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Wake-Up Call: It's all downhill from here, Denver

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The national news is full of Colorado's vituperative lover flaming his ex on the Internet (and getting smacked by this state's bizarre criminal libel statute) and a future vituperative lover giving dating advice at the age of nine (here's just one international sample, from Australia, as well our October blog on the Colorado Casanova, "Nine-year-old Author Doesn't Know S*#t About Talking to Girls."

But on Friday, Good Morning America will give the country another look at the real Denver -- the one in which Union Station is always packed at 5 a.m. with people hopping off trains in festive costumes and toting ski paraphernalia. Never mind that Denver boosters have been working for decades to convince the country that Denver isn't in the middle of a mountain resort (read: cold), even though those resorts are close by. And never mind that only two passenger trains a day pull into the station, and plans to turn it into a metro transportation hub are years -- and millions of dollars -- away. If you have to convince people to show up at 5 a.m., you need to give them somewhere to show up that you know will be warm. Preferably with free refreshments and the Denver Broncos cheerleaders.

And so early on December 5, Mayor John Hickenlooper will be in New York to unveil Denver's holiday window display in the ABC building on Times Square. Denver's the third of three cities chosen (from ten applicants) by Good Morning America for its "GMA Lights Up America" week, which will also highlight viewers' suggestions for "the most festive place in America this holiday season."

Which had better be Denver on Friday, when "Good Morning America will also be broadcasting from the Denver Union Station holiday pep rally," reports Visit Denver, the city's convention bureau, "where Denverites are encouraged to showcase their holiday and city spirit donning ski gear and festive costumes, and bringing homemade signs." Like those "WILL WORK FOR FOOD" signs that spring like daisies by the side of our streets, a sight that makes visitors marvel?

The first of the three windows, which commemorates Kansas City -- in a partnership with Hallmark Cards -- will be unveiled on in GMA's gound-level studio this morning. Since Hallmark is based in Kansas City, expect lots of giant keepsake ornaments (our partner paper in Kansas City swears it's not embarrassing). Tomorrow, viewers get a window into Atlanta -- "from southern grits to holiday glitz," says GMA. On Friday, it's Denver's turn. And while Kansas City paid a relatively paltry $20,000 to create its display, Denver forked out $50,000.

According to GMA, the Denver window "will be a stylistic interpretation of the holiday season in the Mile High City that is inspired by the commercial art deco ski posters of the 1930s." Although we haven't managed to find a commercial ski poster that dates earlier than the '40s, and none of the earliest are art deco (Kenny Be looked), we salute the thought. And yes, we'll be at Union Station on Friday, eating snacks from Yum Yum Delights, listening to TubaChristmas -- and wishing we could just jump a train and head for the hills.

But for that, we'll have to wait until the Ski Train starts up later this month. (Alert: although the contents of Denver's window have been kept a big secret, we've been assured a miniature Ski Train is part of the display.) All aboard! -- Patricia Calhoun



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