Constitution Week kicks off Monday in Grand Lake

Grand Lake’s annual celebration of the US Constitution kicks off next week with a six-day schedule of events that includes a barbecue competition, music festival and speeches from multiple speakers including Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Garrow.

The seventh annual Grand Lake US Constitution Week, which organizers call “the premier Constitution Week celebration in America,” will be held from Sept. 17 through Sept. 22. The weeklong celebration of the United States’ governing document begins Monday evening at 6 p.m. Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D. of Claremont College, will give a speech titled “The Civic Virtues of Free Citizens” at the Western Riviera.

Constitution Week continues Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. at the Grand Lake Center with Stan Everitt of the Legacy Project giving a discourse titled “66 Words of the Declaration of Independence.” The day will be capped off with a talk titled “The Dark Side of Government Speech” given by University of Colorado Professor Helen Norton also at the Grand Lake Center.

Wednesday’s Constitution Week activities will begin again at 11:30 a.m. at Pancho and Lefty’s with a speech by Grand Lake resident and marijuana industry attorney Brian Blumenfeld titled “How Ancient Greece Influenced the Founding Fathers.” Wednesday night’s talk, presented by former Rotary District Governor Abbas Rajabi, will be held at Daven Haven Lodge at 6 p.m. His speech is titled “Nations and the Constitutions in Making.”

Former State Senator, Denver City Councilman and City Auditor Dennis Gallagher will give a speech Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. at Squeaky B’s titled “Advice from Afar, Thomas Jefferson’s suggestions from his perch as French Ambassador.” Gallagher’s impact on Colorado government remains strong to this day as his namesake amendment to the Colorado Constitution, the Gallagher Amendment, still governs the way property taxes are collected in the state.

The popular Live Nationwide Team Constitutional Trivia event will be held at 4 p.m. as a “call in” contest. Prospective teams can register by going to the Grand Lake Chamber’s website and checking out the US Constitution Week event page, where a registration form will be available.

Rob Natleson, a retired Constitutional Law professor at the University of Montana Law School and current Senior Fellow at the Independence Institute, will speak Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the Grand Lake Lodge. His presentation is called “The Spirit of the Constitution!”

Friday’s festivities will be held at the Western Rivera beginning at 6 p.m. as Rodney Smith, Director of the Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies, will present a talk titled “James Madison: America’s Greatest Constitutional Lawmaker.”

Grand Lake’s Constitution Week will culminate on Saturday with a series of events beginning with the Constitution Week Parade down Grand Avenue at 11 a.m. and ending with the Constitution Week Fireworks Display at 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s events will include a barbecue competition featuring the Kansas City Barbecue Society, starting around noon, and a music festival beginning at 2 p.m.

Constitution Week’s keynote speaker for 2018, Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Garrow, will speak at noon. His talk is tilted “The Transformation of the US Supreme Court since Earl Warren.” Saturday’s keynote speech as well as the barbecue competition and music festival will be held at the Grand Lake Town Park. Organizers noted the events will be held “rain or shine” and recommend bringing a chair to watch the proceedings.

There is no admission fee to attend any of the Grand Lake US Constitution Week events. Tokens called Q coins will be sold at the Saturday events that will allow attendees to purchase barbecue offerings and beverages.

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