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All aboard the Winter Park Express train!EXPAND
All aboard the Winter Park Express train!
Nicole Daniels

The 21 Best Events in Denver, January 1 Through January 7

As you draft the list of ways you're going to improve this year, consider investing in your community through any of the events happening in Denver on any given week. To start 2019 off right, head to History Colorado to see some of the U.S.'s newest citizens being sworn in, take off in one of Denver's many races, or help close out a beloved winter tradition at the last night of Blossoms of Light. Find all that and more in this week's events calendar. And Happy New Year, Denver!

Tuesday, January 1

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If you’re the sort who gets all hopped up when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, a spacey after-party might be just the thing to lull you: Spectra Art Space’s NYE 2019: An AfterHours Space Odyssey fills that bill with an immersive environment shot with lasers, art installations and soundscapes, plus a safe-space heated patio where you can land back on Earth. The 21-plus party kicks off at the stroke of midnight, when New Year’s Eve shifts into New Year’s Day, and runs until 6 a.m. Tuesday, January 1, at Spectra, 1836 South Broadway; get tickets, $20 to $25, and RSVP at eventbrite.com.

Denver Audubon, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in 2019, which means one thing: This year is already for the birds! To celebrate, Denver Audubon is sponsoring a six-county Big Year, a contest to identify as many species as possible over twelve months. Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, participants will compete to identify birds in one or all six of these counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson. Register for the Big Year at denveraudubon.org; the fee is $10 but includes a presentation by Mark Obmascik (author of The Big Year) at a kickoff celebration on January 23.

Start 2019 off on the right foot.
Start 2019 off on the right foot.
Via the Walk2Connect Facebook page

A brisk walk in the hale and hearty company of other hikers is a positive way to greet the new year and get your heart pumping for 2019 adventures. Walk2Connect, a cooperative Denver-based organization that promotes group walking events, will give you a healthy head start with an all-ages New Year’s Day Walk and 2019 Celebration that begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday, January 1, in Parfet Park, 701 Tenth Street in Golden, and meanders along Clear Creek for two or three miles (there will be two walking groups to accommodate hikers at different paces). You’re invited to bring a palm-sized stone to participate in a ceremonial Resolution Stones tradition, and to wear jingle bells for extra cheer. Admission is free; RSVP at walk2connect.com.

Did Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens get away from you in all the holiday madness? Luckily, the attraction is open for one last beautiful evening on New Year’s Day. Walk through the twinkling lights and interactive displays of Denver’s most jaw-droppingly gorgeous holiday display for the first time — or the second or third, if that’s the case — on Tuesday, January 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. (5 p.m. slots are sold out) at the DBG, 1007 York Street; snap up your tickets, $11 to $16, at botanicgardens.org.

Be the sandwich king or queen of Denver.
Be the sandwich king or queen of Denver.
Bree Davies

Colorado born and bread, Snarf’s Sandwiches is launching the 2019 “Top Snarf” Best Sandwich Recipe Competition on Tuesday, January 1. Do you have a dream sandwich? From now through February 15, you can submit your sandwich recipe at topsnarf.com; Jimmy “Snarf” Seidel, who founded the chain in 1996 (it now has twenty locations), will be judging the competition. The winner, who’ll be announced on February 25, will get free sandwiches for a year, as well as bragging rights on the menu. To find out more about Snarf’s, go to eatsnarfs.com.

You resolved to get out and about more in 2019: You live in Colorado — why not take advantage of it? Colorado Ski Country USA is here to help. This is National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and for people ready to explore skiing and riding for the first time, the resort members of CSCUSA have a variety of great deals on lift tickets, rentals and beginner lessons. Close to home, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin are both offering family private-lesson packages so that you all can learn to ski or snowboard with the same instructor, in relative comfort. For details on those deals, go to skiloveland.com or arapahoebasin.com; for more possibilities, visit coloradoski.com.

Wednesday, January 2

If you missed Undesign the Redline — an exploration of U.S. housing policy, race segregation and its impact on Denver — during its month-long run at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, resolve to catch it at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal building, where you can see the display from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Wednesday, January 2. The exhibition combines historical artifacts, storytelling, photographs and activities to illustrate redlining’s roots and lasting repercussions in such Denver neighborhoods as Five Points, Park Hill, Montbello and Globeville. Admission is free; find more information at enterprisecommunity.org/news-and-events/undesign-the-redline.

Thursday, January 3

On the heels of a winter-solstice full moon, it’s time to ring in a new year with the first new moon of 2019. Get in touch with your spiritual side at Ritualcravt, 2842 West 44th Avenue, during a New Moon Ceremony with therapist and shamanic practitioner Genie Hobbs, who will lead a celebration of things to come with chants, drumming and guided meditation in the spirit of indigenous Huichol, Q’ero and Shipibo traditions. Stretch your horizons with Hobbs on Thursday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m.; find more details on the Ritualcravt Facebook page.

Friday, January 4

After a brief hiatus, the Winter Park Express returned in 2017, much to the delight of skiers and snowboarders who were tired of sitting in I-70 traffic. The train, which leaves Union Station for the first time this season at 7 a.m. on Friday, January 4, and runs each Saturday and Sunday through March 31 (plus two round trips on the first Friday of each month), promises to be better than ever, with snacks and beverages available for purchase and a lounge car to fuel you up for tackling the hills at Winter Park. Find information and tickets, starting at $29 one-way, at amtrak.com/winterparkexpress.

The U.S. will get some of its newest young citizens on January 4.EXPAND
The U.S. will get some of its newest young citizens on January 4.
Brandon Marshall

For a country built by immigrants, the United States has basically turned its back on the tired, the poor and the huddled masses. To celebrate immigrants and all they bring to this country, History Colorado is hosting a Children's Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, January 4. Starting at 10 a.m. at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, some of America's youngest new citizens will make their status official, and you can be there to watch. The ceremony is included in the regular price of admission; find more information at historycolorado.org.

Winter may have just started, but fly-fishing enthusiasts are already looking forward to the 2019 season. The eighteenth annual Denver Fly Fishing Show will hook fans with plenty of giveaways and contests, dozens of classes in everything from fly-tying to casting, presentations on destination fishing locations, a women’s fly-fishing showcase and the world premiere of the 2019 International Fly Fishing Film Festival. It’s all at the Denver Mart Pavilion Building, 451 East 58th Avenue, where the show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, January 4; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, January 5; and 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, January 6. Admission is $15 for one day, $25 for two days and $35 for three days, with discounts for children and members of the military; for a complete schedule and tickets, go to flyfishingshow.com/denver-co.

Much is known about historic male figures who contributed to the birth and growth of the American West. Meanwhile, most of the women who get acknowledged from that era were prostitutes or saloon maids. Here to change that is University of Denver associate professor of sculpture Sarah Gjertson, who's flipping the script on history and highlighting the contributions (outside of the bedroom) that women made to the West through Human Imprints: Structures, Artifacts and Women. The exhibit opened at the Tread of Pioneers Museum at 800 Oak Street in Steamboat Springs on December 18, but an opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, January 4, during Steamboat's First Friday art walk; learn more about the event and the museum at treadofpioneers.org.

Denver’s time-honored Germinal Stage troupe will continue to keep theater traditions alive at its newest home in Lowry’s John Hand Theater, where the company will start 2019 with two Pinter one-acts, “The Collection” and “The Room.” Directed by Germinal founder and guiding light Ed Baierlein together with Stephen Kramer, the dramatic duet opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 4, at the theater, 7653 East First Place, and runs Fridays through Sundays through February 2. Get tickets, $17 to $25, in advance by calling 303-455-7108, or email germinalstage@gmail.com; find showtimes and more information at germinalstage.com.

Wands up!
Wands up!
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Start the new year with Harry, Hermione and Ron when the Harry Potter Film Concert Series continues with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But as the series name implies, this isn't just a regular showing of the fifth installment of the beloved series: A live symphony orchestra will score the screenings, which begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 4, and Saturday, January 5, and at 1 p.m. Sunday, January 6. Tickets are still available for all three times; find them and more information at coloradosymphony.org.

Led by poet Brice Maiurro, the newly formed interdisciplinary arts and literature collective South Broadway Ghost Society supports local poets and authors with a morphing journal that lives online, in print and in live performances. You can get a full-impact taste of what the group does at Ghost Society Two, a live mashup of visual art, live music and poetry readings at the indie space Thought//Forms Gallery, 99 Kalamath Street, to top off an evening of First Friday art-walking nearby in the Art District on Santa Fe. Festivities start at 8:30 p.m. Friday, January 4; a $5 donation is requested at the door to compensate performers and the collective. Learn more on the South Broadway Ghost Society Facebook page.

Saturday, January 5

Hockey lovers, head to Evergreen Lake on Saturday, January 5, and Sunday, January 6, for the ninth annual Evergreen Pond Hockey Championship. Starting at 7 a.m. both days, teams of eight will play a minimum of three games each and compete for cash prizes — not to mention year-long bragging rights. Located at 29612 Upper Bear Creek in Evergreen, Evergreen Lake is the world's largest Zamboni-groomed outdoor ice rink and has been named one of the top skating rinks by Sunset magazine and CNN Travel. Even if you don't have a dog in the fight, consider this an excellent opportunity to do some good ol'-fashioned winter tailgating; find more information at evergreenrecreation.com.

You've made New Year's resolutions before and have disappointed yourself by not following through. That's okay — the beauty of a new year is that you can try it all over again! Here to help is The Resolve, your choice of a one-mile, 5K or 10K walk or run on Saturday, January 5, at City Park, East 17th Avenue between York Street and Colorado Boulevard. From 8 to 11 a.m., participants of all abilities can tackle their first few miles of the year in a supportive group — and, yes, you'll get a T-shirt and medal for your efforts. Start 2019 off on the right foot; visit eventbrite.com for tickets, $35 to $65, and more information.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa was just named the top cross-country ski resort in the United States by readers of USA Today, and on Saturday, January 5, you’ve got an ideal chance to see the place for yourself, when Devil’s Thumb offers a free Nordic Ski Demo day. Head for the hills just fifteen minutes west of Winter Park on County Road 83 in Tabernash, where Bob and Suzanne Fanch have turned the ranch and 6,000 surrounding acres into a winter wonderland. Stop by Zach’s Mercantile to try out new classic demos or skate ski boots with Rossignol and Fischer; the demo equipment is free to use from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To really put it to the test, though, you’ll need a trail pass ($25 adult, $10 twelve and under); find out more at 970-726-5632 or devilsthumbranch.com.

Regis University’s Mile-High MFA program for writers pumps out fresh wordsmiths year in and year out, with a tight curriculum taught by some of Denver’s best and brightest authors and poets — but most of the time, it happens quietly, without hoopla. That all changes during the annual Mile-High MFA Winter Residency Readings, a concentrated week of lively teacher, student and alumni showcases. A sweet who’s-who bunch made up of Carolina Ebeid, Khadijah Queen, Jenny Shank and Kristen Iversen will get things rolling on Saturday, January 5, at 6 p.m. in the Mountain View Room in Claver Hall at Regis, 3333 Regis Boulevard; sessions run daily through January 12, when an MFA Degree Ceremony caps the celebration. Learn more at regis.edu/mfa.

Sunday, January 6

Mark Twain was more than the brilliant author of the great Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a social critic, a world traveler and a public speaker whose voice shaped attitudes in the United States around class, slavery, geopolitics and the Civil War. Actor Val Kilmer celebrated the storied author in a one-man play, and will bring the film version of it, Cinema Twain, to the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 6. Kilmer will stick around at the end of the film for a Q&A with the audience. For more information about this all-ages event and to buy tickets, $35 to $80, visit theorientaltheater.com.

Monday, January 7

Uprooting racism in a country built on genocide and slavery where xenophobes have taken charge of the government is a tall order. But that’s exactly what Highline Academy Northeast is aiming to do with Parents Talking About Racism, a free workshop that gives parents the skills they need to speak with their kids about racism and helps them reverse their own unconscious racial biases. The program runs from 1 to 8 p.m. on Monday, January 7, at the Denver Foundation, 55 Madison Street, with limited first-come, first-served seating; register and reserve seats in advance on the Parents Talking About Racism Facebook page.

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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