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Summer concert series draws a crowd to Clement Park

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By Deborah Swearingen

A hazy sunset set the backdrop for last Thursday’s free concert at Clement Park as renditions of classics such as “My Girl” drifted through the air.

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Country music lovers, families and community members in search of an evening of fun packed the grassy area in front of Clement Park’s Grant Amphitheater for Narrow Gauge, a Denver-based country and classic rock band.

The free summer concert series, hosted annually by Foothills Park and Recreation District, is a tradition for many, and the music often draws dancers to their feet.

Early in the night, Audrey and Carl Fiechtl of Denver danced together, moving to the beat in front of the lawn chairs where they later sat to enjoy the music. For years, the couple has been dancing together, and they’ve been enjoying events at Clement Park for almost as long.

“We’ve been coming out here ever since there was a Clement Park,” Audrey said.

Later in the evening, Annie and Tommy Matchett of Littleton danced in front of the stage. When good bands play, the Matchetts make sure to attend the summer concerts. Their dancing didn’t go unnoticed by members of Narrow Gauge, who said they generally wait to encourage dancing until night falls and alcohol kicks in.

“But you beat us to it,” the lead singer said, in reference to the Matchetts.

Since Jill Dvorak’s children moved out of her Littleton home, she’s tried to make a weekly family picnic a ritual. Last Thursday, that tradition brought her family to Clement Park for the concert. Dvorak enjoyed the music as her granddaughters, Parker Nalow, 2, and Jane McLaughlin, 7, played with a ball in the grass beside her.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Dvorak said. “The little things — a sunset, free band and a beach ball.”

While many family friendly activities come with a cost, Dvorak appreciates the convenience and affordability of Foothills’ annual concert series.

“To be free for families, it’s awesome,” she said.

Really, that’s what it is all about. The concert series, now in its 28th year, is a way to bring South Jeffco together and a way for Foothills to provide something fun for the community.

“It’s just giving back to the community, I think,” said Sara Calabrese, the new arts and events assistant with Foothills.

Although last week’s concert was initially supposed to be the final one of the year, there is another tonight due to a weather cancellation on July 26. And it’s a big one, too – Chris Daniels & The Kings.

The band is a repeat performer at the concert series, and they usually draw a crowd. Just ask the Matchetts. As they paused for a dance break, the couple said they’d be back again the following week.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.