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Denver's Downtown Reminiscent of Salt Lake's Olympics

Denver's Downtown Reminiscent of Salt Lake's Olympics

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Does this sound familiar, streets closed, helicopters hovering over downtown, an obvious police presence, and a very eclectic crowd on the streets?

It does to me. Strolling down the pedestrian mall downtown, reminded me of the days of Salt Lake's Olympic games, only with much warmer weather.

Locals tell me that, just like in Salt Lake in 2002, commuters have been encouraged to be ready for street closures, to stagger their hours or to try to work from home this week. A kind woman who gave me a ride from the hotel to the Pepsi Center says many of her friends have opted to take their vacations this week, all to make room for some 50-thousand delegates, and yes, 15-thousand journalists.

At the airport, volunteers are lined up to help tell people where to go. There's a police officer in nearly every hotel lobby and banners and flags line city streets, welcoming people here.

It's a people watcher's paradise. There are all kinds here, including the man who strolled up and down the pedestrian mall all afternoon with a McCain sign. He told me most people were courteous to him, many even asked him to pose for a photo.

There are also people here who just showed up for the party. A woman from Houston, who shared a ride in from the airport with us described herself as a convention "groupie". She's active in the Democratic party in her home state, but didn't get chosen as a delegate. She made her own travel arrangements, hoping to "crash a few parties," and maybe to get one of those coveted tickets to Thursday night's event. "After all", she says, "You never know what can happen unless you show up."


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Marc Giauque


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