Democratic Convention Plans Include Indian Tribes, Construction, and Celebrity Guests

By Michael O'Connell August 4, 2008, 12:52 PM EDT

The Democratic National Convention is just three weeks away, and preparations are in high gear. Plans are being finalized for celebrity events, and the Democratic National Committee is increasing its presence—all while the host city of Denver tries its best to troubleshoot potential drama. 

The Democratic National Convention Committee invited the Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes of Colorado to perform a Native American blessing outside of the Pepsi Center, where the convention begins August 25. The DNCC said the ceremony featured the burning of sage, chants, and prayers for the delegates and the entire nation.

The Denver Post reported on DNC chairman Howard Dean’s visit to the city last week, and wrote about how many of the convention venues are already well into reconstruction. DNCC C.E.O. Leah Daughtry told The Post, “There are no longer just floor plans on the wall.” One venue not yet getting its makeover is Invesco Field, which has events booked during the days immediately surrounding Barack Obama’s August 28 acceptance speech in the stadium.

A group of “anarchists” promised Denver not to disrupt the convention if a $50 million federal grant to the city is invested in the community and not convention security. The city told The Rocky Mountain News that the money must go to protecting the public (protestors included), but it will be discussed with several other convention-related items at a City Council public hearing today.

As far as celebrity attendance at the convention—the key to so much press coverage—several stars are already confirmed for convention parties. Zooey Deschanel, Spike Lee, and Susan Sarandon are among those confirmed for the Creative Coalition’s Shining Star Awards on August 27, and we hear that has plans to sponsor a fund-raiser featuring performances by bands Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Rilo Kiley.

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