The days may be getting shorter and the weather chillier, but don't let that keep you from enjoying the last few weeks of summer in Denver. This week's list of the 21 best events in Denver includes plenty to do in the great outdoors, including a bike race and music festival, an arts festival in Breckenridge and more, plus loads to do indoors, too.
Tuesday, August 8
Widely considered the current reigning queen of country music, Miranda Lambert has evolved from the promising winner of third place on Nashville Star into an acclaimed solo country artist. She’s also won a Grammy for Best Country Album (for Platinum) and been feted by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Touring in support of her latest album, The Weight of These Wings, Lambert will be joined by opening acts Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen at 7:30 p.m. on August 8 and 9 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison. Visit redrocksonline.com for information and tickets, $49.75 to $69.75.
Wednesday, August 9
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With national policy changes happening almost every day (and often announced on Twitter, of all places), ingesting news from D.C. can feel like drinking out of a fire hose. Try to apply that news locally, and you’ll wind up even more overwhelmed. Here to help is Joining Vision and Action, a nonprofit social-enterprise group based in Denver. On Wednesday, August 9, JVA will assemble a panel of local policy experts — including representatives from the mayor’s office, the Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition and Conservation Colorado, among others — who will speak about the impacts that the federal budget, set to pass on October 1, could have on social services, climate change and defense policy, all with an eye toward local communities. Panelists will also offer advice on how to make sure the causes near and dear to your heart remain supported. Trump Budget: An Information and Action Session begins at 5:30 p.m. at JVA, 2465 Sheridan Boulevard. Attendance is free; RSVP at joiningvisionandaction.com.
The 32nd Annual Chautauqua Silent Film Series continues this week with 1916’s Sherlock Holmes, a film many figured had been lost to time. William Gillette’s turn as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuthing hero is widely considered to be the definitive performance of the character, and this newly restored version represents the last surviving footage of Gillette’s interpretation of Holmes. Like films in the rest of the series, the screening on Wednesday, August 9, revives that special old-time picture-house ambience with a live musical accompaniment from pianist Hank Troy. Join the crowd of cinephiles and history buffs at 7:30 p.m. at Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road. Visit chautauqua.com for tickets, $6 to $12, and more information.
Thursday, August 10
The doors to the Brown Palace opened on August 12, 1892, and they’ve never been locked since — although decades ago, the entrance moved from busy Broadway to Tremont. To mark its 125th birthday, the Brown Palace will be celebrating all weekend long with a wide range of events. You can go big with the seven-course, $150 Anniversary Degustation Menu in the Palace Arms, offered Thursday, August 10, through Saturday, August 12; try a special afternoon tea with music in the Atrium Friday, August 11, through Sunday, August 13 (prices start at $40); or just stop in the lobby anytime through the weekend to see a free display of historic artifacts, including Thomas Edison’s signature on the register! Overnight package deals are also available; for the complete lineup, go to brownpalace.com.
Friday, August 11
If you grew up watching cartoons between the ’60s and ’00s, you’ve seen Ron Campbell’s work. He’s animated everything from a Beatles television show and the film Yellow Submarine to Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, The Smurfs and Rugrats. After spending decades behind the animation, the craftsman has retired and embraced a second career as a painter. Now he’s traveling the world selling art and meeting the fans of the TV shows he helped create. Campbell will be at Bitfactory Gallery, 851 Santa Fe Drive, on Friday, August 11, from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, August 12, from noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday, August 13, from noon to 4 p.m, presenting his Beatles Cartoon Pop Art Show, with original cartoons of the Fab Four and artwork based on his fifty-year career. For more information on this free show, go to bitfactory.net or call 303-862-9367.
RiNo will be the center of the action starting Friday, August 11, when the inaugural Colorado Classic bike race rolls into town, accompanied by Velorama, a three-day celebration of bands, bikes and beyond. The festival will stretch over a dozen blocks in the area, filling them with a special Denver Flea and vendor village; fun and games including adult big-wheel races; food and drink curated by Drink Rino; after-parties; and a family-friendly day on Sunday, August 13. Local and national acts — Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Old 97’s, the Jayhawks, Saint Motel and Tennis among them — will perform through the weekend...and, yes, there will be bicycle racing. Get the complete schedule plus ticket pricing (and download the app) at veloramacolorado.com.
Multidisciplinary spectacle, interactivity and natural beauty mingle freely at the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, a Colorado fest like no other, bringing local and international performances and installations both intimate and large-scale to the mountainsides of Breck each summer. If you long for a total arts-immersion experience in the glorious Rockies, Breck is the place to be this year starting Friday, August 11. Highlights of the ten-day event include projection artist Craig Walsh’s “Monuments,” which casts giant, eerie faces on trees; a performance by Denver’s avant-garde marching band Itchy-O; ticketed circus performances by Casus Circus; Polyglot Theatre’s roving giant ants; impromptu installations and pop-up concerts along Breckenridge trails — and, unbelievably, much more. Most of BIFA is free (tickets are required for only a few events); for a complete rundown of attractions, concerts, tours and workshops, visit breckcreate.org.
Saturday, August 12
The city is in the middle of Denver Days, a week-long celebration of neighborhoods. From 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 12, the Skyline Festival will fill Chaffee Park at 51st and Zuni. Enjoy live music, kid-friendly activities, and free yoga and zumba classes; the Birdseed Collective will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting. Find out more on the Skyline Festival Facebook page; see the full Denver Days lineup on Denvergov.org.
Help support the Special Olympics of Colorado while competing in a Herculean feat of strength on Saturday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Teams of up to 25 people must raise a minimum of $1,250 (or $50 each) to get their chance to play tug-of-war with a commercial airplane (weight: 164,000 pounds). The team that can haul the plane across twelve feet of tarmac fastest wins. Sponsored by the Subway sandwich franchise, the Special Olympics Colorado Plane Pull is a fun way to raise funds for thousands of disabled athletes while showing off your own brawn. Check in at Denver International Airport’s Signature Flight Support, at 7850 Harry B. Combs Parkway. Admission is free; visit specialolympicsco.org to find out more.
Cherry Creek North is heating up, with scads of new restaurants and bars drawing locals and visitors alike. With so many new choices, keeping up with the latest bites is no easy proposition, but you can cover a lot of ground in one evening at Cherry Creek North Food & Wine, a celebration of the neighborhood’s best eats served up from 6 to 9 p.m on Saturday, August 12, on Fillmore Plaza (100 block of Fillmore Street). Tickets are available at several levels, including VIP admission, which gets you through the gate an hour early; go to cherrycreeknorth.com to view your options. Worried about hitting the wine side of the festival a little too hard? There are also Halcyon Hotel discounts available on the website so you can indulge to your heart’s content before heading up to your room.
Calling all LEGO maniacs: Brick Fest Live!, North America’s largest fan-created LEGO celebration, returns this weekend. Keeping with the DIY spirit of the Danish building-block toy company, Brick Fest Live! invites guests to enjoy a staggering variety of utterly unique creations, each constructed with painstaking care. Marvel at life-sized LEGO cities and lovingly assembled pop-culture figures, race against friends with LEGO derby cars down a 35-foot track, and even play a few holes on a LEGO mini golf course. Aficionados can even add to their collections from vendors, who’ll be selling new and vintage LEGO sets. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13, Brick Fest Live! takes over the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, for a weekend sure to delight the whole family. Admission is free for children two and under and starts at $22 for everyone else. To buy yours and learn more, go to events.brickfestlive.com or call 1-866-442-4433.
Whoever said poetry is dead will be proven dead wrong at the National Poetry Slam finals, which begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place. The competition will pit top-tier teams of wordsmiths — like Denver’s own Slam Nuba, which won the NPS championship in 2011 — against each other. The finals are sure to be exciting, but don’t miss out on the day’s various free craft- and community-focused workshops, like an inter-generational slam and discussion, a celebration of poetry and reproductive health, a writing workshop and much, much more. Find tickets and a schedule of the day’s lineup at npsdenver.com.
Burning Man culture has its own rules, philosophy and communal ethos that practitioners continue to observe long after the temporary city in the desert tears down and disappears without a trace every summer. What do burners do the rest of the year? Many of them begin anew, preparing projects for the following year’s human circus on the playa, and that costs money. Hence the Fusion Factory’s tri-annual Burner Bazaar!, a market peopled by vendors hawking playa-worthy costumes and interactive props, art bikes, kombucha, crystals, vegan chocolates and other one-of-a-kind festival merch. Browse the sale and take home a little piece of Black Rock: The Burner Bazaar runs from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13, at the Fusion Factory, 3563 Walnut Street in RiNo. Admission is free. Learn more at facebook.com/thefusionfactory.
KUVO has been a leader in jazz for decades, but the radio station is publicly supported, so it needs community help to keep the tunes coming. Pitch in on Saturday, August 12, at Live at the Vineyards, KUVO’s annual wine-themed fundraiser. The good times start at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 for VIP ticket holders) at Balistreri Vineyards, 1946 East 66th Avenue. You’ll be wined and dined with food from the likes of Cafe Brazil, Jax Fish House, Nocturne, Little Man Ice Cream and many others, all to the bluesy sounds of Bobby Watson’s All-Star Quartet & Kansas City Jump Band. Tickets are $75 for general admission or $125 for VIP, and there’s also a table sponsorship for up to eight people. Peruse the complete menu and purchase tickets at kuvo.org, or call 303-620-5793 for sponsorship options. It’s going to be a sax-y night!
Don’t let Mar Williams fool you: When the Denver artist says there will “probably” be cats in the new exhibit Probably Cats, it’s a real invitation to enter Williams’s wacky world of grotesque felines, who will be creeping up in drawings, prints and stickers at Cabal Gallery, 1875 South Broadway. It’s Williams’s first solo show at the co-op (and probably a labor of love from a determined cat lover, too). Drop by for the opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, or visit the gallery through the end of August. For more information, go to
Cabal Gallery’s Facebook page.
The 40 West Arts District and the City of Lakewood will take it outdoors and large-scale for the third annual West Colfax MuralFest 2017, a district-beautification project turned street party going down on Saturday, August 12, at the Lamar Station Plaza, 6501 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, in the shadow of the classic Casa Bonita. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can watch artists at work on walls, enjoy art vendors and food trucks, make-and-take a creative project and drop by the beer garden for a sip; admission is free, as are the good vibes. For more information, visit westcolfaxmuralfest.org.
Sunday, August 13
The Denver Botanic Gardens 2017 Summer Concert Series continues on Sunday, August 13, with Garrison Keillor’s Love and Comedy show. Keillor is a broadcasting legend, best known for hosting the enduring and endearing variety show A Prairie Home Companion from 1974 to 2016. In addition to starring in the late Robert Altman’s filmic ode to a program that originated on Minnesota Public Radio, Keillor has written several best-selling books and contributes a semi-regular column to the Washington Post. Keillor will be joined by frequent collaborators Richard Dworsky and the Road Hounds, plus singer Heather Masse and sound-effects man Fred Newman. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. at the DBG’s Chatfield Farms location, 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton. Visit botanicgardens.org to learn more and buy tickets, $61 to $66.
Costumes, dancing, singing and beverages — sounds like a cabaret night or maybe dinner theater, right? Throw in some pierogi, cabbage rolls, kielbasa and potato pancakes, and what you actually have is Denver’s annual Polish Food Festival, held at the Saint Joseph Polish Catholic Church, 517 East 46th Avenue, on Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13. Don’t miss the pierogi-eating contest at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday (or again at 3 p.m. on Sunday, if you have room), and enjoy Polish beers and culture throughout both days. The event runs from noon to 9 p.m. the first day and noon to 7 p.m. the second, with a full lineup of folk musicians and dancers both days. Admission is free, but the food, homemade pastries and beers will cost you, so bring some cash so you won’t go home hungry. See polishfoodfestival.org for the schedule and menu.
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Human-rights documentarian Fazal Sheikh, who’s been photographing the plight of disenfranchised refugees, the marginalized, the religious and ethnic outcasts and the homeless in every corner of the earth for more than twenty years, gets his first major U.S. show this summer at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013, a timely new exhibit opening in the Hamilton Building’s Gallagher Gallery, gets straight to the heart of global current events through a combination of realism and pathos. “His photographs put us eye to eye with individuals in ways that reveal our shared humanity rather than reinforcing symbols or stereotypes,” says DAM photography curator Eric Paddock. “His empathy and the straightforward elegance of his pictures give his work unique power and grace.” Common Ground, which opens Sunday, August 13, and runs through November 12, is included in the regular DAM gate admission; learn more about this event and other goings-on at the museum at denverartmuseum.org.
When was the last time you held a bouquet of flowers to your nose and were transported by scents of grass, dirt, water and whatever flower was in your hands? If you buy your flowers at the grocery store, like most of us do, it’s probably been a while. Mossflower wants to change that by providing seasonal flowers grown by Colorado farmers (yes, really — check the website for provider bios) in lieu of imported blooms, which often have inferior life spans and aroma. And to showcase her products, owner Gina Hemmings will present an interactive workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 13. At Cooking With Flowers: Afternoon Tea With Sweet and Savory Bites, guests will prepare three dishes using edible flowers like nasturtium and lavender, and will sip on Infinite Monkey Theorem wine, as the class takes place at the winery’s Stanley Marketplace location, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. Purchase tickets, $55, at mossflower.net.
Monday, August 14
Celebrate your birthday — or someone’s, anyway — at Birthday Party With Kenny DeForest, a show featuring the New York-based comic best known as a producer and co-host of Comedy at the Knitting Factory. Pussy Bros comedy troupe members Janae Burris, Rachel Weeks and Christie Buchelle will join DeForest at this month’s talent-show-themed “birthday party,” showing off their talents besides comedy that may or may not include baton-twirling, juggling and more! Tickets to the show, which goes down on Monday, August 14, at Rackhouse Pub/C Squared Cider, 2872 Blake Street, are $5 at nightout.com and include your first drink. Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. show.