Best Events in Denver May 1 Through May 7, 2018 | Westword

The 21 Best Events in Denver, May 1-7

With warmer weather on the horizon, it's time to really start loading up that social calendar. And this week has plenty to do, from Derby parties to May the Fourth celebrations and Cinco de Mayo.
Fall in love with a different side of Denver during the Denver Graffiti Tours.
Fall in love with a different side of Denver during the Denver Graffiti Tours. Pat Milbery
Share this:
With warmer weather on the horizon, it's time to really start loading up that social calendar. And this week has plenty to do, from Derby parties to May the Fourth celebrations and Cinco de Mayo. Keep reading for more of the week's best events!

Tuesday, May 1

Robotics are big in the STEM world, and here’s a hands-on opportunity to keep up with and experience the latest technologies while marveling at the human ingenuity behind them: The family-friendly interactive exhibit Robonology, a dive into the latest technologies in space, ocean and planetary exploration, is coming to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, for a summer run beginning Tuesday, May 1 (with a members-only preview on Sunday, April 29), and continuing daily through September 9. Robonology is included in the regular museum admission of $8.50 to $15, but various simulator experiences will be available for an extra charge, so come prepared. Learn more at

Building off the energy, inspiration and entrepreneurial spirit that started with the Something Independent Awards in 2011, The Wright has moved from the Golden Triangle to Golden, where it’s rolling out a three-day industry summit featuring outdoor-inspired business founders, rule-breakers and problem-solvers who’ll participate in fifteen talks, workshops and panels. The action gets under way on Tuesday, May 1, and continues through Wednesday, May 2, with free daily programming; the annual awards bash on Thursday, May 3, is $50. All events will be held on the Colorado School of Mines campus; find a complete schedule and register at

Wednesday, May 2

Hook up with standup comedian, writer, actor, musician and dater Lane Moore, who’ll host Tinder LIVE!, an interactive show offering tips, tricks and real-time swiping, messaging and perhaps even a live phone call with Tinder matches. Producer and host of the podcast Are You Afraid of the Snark?, Moore is bound to deliver plenty during this 18+ event. Make a date to be at the Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2. Tickets are $20; get yours at

Thursday, May 3

There's no denying the talent of a cast that includes Curious Theatre Company all-stars Erik Sandvold, Randy Moore, John Jurcheck and Karen Slack, and there’s even more to like about the company’s new production of playwright Meridith Friedman’s family drama Your Best One. For one, it’s a world premiere, in keeping with the Curious new-play imperative, and it’s directed by Curious co-founder and stalwart Dee Covington. Part of a trilogy, Your Best One also fits the Curious penchant for play cycles. The company launched Friedman’s three-part story about the burdens of the middle-aged as experienced by the Hoffman family with last year’s production of The Luckiest People. Get caught up in the second installment when Your Best One opens for previews at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, and Friday, May 4, and continues Thursdays through Sundays through June 10 at Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma Street. Find times and tickets, $18 to $50, at

Leon Gallery keeps the fun dialed up with The Talent Show, a new event hosted by Hayley Dixon and Kalindi DeFrancis and showcasing pretty much anything performative, including what the organizers call “non-talents.” If you want to show off your own Stupid Human Tricks à la David Letterman, forget it — entries for this event have closed. But you can still be an audience member, a job that requires a critical eye and a loud cheering voice. Enjoy talent and treats on Thursday, May 3, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Leon, 1112 East 17th Avenue. Admission is free; learn more at the "Leon Talent Show" event page on Facebook.
Nerd out, Star Wars fans, for May the Fourth!
Aaron Thackeray
Friday, May 4

If you’re one of those Star Wars fanatics who’s already seen it all in the Skywalker universe, Turkish Star Wars is here to shut you up. Without giving away too much, the film, one of the world’s worst examples of cinema, isn’t about Star Wars at all, though it does blatantly steal footage and music from the real Star Wars and other American-made sci-fi and adventure films (most notably, “The Raiders March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark). Okay, it’s really terrible, but it’s May the Fourth, an important date for Star Wars geeks, and if you go, you can also get down with trivia, a costume contest and other mayhem, as well as the esteemed commentary of movie pundit Ernie Quiroz. Turkish Star Wars screens on Friday, May 4, from 7 to 9:45 p.m. at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street; admission is $10 in advance at or $12 at the door. Learn more on the event's Facebook page.

As far as pun-based holidays go, May the Fourth is among the most delightfully frivolous; the annual celebration of Star Wars fandom unites nerds from each generation for some costumed camaraderie. While many local venues are throwing parties inspired by the space-swashbuckling tales from a galaxy far, far away, few of them are brimming with fan-inspired creativity like the May the Fourth Be With You 2018 Art War Party, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, at the Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street. Browse through a collection of over 85 original Star Wars-inspired artworks from more than thirty local artists, or watch the original films on large screens while sipping "Dark Side" and "Rebel Alliance" cocktails as the Curtis transforms into a Jedi Temple for the evening. Cosplay is obviously encouraged, though any and all Jar Jar Binkses will be fed to the Rancor. Admission is $15 at Visit to learn more.

Hundreds of alpacas and their handlers (and fans) will convene at the National Western Stock Show Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street, Friday, May 4, through Sunday, May 6, for the Great Western Alpaca Show. Equal parts fun and educational, the GWAS showcases all parts of the alpaca. Fiber demonstrations will teach attendees how to use their wool-like covering for clothing and blankets, and those purely interested in the aesthetics of the cute, llama-like animal can even get a selfie with one in the alpaca selfie booth. And don't miss the alpaca costume contest on Saturday at 2 p.m., where handlers will show off their decked-out ’pacas, who will be judged by how imaginative their outfits are. Hosted by the Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, the show is free and opens at 10 a.m. all three days. Visit for more details.

click to enlarge
See street art during a Denver Graffiti Tour.
Kenzie Bruce
Saturday, May 5

A lot of Denver’s beautiful street art resides on walls in alleys and alcoves, out of plain sight, so unless you’re willing to haunt those dark corners day in and day out, you might miss some prime examples. Beginning Saturday, May 5, Denver Graffiti Tours will be here to guide you through said alleyways and other secretly graffito'd parts of town, while also covering the best of Denver murals in more obvious locations. Led by tour entrepreneurs Erin Spradlin and James Carlson, DGT will book two-hour tours in the RiNo district, leaving from the Unleaded Group parking lot, 2314 Broadway, every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. through November 24. The tour ends at the Central Market, 2669 Larimer Street, just in time for a snack. Carlson and Spradlin donate 5.280 percent of the $20 fee to local arts organizations and even add background information about the challenges faced by artists in gentrifying RiNo to their tour talk. Learn more at

A holiday that began as a commemoration of the Mexican army's underdog victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo has blossomed over the centuries into a catch-all celebration of Mexico's culture. While the holiday's historical significance means little to the tequila-soaked hordes of weekend revelers that will crowd into local cantinas, Denver still holds a number of delightful celebrations, none more so than Jammin' 101.5's eighth annual Chihuahua Races in Civic Center Park. The race, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, pits the small but feisty creatures against each other in a mad dash for the first-place prize of $250, plus a trophy and a doggie spa day. The whole endeavor is a victory for cuteness, no matter which pup claims first place. Admission is free for spectators; visit to learn more and to register your lil' racer.

Denver’s old-time Chicano community can remember when Cinco de Mayo celebrations were strictly a Westside neighborhood party thirty years ago along Santa Fe Drive, bound by tradition, with whole families dancing in the streets. But when the urban fest expanded to Civic Center Park in 1995, its flavor changed to serve a more homogenized community. If you long for a smaller gathering that gets back to cultural traditions, you might do well to turn your attention to downtown Aurora, where the inaugural Aurora Cinco de Mayo will take over Fletcher Plaza, 9898 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, on Saturday, May 5, from noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 6, from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free; enjoy cultural performances, mariachis, Chihuahua races and more, and chow down on food-vendor fare and local brews in the beer garden. Visit or the event's Facebook page for more information.
click to enlarge
Horse around at the Denver Mini Derby.
Courtesy of Stanley Marketplace
If hats and horsies are your favorite things in May, Stanley Marketplace’s 2018 Denver Mini Derby, from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, offers a little bit of everything in the service of the Run for the Roses, with nods to Derby wear, pure whimsy, calculating odds, juleps and great racetrack fare from Rolling Smoke BBQ. The event begins with a cute corgi race, a series of best-dressed contests and charitable betting, which all end just in time for post time — live from Churchill Downs, courtesy of a huge, crowd-sized viewing screen. The promised mini derby, run by miniature horses led around the ring by human “jockeys,” wraps up the day as you tally up your wins or losses. Stanley Marketplace is at 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora; tickets, $79 to $169, are available in three tiers (designated driver, general admission and VIP) at

Spoon a little romescu on your opera this week when Opera on Tap hosts Audience Choice! Ópera en Español, an informal evening of bar-side arias, art songs and zarzuelas sung in Spanish to a swoony crowd at Syntax Physic Opera. As if the music wasn’t enough to turn you into a Latin lover, Natalia Perez del Villar and Mark Herzog from Flamenco Underground will be there to inject the proceedings with their peppery rhythms. ¡Magnífico! Enjoy Opera on Tap on Saturday, May 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Syntax, 554 South Broadway; tickets are $8 at, $10 at the door.

Break out your best sci-fi costumes and get ready for a night of chaos, robots and dystopian bliss: The fifty masked marauding musicians in Itchy-O and the futuristic burlesque dancers in Carnivale de Sensuale will be performing at SCI-FI FREAKOUT, a celebration of all things sci-fi, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5. DJ Mudwulf and DJ Bloodline will spin between sets, and the audience member with the best costume will receive a pair of weekend passes to Denver Comic Con. For information and tickets, $25 to $40, go to

Go hog wild on Saturday, May 5, when Lola Coastal Mexican throws the tenth annual Picnic of the Pig. For this fiesta, Lola is joining with next-door neighbor Low Country Kitchen to close off the street in front of the restaurants, then will fill the block with live Mexican rock from iZCALLi and other local bands, luchador wrestling, face painting for the kids, plenty of porkorific food (including tacos from a pig roast), Milagro Tequila margaritas, and beer from the Post Brewing Company. The festivities will run from noon to 8 p.m.; at 4 p.m., you’ll be able to drink mint juleps while you watch the Kentucky Derby on the rooftop deck of Low Country. “Picnic of the Pig has always been a celebration,” says Lola founder/exec chef Jamey Fader. “We’ve dreamed of bringing it to the streets so it’s not just about Lola, but the neighborhood coming together as well.” Now that dream has come true. Admission is free, with varying charges for food and drink; both restaurants will also be open. For more information, go to or

TheBigWonderful will celebrate its fifth anniversary with Beerfest, a big bash that runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, at the old Denver Post building, 4400 Fox Street. Over eighty craft vendors and makers will be on hand, along with a selection of food trucks and more than twenty breweries, cideries and distilleries pouring unlimited samples at the Beerfest. Local bands will make a big noise both days, and TVs will be tuned to the Kentucky Derby at 4 p.m. Saturday for race fans. RSVP at for free admission on May 5; general admission tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door (tickets are valid for both days). Beerfest tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, or $50 for an all-weekend Wonderpass; get them at

Sunday, May 6

Set sail toward sonic delight on Sunday, May 6, at Pirates of the Symphony Seas, presented by Buntport Theater and the Colorado Symphony. Hear songs of seafaring glory performed by a hearty crew of swashbuckling scoundrels as drama and orchestra combine under the steady hand of conductor Chris Dragon. Curated by the Buntport players, the rousing program includes Reinhold Gliere's "Russian Sailor's Dance," Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance," themes from the Pirates of the Caribbean films and more. The family-friendly fun begins at 1 p.m. at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Visit for tickets, $10 to $25, and more information.

Head to the hills on Sunday, May 6, for one last day of skiing at Winter Park’s Mary Jane, which has seen plenty of snow over the past few weeks. After a few laps on the mountain, point your board to the base for Music at the Jane, a free party with live music from 2 to 4:30 p.m. as well as happy-hour deals on food and drinks, which you can use to toast the almost-end of the ski season. After this, your only option is A-Basin, where the party is slated to continue until at least June. Find out more at

Singer-songwriter Kathi DeFrancis was an integral part of Denver’s music scene for more than fifty years, first gaining widespread attention as the co-host of the twenty-week series Of Cabbage and Kings for what was then  KRMA public television in 1968, producing three albums of her own original music, fronting her band the Bad Girls, and recording with many other artists. But we’ll remember her most for her performances with the Mother Folkers, a boisterous, joyful group she co-founded that put on sold-out performances for 25 years. DeFrancis passed away in March at the age of 74; she’ll be remembered at Kathi's Life Celebration from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Donations will be taken for DeFrancis's medical bills; find more information on the event's Facebook page.
Think small at Make/Shift Monday: Small Statements.
Becky Wareing Steele
Monday, May 7

RedLine and the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys invite you to think small — really, really small — at Make/Shift Monday: Small Statements, a participatory public-art project where you become part of the story. Miniaturist Becky Wareing Steele, who is known for creating Lilliputian dioramas inside geodes and on rocks and other unusual surfaces, will lead the workshop, during which participants will tell community-oriented Denver stories by building their own dioramas inside tiny tins. The resulting works will then be hidden in urban nooks and crannies, where passersby might find them. Join Wareing Steele and DMMDT on Monday, May 7, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street; materials will be provided, but registration is required in advance (find the link on the event's Facebook page). Get more info at

World-renowned Catalan conductor and gambist Jordi Savali is dedicated to preserving musical traditions from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras by breathing new life into old compositions in concerts that feel like musical time travel. He's the co-founder — along with his late wife, soprano Montserrat Figueras — of Hespèrion XXI, a chamber ensemble that uses period-appropriate instruments (such as Savali's own viola da gamba). Rediscover the sounds of centuries past with Savali and Hesperion XXI on Monday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue; the performance comes courtesy of the Friends of Chamber Music. Visit to buy tickets, $10 to $50, and get more details.

In order for an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to [email protected].

Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Westword has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.