The world moves outside in summer, and so does great art, along with all the accoutrements of food, drink and surprises that make outdoor fairs a picnic for hundreds. Whether these markets line city streets or poke up like wildflowers in parks or up in the hills, focus on fine art or handmades or both, they all have one thing in common: They bring you eye to eye with the artists. Here’s where to make some connections this summer:
16th Street Fair
Friday and Saturday, June 23-24, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The 16th Street Fair brings new life and retail energy to downtown Denver three times this summer, beginning on June 23 and 24, with an array of fine art and craft vendors spread out in Skyline Park and the 16th Street Mall. You never know what you’ll find there, and if you miss the first dates, come back on August 11-12 or September 9-10 for more urban foraging.
Former Kmart on Broadway
383 South Broadway
Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
$5 weekend pass (free for children ages twelve and under)
The Denver Flea greets summer 2017 by going even bigger, taking over the vacant Kmart building and parking lot near Broadway and Alameda Avenue for two big days of meeting trendy makers and retailers – more than 200 of them. We'll be dancing to live music and just hanging out while sipping our favorite beverages. The $5 fee covers both days, beer will flow, and the promise of air-conditioned browsing indoors means more stamina for shopping without dropping. Plus, part of the proceeds will benefit the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute. Does it really get any better than that?
High Peaks Art Festival
Town Square, Nederland
Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, June 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’re up for a nice mountain day trip and still want time to stroll by some great art, Nederland’s annual High Peaks Art Festival fills the bill perfectly: It’s close enough that you won’t be driving all day, yet you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world in Nederland, a funky little town in the shadow of the Indian Peaks that’s sophisticated enough to offer restaurants serving everything from burgers to Nepalese. Like Nederland itself, the show — which includes fine art, photography, sculpture, handmade jewelry, fiber arts and more — is small and well
Friday, July 7, 5 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 8, 4 to 11 p.m.
Sunday, July 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
$5 to $59
If you like big, TheBigWonderful is already huge, no matter where it pops up for business. But when the combined art, retail, music and foodie fest teams up with the Stanley Marketplace on the Stapleton/Aurora borderline, it’s beyond ginormous, with more diversions inside and out than you could possibly take in on a single day. That must be why it lasts for three: The first evening kicks it all off with a ticketed beer fest and live music, and the Saturday Night Bazaar turns to elite shopping from curated vendors; Sunday’s Day Bazaar is tailor-made for families, with more than sixty vendors and food trucks, plus music from Bob Marley, Madonna and Pink Floyd tribute bands. And that doesn’t even include Stanley’s own lineup of nifty boutiques and eateries inside. Best deal? $59 for the whole weekend gets you into everything — and kids ages twelve and under always get in free.
2017 Summer Horseshoe Craft & Flea Market
Saturday, July 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4345 West 46th Avenue
In spite of having to push your way through a happy crowd, the first best thing you’ll notice about the Horseshoe Market is that it’s free — and then there’s so much more to appreciate. For one, Horseshoe curates a different mix of high-quality makers, artisans, vintage sellers and food trucks into every seasonal market, with a special emphasis on collaborating with and showing support for the brave and artsy entrepreneurs it fosters. And then there’s just the atmosphere it generates, full of hope and the flea-worthy promise of lucky finds. For an even more community-minded and food-focused experience, try Horseshoe’s offshoot, the Jefferson Park Farm & Flea, happening next on July 15 on 25th Avenue, between Federal Boulevard and Eliot Street.
Continue reading for five more summer art and craft markets.
Art Night Out in Lafayette
Old Town Lafayette
Public Road between Cannon and Emma streets
Every second Friday of the month, July 14 through September 8, 5 to 9 p.m.
The city of Lafayette knows how to live it up in the summertime, and Art Night Out has been cranking up the good times in Boulder County for nearly ten years, combining monthly outdoor art shows with a changing slate of music by Colorado headliners. Art demos, food trucks and activities for kids ramp up each evening before the music starts, and there’s a beer and wine garden for the grownups. The featured band for July is Wendy Woo.
Jackalope Denver: Summer 2017
July 29-30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The tri-state Jackalope brings its dynamic and tightly curated arts-and-crafts fair back to Denver for a summer session that, as always, is more than a sale. Along with a spread of more than 150 vendors on three floors of the McNichols Building, the fair offers hands-on workshops with local makers, with live music and food trucks to keep folks occupied when they’re not shopping. And if you’re lucky enough to be one of the first 25 people through the door each day, grab a vendor swag bag.
Sculpture in the Park Show and Sale
Benson Sculpture Garden
2908 Aspen Drive, Loveland
Friday, August 11, 4 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 12, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, August 13, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
$7; children 14 and under admitted free
Sculpture in the Park, a thirty-year tradition drawing sculptors and ceramicists from across the nation for an outdoor show to remember, showcases more than 2,000 works by 160 artists in Loveland’s Benson Sculpture Garden. The collector’s paradise beneath the Rockies, one of the top events of its kind in the U.S., begins with a tony patron party on Friday night (tickets are $75; call 970-663-2940 to learn more) before giving way to two days of public viewing on Saturday and Sunday.
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Denver Sloan’s Lake Arts & Music Festival
Sloan’s Lake Park
17th Avenue and Utica Street
Saturday, August 12, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Here’s another show for everyone, located in one of the city’s nicest parks, where a juried selection of local and national artists will gather under shady trees to show off their art and craft works. It’s a bring-your-lawn-chair kind of event, with lots of live music, food and a Creation Station to keep idle hands busy, whether they belong to a toddler or a grandma. Enjoy serene Sloan’s Lake in the background.
Friday, September 15, 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, September 16, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, September 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Grand Tasting: $60, $75 VIP
Free admission on Saturday and Sunday
CherryArts, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival’s kid sister, is growing up right alongside its host, the Stanley Marketplace, which was still under construction when the fest debuted inside and around the new urban family playground. This year, both the venue and the festival are finding their strides in what looks like a happy partnership. CherryArts starts up on Friday night with a ticketed opening-night Grand Tasting event offering a first look at the artists and vendors over open-bar cocktails and tidbits from Stanley residents and other local businesses. The fest opens up to everyone on Saturday and Sunday, with free admission inside and out. Come out for the kids’ activities, food trucks and site-specific pop-up installations.