Penny Parker’s On The Town: Elephant waltzes into downtown Denver

Hey, there’s an elephant on my street; how he got there I’ll never know.

If you’re in the vicinity of Curtis and 18th streets on Saturday, don’t be surprised to see an elephant lumbering toward The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver.

The elephant entry signifies the third and final wedding ceremony between an East Indian doctor and his American wife. Three ceremonies are planned with the last being an Indian tradition of having the bride arrive at the reception location aboard an elephant being trucked in from California for the occasion.

I’ve been told that there will be street closures and off-duty police officers along the route. “I understand they’ve taken out tons of (city) permits,” said a source. Representatives from the mayor’s office could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Get your grill on

It’ll be a hot time in the old town when a slew of chefs fire up their grills and serve up sliders during the fourth annual Hot Rocks Griller Challenge, a fundraiser for the Denver Health Foundation’s men’s health programs, from 6 to 9 p.m. June 13 at Elway’s Cherry Creek.

Roughly 16 of the top local chefs will get their grill on to compete for top honors in the slider competition where the winner is determined by popular vote. Attendees can purchase chips (votes) from $5 to $100, and flip chips into the receptacles on their favorite chefs’ tables. Each chef will concoct a creative slider plus a side dish that will be paired with a wine.

The heated competition represents some of Denver’s best culinary talent including: Steve Ballas (Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs), Robert Bogart (Elway’s Downtown), Michael Bortz (City Bakery), Jamey Fader (Lola, Big Red F Restaurant Group), Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar, Madison Grill), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall), Simon Purvis (EDGE Restaurant), Paul Reilly (formerly of Encore), Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman (Vesta Dipping Grill, Steuben’s), Goose Sorensen (Solera), Darrel Truett (Barolo Grill), Tyler Wiard and Aniedra Nichols (Elway’s Cherry Creek), Elise Wiggins (Panzano) and Sean Yontz (El Diablo).

Denver’s own Chris Daniels and the Kings will provide musical entertainment. Guests can also “pay to play” the Hyde Park Jewelers High Striker test of skills game. Event chairs Michael Pollak (Hyde Park) and John Elway (Broncos, Hall of Fame) will fan the fun.

Tickets are $100 apiece or $250 for early admission and entrance to the VIP Lounge. Purchase them at denverhealthfoundation.org.

In memoriam

Hank Dire, owner of the iconic Bonnie Brae Tavern, died Monday at age 84. Hank had worked at the family restaurant since he was 5 years old.

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, 3959 E. Iliff Ave., will be the location for a memorial service at 10 a.m. Monday.

Another long-time Colorado restaurateur Timothy Lee Galloway died last November, but the current issue of  issue of Golf Digest tells the touching story of how his son, Winn, took his dad for a round of golf at Pebble Beach where Tim scored a hole in one.

Tim worked at Boulder restaurants including Flagstaff House, Red Lion Inn, Potter’s, the restaurants at the Boulderado Hotel and Cork n’ Cleaver.

Check out the Golf Digest story (have your hanky nearby) here.

Dad’s day

Four local men may be captains of industry and pillars in the community, but they are most proud of being a dad.

Walt DeHaven, vice president and general manager of CBS4; Steve Erkenbrack, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Greg Feasel, executive vice president and COO of the Colorado Rockies and Jeff Jones, co-president and CFO of Vail Resorts, were lauded Wednesday night during the Father of the Year Awards, a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association.

The ballroom at the Grand Hyatt was packed with supporters who were treated to touching video tributes from children of the honored fathers.

Evening emcee CBS4 anchor Jim Benemann warmed up the crowd with some of his own “dad-isms”.

“I remember my dad fondly for the things he taught me such as, ‘Oh, I’ll give you something to cry about.’ Or, ‘Because I said so, that’s why.’”

Speaking of dear old dad

Are you tardy to the dad’s day party? There’s still time to make Father’s Day brunch or dinner reservations. Go to opentable.com to see a list of special Father’s Day feasts.

Eavesdropping on a man watching The View: “They should just call this,’ We All Talk at the Same Time.’”

Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’m now the social-media liaison for the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, so read my latest restaurant news there. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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