Here's a look at some of our favorite events and happenings around Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak region and the rest of Colorado in the next few days.
Thunder, the iconic white Denver Broncos mascot that thunders down the field when the team scores, will lead the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo parade of longhorn cattle, horses and Western wagons through Denver's downtown for the opening parade at noon Thursday. Stock Show action begins Saturday and runs through Jan. 21 at 4655 Humboldt St. nationalwestern.com
Grab your cameras or phones. Time for the Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers' Winter Photography Contest. You have a month to capture the best nature shots. For categories, prizes, rules and regulations, elpasocountynaturecenters.com
A pottery lovers delight, Commonwheel Artists Co-op's Pottery by the Pound new year sale runs through Jan. 28. The co-op's members and guest artists clear studio inventory, sell pottery seconds and prototypes, and feature other art pieces at discounted prices. Many items are sold by weight. Opening weekend is a prime time to start, but there's restocking all during the show. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, 102 Cañon Ave. in Manitou Springs, commonwheel.com/pottery-by-the-pound.html and on Facebook.
Enjoy an unforgettable musical showcase, the 19th annual U.S. International Duo Piano Competition at The Broadmoor all weekend. Two-piano duos and quartets from around the world will compete, 200 performers altogether. Professional-level pianists are featured at 7 p.m. Friday, and other performance levels compete at various times. usidpc.org
The always-popular Colorado Springs Conservatory Jazz Nites open the new year surrounded by art at 7:30 p.m. at Lawrence Dryhurst Gallery, 122 E. Kiowa St. Concert by Wayne Wilkinson's trio with Andy Burtschi and Todd Williams. Conservatory students will sit in. $15 includes wine and "small bites." 577-4556, coloradospringsconservatory.org A city parking garage is right across the street.
They're what you love in Colorado Springs. Vote for them in Best of the Springs starting Friday and help them win. gazette.com/bestof.
Leapin' Lizards, the time has flown by, and the Fine Arts Center's production of "Annie" has had folks singing and smiling for weeks. It's the final weekend and also one more opportunity for an Annie Day Camp for kiddos ages 6-13. They'll have a theater experience, touring the theater and set, have a dance class and meet cast members, 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. csfineartscenter.org/theatre/theatre-school/ $30, tickets to the show are extra. 30 W. Dale St.
Wear white and blue with your ice skates, and you'll get $1 off admission during the Winter Wonderland downtown at Skate at the Park - Acacia, 2-5 p.m.. Skating, hot chocolate, popcorn and cotton candy.
The Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza hosted by the National Western Stock Show is a cultural experience from 2 and 6:30 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum, 4655 Humboldt St. Bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping and mariachis, and it's choreographed by fourth-generation Charro Jerry Diaz. $30-65, tinyurl.com/y7muxr98