which Dahl owns, will be doing a glass-blowing demonstration, for example. There will also be an animation demonstration and, possibly, a pizza eating contest.
The event is meant as a back-to-school celebration, but Dahl initially conceived the idea as a way to bring the Hill community together. After a negative meeting with local business owners and city council members, she decided there needed to be a change in attitude.
"I just recognized that the Hill was going downhill and without any intervention. Something had to be done," Dahl said. "I've been on the city council-appointed board for six years and I've been on the Hill for 39 years, so I knew I was the person to head this up."
Among the 30-plus participating business are The Sink, Albums on the Hill, The Goose, the Fox Theatre, Boss Lady Pizza, Fatty J's, Half Fast Subs and Boulder Vapor House. Some of the music will be provided by Watkins Empire, Nyall James and Kyle Coy.
The event kicks off at 5 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Passport pick-up locations were not finalized on Thursday, but Dahl said the likely locations will be at either end of 13th Street.
"In a three-block area, nobody knows each other on the Hill. It's just always been like that," Dahl said. "This is already kind of building community among the Hill businesses."