Denver is exploding with free events this week. In addition to the red, white and blue parties and fireworks spectacles marking Independence Day, as well as the last day of the Cherry Creek Arts festival, there are also shows highlighting activist poets and opportunities to shop for dogs. Although all of the events listed below are free, some have a suggested minimum donation — and we encourage you to pony up even more; our local artists need all the help they can get.
Evan Semón Photography
Independence Eve 2017
Monday, July 3, 8 p.m.
Civic Center Park
When the Fourth of July rolls around, it’s hard to avoid fireworks shows, which light up the sky for miles. And who wants to avoid them, anyway (dogs excepted)? For urbanites who can’t wait to have a blast, Independence Eve 2017, starting at 8 p.m. Monday, July 3, at Civic Center Park, is the way to go. The eighth annual celebration gets rocking with party band Soul X before giving way to the pomp and circumstance of the 101st Army Band of the Colorado National Guard. For convenience’s sake, there will be food trucks on hand, although you’re free to bring your own eats, too. You’ll definitely want to bring your own seating and arrive early to grab a good spot for the show and the fireworks that top off the night. That’s entertainment! Admission is free; learn more at civiccenterconservancy.org.
C/o Larimer Associates
Stars & Stripes Express Fest
Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4
This year, relocate your Independence Day celebration from the back yard to Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, for the Stars & Stripes Express Fest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4. The Terminal Bar will double the size of its patio to fit more revelers, and Denver Beer Co. will be pouring lots of locally brewed suds; there will also be plenty of live music and family-friendly entertainment. Stars & Stripes is a free event (but the beer isn’t), and it will end early enough for you to catch a local fireworks display.
C/o Aspen Music Festival
Fourth of July Concert
Tuesday, July 4, 4 p.m.
Benedict Music Tent, Aspen
Class up your Fourth of July festivities with the Aspen Music Festival and School band as they play their way through an all-American repertoire. Featuring classic patriotic compositions like Yankee Doodle, the Hudson River Rhapsody, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Armed Forces Salute and more, the program also livens things up with selections from Westside Story and John Philip Sousa's El Capitan. The free concert kicks off at 4 p.m. in the Benedict Music Tent, 960 North 3rd Street, Aspen, leaving guests with plenty of fireworks-watching time once it's over. Visit aspenmusicfestival.com to learn more.
C/o Haymarket Books
Night of American Verse
Thursday, July 6, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Colorado poets will take on social issues in the Trump era at an in-your-face Night of American Verse at Syntax Physic Opera. The Colorado Springs-based duo of queer activist/spoken-word artist Nico Wilkinson and award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin will introduce their collaborative chapbook, Inauguration, from Haymarket Books; joining the powerful pair will be Denver's Minor Disturbance youth poets and the cast of How I Got Over: A Journey in Verse, performing excerpts from the original choreo-poem staged last year at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Off-Center. That’s a lot of poetry for a $5 donation at the door: Pay up at Syntax, 554 South Broadway, at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Learn more on the Facebook event page; for a head start, get a free digital e-book of Inauguration at haymarketbooks.org.
C/o Ink Lounge
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Summer Dog Barket
Friday, July 7, 5-8 p.m,
Maybe it’s not a dog-eat-dog world, after all. To make that point, Ink Lounge’s July First Friday party and vendor showcase will celebrate how pooches enrich our lives (and vice versa) with a Summer Dog Barket, inspired in part by Squeegee, the darling shelter mutt adopted from the MaxFund by the screen-printing shop’s owners, Stu and Nicky Alden. Everyone’s welcome to enjoy dog art, artisan treats and toys, pupsicles, dog-themed cocktails, a valet pooch lounge; adoptable dogs will be available, too, in the MaxFund van, from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, July 7, at Ink Lounge, 29 South Fox Street. Arrive early, and you might be one of the first twenty attendees who will receive doggie gift bags; arrive any time and be assured that your drink tips will benefit the MaxFund. Your well-behaved, leashed pups are invited, too. For details, visit the Facebook event page or go to inklounge.com.
Looking for more to do? Visit the Westword calendar.