As thousands of Coloradoans and Democratic delegates filed into Invesco Field Thursday afternoon awaiting Sen. Barack Obama’s nominating acceptance speech, the scene on the inside of the stadium was one of muted anticipation even in the nosebleed seats.
Denver residents and friends Issac Lopez and Betsy Larson had different motives for attending the Invesco event.
Lopez, a self-proclaimed political junkie, wanted to be close to the action, adding that he admires Obama’s ability to inspire young people to get involved in politics. He’s also excited to see all the celebrities and take in former Vice President Al Gore’s speech.
Larson said she’s never cared much for politics, but decided to support Obama because of his stances on the issues and his messages of hope and change.
“Politics have always been very boring to me and kind of corrupt,” she said.
In the unrelenting sunshine about 4 p.m., Sue Engelstad of Denver was reserving a seat for herself and her husband in the top row of seats at Invesco Field hours before the evening’s main event.
While there were plenty of seats closer to the political action on the field, Engelstad’s seat at Invesco was one of the rare ones in the shade.
Engelstad said she and her Denver friends have been quite pleased having the Party’s convention in town, saying that everyone she knows participated in the political festivities in one way or another.
The city is getting into the spirit of the convention, she said. Her son’s employer closed the business for the day, telling everyone to telecommute if possible.
Like thousands of others, Engelstad took Denver’s extremely crowded light rail to the stadium, saying it took her about three hours to get from her front door to her seat. Most of that time was spent waiting in line for security. She pointed to a line of people streaming across Colfax Avenue, lamenting how far they had to walk and how long they would have to wait.
On the top concourse, Colorado College student Nikki Gurley, 19, was switching her voter registration from her home in Washington State to her college addressing hopes of influencing the result in the Centennial State. For her, the event was simply “awesome.”
“It’s great that he can inspire this many people,” she said, adding how excited she was to vote in her first presidential election.
Back on the stadium’s ground level, the Colorado Democratic Party set up a call center in the concourse, enticing volunteers with a chance to win seats on the field if they made a dozen phone calls to voters.
Denver-born volunteer Nick Davis, 20, said he’s always been politically active and was grateful that his hometown played host to the event.
“I love people wanting to be involved. It makes me happy,” adding that he’s stoked for Obama’s speech.