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The Denver Botanic Gardens gets into the holidays with Blossoms of Light.
The Denver Botanic Gardens gets into the holidays with Blossoms of Light.
Courtesy of the Denver Botanic Gardens

The 21 Best Events in Denver, November 25 to December 1

The holidays have arrived, bringing with them chilly weather and lots of merriment. Some Denver holiday traditions will launch this week, including Blossoms of Light and the Downtown Denver Rink. Even if the holidays aren't your thing, there's still plenty to do in and around town this week. Keep reading for more of the best events in Denver!

Monday, November 25

Ready to whet your appetite for Thanksgiving? Any way you slice it, this event is a cut above. From 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, November 25, the Long I Pie Shop will host its annual Wine + Pie Pairing with Infinite Monkey Theorem at the latter's headquarters at 3200 Larimer Street. For $25 (plus tax), you get three courses of pure tastiness: salted honey and lavender with rosé, pumpkin with cab Franc, and spiced apple with chardonnay. As a bonus, Infinite Monkey will offer 15 percent off bottle purchases that night. Email nicki@infinitemonkeytheorem.com to reserve your spot; go to thelongipie.com to find out about the November 26 event pairing pie with Stem Ciders.

Tuesday, November 26

Lace up for the Downtown Denver Rink, which returns to Skyline Park, 1601 Arapahoe Street, on Tuesday, November 26, with an opening celebration from 10 to 11:30 a.m. that includes free skating and a figure skating performance. In the ten years the rink has been around, some 407,406 skaters have hit the ice, which is open seven days a week through February 16. Entry to the holiday staple is free, but skate rentals are $7 for kids twelve and under and $9 for everyone else (you can also bring your own skates). For more information, visit downtowndenver.com.

Wednesday, November 27

You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends. So even if your Thanksgiving Day is reserved for tolerating your overbearing relatives who insist on talking politics, take time the night before to relax with friends. Old Major, at 3316 Tejon Street, is hosting Friendsgiving from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27, when you and your BFFs can dig into Laws whiskey pretzel rolls, braised meat, roasted root vegetables and other holiday eats served family-style. The $67 price tag per person includes wine and one Manhattan or Old Fashioned cocktail so you can toast the ones you love. Call 720-420-0622 or visit eventbrite.com to reserve your table.

Fifteen years ago, Denver jam band Polytoxic threw a tribute show to honor The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s documentary of the Band’s final concert, which included performances by Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and more. The tribute show was a massive success and became an annual tradition. To mark the 43rd anniversary of the Band’s last dance and the fifteenth of Polytoxic’s reboot, The Last Waltz — Revisited will roll out at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 27, with sixty-plus guest musicians, a full horn section, and more than thirty songs from the Band’s catalogue. Bring canned food items for the Denver Rescue Mission and receive a limited-edition poster commemorating the concert. For tickets, go to livenation.com.

Thursday, November 28

Wake up early on Thursday, November 28, to join 10,000-plus people at 10:15 a.m. to run, walk, trot, stroll or crawl through Washington Park during the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot, one of the city’s biggest races. Compete in the four-mile race or the quarter-mile Family Fun Run, and enjoy a beer garden, food and vendors afterward. Find more information and register as an individual or team, $40 to $45 per person, at unitedwaydenver.org/turkey-trot. Whether you’re racing or just cheering on the runners, head to Washington Park, 1700 East Louisiana Avenue, to join in the fun.

Don't have anywhere to go or anyone to hang with on Turkey Day? Instead of smoking solo, burn a few and grub out with other stoners on Thursday, November 28, at private cannabis club Studio 420, which is throwing a Thanksgiving Potluck from 1 to 11 p.m. To attend (21+), sign up for a one-day or continued membership through studio420.co. Members can call the club at 303-781-4642 to purchase tickets, or just bring a dish to get in for free at the club, 808 East 78th Avenue. Learn more at facebook.com/Studio420.co/.

Ligoranoresse snowglobe, $70.EXPAND
Ligoranoresse snowglobe, $70.
Visionswestcontemporary.com

Friday, November 29

Exactly how much do you eat on Thanksgiving? Whatever the amount, the day after is the perfect time to walk it all off while enjoying nature — one reason that it's been designated Fresh Air Friday by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which is granting free admission on Friday, November 29, to any of the state’s 41 state parks. Barr Lake, 13401 Picadilly Road in Brighton, has stepped it up with the aptly titled Great Waddle Walk-off, an easy, three-mile, dogs-allowed walkabout for all ages. The park opens at 10 a.m., but the event goes all day; dress appropriately, and bring your phone to participate in CPW’s Photo Scavenger Hunt (#FreshAirFriday). Learn more about Fresh Air Friday at cpw.state.co.us.

It's not too late to give thanks for all of the area's great artists. Visions West Contemporary is opening a large- scale holiday exhibition, Black Friday an Artists BaZaar, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, November 29. Over forty artists will be showing amazing pieces, all gifts that could last a lifetime. The gallery is located at 2605 Walnut Street; find out more at 303-292-0909 or go to visionswestcontemporary.com.

Fiction Beer Company will release seven culinary-inspired stout variants at noon on Friday, November 29. "We’ve crafted these variants with flavors and ingredients that provide the ultimate sensory stout experience," the brewery says. The beers are Steep Imperial Coffee Stout with lavender petals; Steep with chaga and lion's mane mushroom; Steep with guajillo and pasilla negro chile powders; a version with coconut and vanilla; and another with molasses, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. There will also be two kinds of Feely Effects Green Tea Milk Chocolate Stout Variants: Macadamia Nut and Figgy Pudding with fig, raisin, current and plum. Deputy Spudslinger will offer up food. Find more details at fictionbeer.com.

Skip the big-box stores and amazon.com purges in favor of a local holiday market where you're sure to find unique gifts. The Stapleton Holiday BAZAAR is returning to the Shops at Northfield Stapleton, 8340 Northfield Boulevard, with sixty-plus craft vendors, fashion and food trucks, live entertainment, holiday-themed cocktails, local craft beer and wine tastings and more. The three-day market kicks off on Friday, November 29, from noon to 8 p.m. and continues through Sunday, December 1. General admission is free, but "shop and sip" tickets are $25 at denverbazaar.com, where you'll also find more information about vendors and activities.

Part of the slow-film movement, Béla Tarr’s epic, seven-hour-long Sátántangó has been celebrated by Sight and Sound and the British Film Institute as one of the 100 greatest movies ever made. Based on a book by László Krasznahorkai, it tells the story of people living in a rural collective in Hungary after the collapse of Communism. In honor of a 25th-anniversary restoration, the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, will show Sátántangó at 1 p.m. daily from Friday, November 29, through Thursday, December 5. Find tickets, $20, at denverfilm.org.

The Denver Botanic Gardens will glow with holiday cheer at Blossoms of Light.
The Denver Botanic Gardens will glow with holiday cheer at Blossoms of Light.
Courtesy of the Denver Botanic Gardens

Between its two locations, the Denver Botanic Gardens has everyone covered when the holidays roll around. Blossoms of Light, in the heart of Denver at 1007 York Street, and Santa’s Village, out at Chatfield Farms, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton, offer lighting displays both sophisticated and urban, and rustic and rural; both attractions open their gates on the evening of Friday, November 29. Blossoms, running nightly from 5 to 9 p.m. through January 3, grows bigger and better every year, with immersive and participatory features that envelop the Gardens in a glowing veil of awe and wonder (best viewed through those kaleidoscopic HoloSpex glasses); at Chatfield, an old-fashioned Christmas unfolds Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. (and nightly beginning December 16), with hayrides, movie screenings, live reindeer and Santa, through December 22. Get info and timed tickets, $14 to $21 for the DBG and $15 to $20 for Chatfield, at botanicgardens.org.

Light up the start of the holiday season at The Grand Illumination, an annual alternative to braving the crowds of Black Friday shopping sprees. Gather ’round the plaza outside Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, and join merrymakers awaiting the spark that sets downtown alight. A forty-foot-tall Christmas tree stands proudly at the center of the action, overlooking an evening of festivities including live caroling and performances from the Denver Dolls and Denver Bronze ensembles, a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and an abundance of good cheer. The merriment begins at 5 and continues until 8 p.m. — the lights are scheduled to go on at 6:15 — on Friday, November 29. Admission is free; search the events calendar at unionstationindenver.com for more information.

Laugh the night away atTwist Your Dickens.EXPAND
Laugh the night away atTwist Your Dickens.
Courtesy of the Aurora Fox Arts Center

All you want for Christmas is a belly laugh or two? The Aurora Fox Arts Center will wrap that up with a big bow when the all-star local cast of Twist Your Dickens returns for a second year with the sketch-comedy, audience-participation take on A Christmas Carol originally created by Second City alums. Bring your funny bone and holiday cheer, and brace yourself for an evening of naughty satire, foul language and nonstop laughter. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 29, and runs Thursdays through Sundays through December 22, at the Aurora Fox, 9900 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. Learn more and find tickets, $12 to $37, at aurorafoxartscenter.org.

Drinking with friends can be an art, as proven regularly at Designated Drunkard, the comedy-powered drinking game hosted by Caitie Hannan and Westword scribe Byron Graham. The drinking part is easy — Drunkard leaves that up to its newest venue, the Irish Snug, 1201 East Colfax Avenue, where Hannan and Graham will celebrate a fresh start with help from comedians Sydney Carrington, Jordan Doll, Nathan Lund, Danny Ramos and Zach Welch. Drink up and have a laugh at Designated Drunkard Cannot Be Killed! on Friday, November 29, from 8 to 10 p.m.; find tickets, $5 ($10 VIP), at eventbrite.com.

Saturday, November 30

In the post-Internet world, community and commerce no longer go hand in hand. Instead, we do business with a screen, sending our dollars out into cyberspace with no concern for where they end up. All we know is that a package will eventually arrive on the doorstep, porch thieves notwithstanding. That’s why Small Business Saturday was invented — as a way for folks to get back on the street to shop, stopping to chat with boutique owners and artisans at markets. Get out of your bubble on Saturday, November 30 (aka the day after Black Friday), and help build the local economy by shopping at any small business in your ’hood. It’s as easy as that. For more ways to spend mindfully and locally this weekend, see our list of Small Business Saturday holiday markets and events at westword.com.

An overnight stay at the Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street, may sound like a whimsical indulgence, but Bunk With the Beasts: Wild Nights, Wild Winter is a decidedly mild evening of child-friendly infotainment. With the venue's stately grounds set aglow with the Zoo Lights holiday display, the event offers parents and kids ages five to twelve a rare opportunity to amble through the exhibits after closing time and learn about how various species survive in wintry climes. The night also includes dinner, crafts and other activities, and lots of hot cocoa. Discover your inner animal at Bunk With the Beasts, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 30, and winding down on Sunday, December 1, with breakfast and a before-hours private tour. Find tickets, $65 for members and $75 for everyone else, and further details at denverzoo.org.

Aretha Franklin's contributions to the American musical canon are so immense, it's likely that this country — this world — will never see another artist like her in our lifetime. Singer Capathia Jenkins will return to Denver along with Grammy nominee Ryan Shaw to pay homage to the Queen of Soul at Aretha: A Tribute, performing iconic hits including "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel LIke) a Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools" and many more. Pay your respects when Aretha: A Tribute lights up Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 30; find information and tickets, $30 to $104, at coloradosymphony.org.

On the prowl for adult entertainment after all that family time? The Cat Crawl should keep you purring through the weekend. Dress like a cat and drink like a human at this benefit for the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue; $20 gets you drink deals and even free drinks at bars around Capitol Hill. The feline fun starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 30, at Bang Up to the Elephant, 1310 Pearl Street, then continues at Charlie's Nightclub, X Bar and the 1up Colfax. Get your tickets right meow at eventbrite.

Sunday, December 1

Do you know the difference between boo-bams, darabukkas, talking drums and Burma gongs? Could you identify the sound of a trash can lid, a Chinese cymbal or a table spoon? If not, consider taking the whole family to the Colorado Symphony’s annual Drums of the World concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, December 1, at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The orchestra’s musicians will be out in full force demonstrating a wide variety of percussive possibilities. Get more information and tickets, $10 to $27, at coloradosymphony.org.

Even the most curmudgeonly among us has to begrinchingly admit that December 1 is officially the holiday season. Thanksgiving has passed, December has arrived, and it's the time of year to enjoy glittery, glitzy, glamorous parties. Fittingly, Uchi, 2500 Lawrence Street, is kicking off the month with a champagne-and-caviar dinner at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 1. Menu details for the multi-course meal have yet to be announced, but we expect nothing less than stunning plating, effervescent bubbly that will go straight to your head, and Uchi's always-memorable Japanese food elevated by salty, briny roe from Sturia, a French caviar brand based on farmed sturgeon. Tickets, $125 (includes tax and tip), are on sale now on Eventbrite.

Know of an event that belongs on this list? We need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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