Penny Parker On The Town: Colorado Meetings + Events Magazine doles out seventh annual awards

Colorado Meetings + Events magazine threw a fab party Monday night to hand out the awards for the 2013 Best Of Colorado Readers Choice award winners, selected by the readers of “Colorado Meetings + Events” magazine via online voting.

The top picks include attractions, planning companies, photographers, caterers, venues and more. As the magazine said, “We’re confident that the winners represent businesses and organizations that are defining the excellence our state is so well-known for, and we thank you for joining us to honor this elite group.”

The event (which was quite fun, and attracted a host of well-dressed young folks) took place Monday at the Denver Art Museum, catered by the awesome staff at Kevin Taylor Restaurant.

Here’s the description of the awards criteria from the Colorado Meetings + Events website: “Every single winner in the annual Readers’ Choice Best Of Award campaign is hand-picked by the meeting planners, event planners and suppliers who read Colorado Meetings + Events magazine.

“The Best Of awards are designed to honor the cream of the crop in the regional meetings and events industry. We achieve this by giving the power to determine the winners solely to the readers— every vote in each category is influential and important to determine the final winner.

“The awards are a celebration of the hard work and above-and-beyond service of suppliers who help planners be at the top of their game. Once the votes are tallied, the top nominees are notified, and the winners are kept secret until the Best Of party, then announced in a special issue of the magazine.”

This year’s distinguished readers choice winners were:

Best Attraction Denver Metro Area:

Denver Zoo (; Denver Zoo’s fourth consecutive win).

Runners-up were Denver Art Museum, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.

Best Attraction Outside Denver Metro Area:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs (

Runners-up were Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Best Restaurant With Meeting/Event Space:

Coohills (yes, a client, but I had no say in the matter), 1400 Wewatta (

Runners-up: Mangia Bevi Café, Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar, Restaurant Kevin Taylor.

Best Historic Venue:

McNichols Civic Center Building ( Totally disagree, there’s no parking!

Runners-up: The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, Mile High Station (both have parking, BTW!).

Editors choice winners were:

Best Meeting/Event Space (No Hotel) Denver Metro:

Mile High Station (

Most Impactful Renovation:

Westin Snowmass & Wildwood Snowmass (;

Best Meeting/Event Space (No Hotel) Outside Denver:

Spruce Mountain Ranch (

Best Hotel or Resort with Meeting/Event Space in Denver Metro:

Denver Marriott City Center (

Best Hotel or Resort with Meeting/Event Space Outside Denver Metro:

The Broadmoor (

Under-the-Radar Ranch:

Smith Fork Ranch (

Best Meeting/Event Planning Company:

Convention Designs (

Best Destination Management Company:

Convention Designs (

Best Destination Marketing Organization in Town/Area 25,000+ Population:

Visit Denver (

Best Destination Marketing Organization in Town/Area Less than 25,000 Population:

Vail Valley Partnership (

Best Memorable Campaign:

The Brown Palace’s “It All Starts Here” (

Best Audio-Visual/Visual Presentation:

J&S Audio Visual (

Best Photographer/Videographer:

All Digital Photo & Video (

Best Caterer Denver Metro:

Footers Catering (

Best Caterer Outside Denver Metro:

Taste of the Wild (

Best Entertainment (Performer or Talent Agency):

Talent West (

Best Event Décor/Florist:

DesignWorks (

Best Rental Service Provider:

Event Rents (

Best Transportation:

Presidential Worldwide Transportation (

Unique Activity:

Classical Music Raft Trips (

Coohills restaurant owners Tom and Diane Coohills show off their honor for best restaurant with meeting/event space at Monday's Colorado Meetings + Events magazines awards ceremony.


More honors

The Business Journals (the company that owns the Denver Business Journal) rated 102 metro areas with a population of 500,000 or more in the U.S. and Denver ranks ninth of the nation’s best places for young adults. The Business Journals’ G. Scott Thomas gave the rankings in his “On Numbers” blog, ranking Austin, Texas at the top. See more at


Hey, golfers: DineOut Colorado’s Restaurant Hound is producing a restaurant guide for golfers who bring their greens-fee receipts to local restaurants for exclusive Facebook specials. To learn more, “like” DineOut Colorado’s Facebook page at As a golfer, this sounds like a great idea!


SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody is the new musical that brings all the naughty fun of the best-selling book “Fifty Shades of Grey” to life with sexy and fun musical comedy performances from a hunky leading man plus lots of surprises.

The Paramount Theatre shows are at 7:30 p.m. April 4, and at 8 p.m. April 5 and 6. Plus,  a performance was added at 3 p.m. April 6. Tickets are $45 and on sale by calling 303-534-6773. For more information about the show, visit

Goodwill hunting

Goodwill Industries of Denver will open its newest retail store at 3100 S. Sheridan Blvd., in Denver’s Bear Valley Neighborhood, at 8 a.m. May 25.

The 24,000-square-foot building will contain a retail store, donation drop-off area and Goodwill’s newest Career Connection Center.

In addition to the 35 new jobs Goodwill plans to create to staff the store, the Career Connection Center will serve as a free career resource for anyone seeking job skills or career support.

The center will host classes on how to write a resume, dressing for an interview an other tools needed to gain employment. People will have free access to computers to search for jobs, research companies, work on resumes and answer professional e-mails.

On the May 25 opening, Goodwill will host a celebration for the community which will include a 50 percent off sale on nearly everything in the store.

Regular store hours will be 9 am. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. More information at

Eavesdropping on 9News’ Amelia Earhart to her colleague: “Proud to say that this morning, I informed Texas native Belen De Leon what the Glendale Ballet is.”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? 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:


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