This weekend is full of festive fun in Denver, and you won't have to bum money off your friends to enjoy it -- nine of our featured events are absolutely free. You can dance at a francophile party, tour a candy factory, or catch a series of short plays. Share bargain events we overlooked in the comments section, and check out the Westword calendar for more ideas of ways to get out of the house.
Française Holiday Dance Party at the Mercury Cafe (Friday, free) Don your berets tonight for the Ooh La La Alliance Française's holiday dance party. DJ Titi de Nice will spin tunes francophiles are sure to love, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Candy Cane Festival at the Hammond's Candy Cane Factory (Friday-Saturday, free) Hammond's Candy Cane Factory will open its doors for free today for a holiday bash complete with tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, and lots of sugar. See Santa, decorate cookies, jump on the bounce castle...and maybe even do some holiday shopping.
Animals: New Art By Julio Alejandro at the Buffalo Exchange Annex (Friday, free) There's no need to wait until First Friday to see art. Julio Alejandro will premiere a brand-new collection of pieces at an opening tonight, complete with wine and beer, at the Buffalo Exchange Annex.
Bombay Gin Reading Series at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe (Saturday, free) Get out of the house and into poetry tonight. Naropa University's literary journal, Bombay Gin, will host an evening of readings by Tim Z. Hernandez, Andrea Rexilius, and Noah Eli Gordon in Boulder.CASUAL at the Sie FilmCenter (Saturday, free)
DJ Tyler Jacobson and Jake Ryan's sought-after brit-pop night CASUAL returns tonight, bringing glam tunes to the Sie FilmCenter. Following a screening of the Stone Roses documentaryMade of Stone
, Jacobson and Ryan, along with guest DJ boyhollow, will play all the hits in Henderson's Lounge.Winter Solstice Ride at Our Mutual Friend Malt and Brew (Saturday, free)
Bundle up and wrap your bike in festive lights for BikeDenver's annual solstice ride to benefit the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. B-Cycles will be free to riders for the event, and the route will make a few stops at local businesses so that you can get warm drinks. Bring gift cards, clothing, and canned food to donate.
Nothing: Real. Deep. at GroundSwell Gallery (Saturday, free) Immerse yourself in a new installation by Suchitra Mattai and Adam J. Graves; which, as the artists' statement explains, "superimposes stereoscopic imaging and relief cartographical techniques in order to invite viewers to explore themselves as viewers." DJ Sarah Grace Slater will provide sound effects for the intriguing experience at tonight's opening.
Fashion Denver's Holiday Fashion Market at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion (Sunday, free) Keep your dollars in Denver by buying holiday presents at Fashion Denver's Fashion Market. Browse the work of over thirty local designers, see live screen printing from Indy Ink, hear music from Jessa Raskin and Zoe Zucker, and get all your shopping done in one place today.
The Curtain Rises at Red Rocks Community College Theatre (Sunday, $8) See a smattering of new works from Red Rocks playwrights tonight at One Night Stand Theater's showcase. The show features seven short plays -- everything from a piece about a haunted dentist's office to one about criminals who get trapped in a dumpster.
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Arguments & Grievances at Vine Street Pub (Sunday, free) The Arguments & Grievances holiday show will finally determine the winner of the age-old debate on toys versus coal tonight, with comedians Adam Cayton-Holland and Jordan Doll to argue the merits of each side. The comedy debate series will delve into other important topics, including Instagram vs. Telegram, Chicks vs. Dicks, and more.