Denver: First Impressions

Despite an early morning flight in from Santa Barbara, I've kept busy on day one in Denver.

Some observations:

  • The Sheraton, right downtown and near the Pepsi Center, is crazy. People everywhere. Press check-in was today, which explains why it was so busy-an estimated 15,000 people have been credentialed to cover this Convention. I briefly met one young lady who was from a radio station in Ireland.

  • Police are everywhere. Police on bikes, police on horses, police on foot, in beach chairs, with K-9 units, in SWAT patrol gear. You name it, they got it here. You can't go a block without seeing a police officer. That's if you can get a block down the street in the intensified traffic. It sort of reminds me of the beefed up security of Fiesta this year, except on a much grander scale, in a much bigger city, for a much larger event.

  • They've got some work to do to get Invesco Field-site of Sen. Barack Obama's big speech, and home of the NFL's Denver Broncos, who just had a game there Friday-ready by Thursday. The seven-year-old stadium is massive (on game days the capacity is 76,125, for the speech they'll bring in 75,000), and has three giant video display boards, the largest on the south side at 96 feet long by 27 feet tall.

A mini-catwalk juts out to a circular blue staircase stage toward the middle of the field, where Obama will give his speech Thursday. The rest of the stage should be big enough (and I'm not sure these acts are announced yet) for Stevie Wonder, The Dave Matthews Band, and Sheryl Crow, who are all expected to perform before Obama gives the speech everyone's been waiting for.

Tents are also being placed around the sidelines of the field for photographers and media. The delegates will be on the field as well, sitting on chairs placed on a special tarp that gets sunlight to the grass still, so the Broncos will actually have a green surface to play on when they begin in a couple of weeks.

  • The parties have begun. I was walking from the house I am staying at to 7-11 to grab a slurpee and was told I couldn't walk past Mezcal because of the party going on. Even though I had a credential, and wanted nothing to do with it, the bouncer bounced me to the other side of the street, explaining they had a one day permit to not let anyone pass on the public sidewalk. Ouch.
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