Though Denver is awash in hot-ticket entertainment all weekend long, Westword hasn't forgotten about all the Johnny-Come-Lately readers with empty pockets and nothing to do. It's entirely possible to have a great time while avoiding steep admission fees in the Mile High City, if one only knows where to look. Luckily, the following list contains ten events that Denver residents can experience for less than ten American dollars, including six freebies. From tiki-tinged dance parties and dog friendly happy hours to concerts and comedy shows, the only way to have a bad time in Denver this weekend is by staying home.
The Classic Swing Dance Tiki Party
Thursday, August 24, 6 p.m. to Midnight
From the fleetest of foot to wobbly novices, everyone can dance their cares away at Mercury Cafe's Classic Swing Dance Tiki Party. Sip tasty island-inspired cocktails, try out your best hula dance or see how low you can go in a limbo contest at the event immediately following on-site dance lessons (sold separately). A re-creation of one of Mercury's most popular events, the Classic Swing Dance Tiki Party is always a good time. Admission is $8 at the door; beginner and advanced Lindy Hop lessons cost $10 for one class or $15 for both. Visit the Facebook events page for more details.
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Variance Opening Reception
Friday, August 25, 6 to 9 p.m.
Abend Gallery waxes on change and its rebirth in a shared LoDo space with two other galleries by unveiling Variance, a fresh group show mixing vibrant works by old and new gallery artists. A tribute to new avenues and unexpected subject matter, this show will also reassure fans that one of Denver’s strongest representational-art galleries continues to excel.
Untapped: RiNo Tap Takeover
Friday, August 25, 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Skyline Beer Garden
Enjoy a wide range of favorite local brews while taking in an unbeatable view of the city at Untapped, DRiNk RiNo's takeover of downtown's Skyline Beer Garden. A coalition of brewers comprising Beryl's Beer Company, Ratio Beerworks, Denver Taproom, Epic Brewing Company, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Mockery Brewing, Stem Ciders and Great Divide Brewing Co. will be on hand to pour drafts and offer tastings. The Gardens will also be livening up the proceedings with sporadic prize giveaways and musical accompaniment from the Mary Louise Lee Band. Brewhounds eager for information can find out more on the Facebook events page.
Friday, August 25, 7:30 p.m.
Illegal Pete's South Broadway
Since releasing its debut album Pintas en Pasteles ten years ago, Izcalli has amassed a loyal local following by sticking close to its roots. The band, named for the area outside of Mexico City where the sibling trio grew up, sings in both English and Spanish, rocking hard enough to shatter any language barrier. Check out what the band has been up to lately at a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 25, at the South Broadway location of Illegal Pete's. Enjoy huge burritos along with some of the tastiest margaritas in town while getting a rocking start to your weekend. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Meet in the Street
Saturday, August 26, 9 a.m.
16th Street Mall
Every week it seems like someone's trying to tame or transform the 16th Street Mall. But this time it's serious: From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 26, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District will host the final My 16th Street: 2017 Meet in the Street Community Prototyping Series of the year. The concept behind the project is that the public can actively create what the 16th Street Mall is evolving into — even on a day-to-day basis. The event, which will include community-designed installations, outdoor cafes, concerts, exercise classes, impromptu performances and more, has been a hit with residents. Enjoying this exercise in participatory planning is free, but this is your last chance; find out more at downtowndenver.com.
Chef Demo at Union Station Farmers Market
Saturday, August 26, 10 to 11 a.m.
Union Station Farmers Market
Calling all foodies: The popular Chef Demo events at Union Station Farmers Market have reached the final week, with only one more chef demonstration to go before the series concludes. This week, Chef Brett Smitt of the Post will demonstrate how to prepare one of his personal favorite recipes for an early-rising crowd from 10 to 11 a.m. at Union Station Farmers Market on Saturday, August 26. Learn the ropes from a maestro of the kitchen before descending onto the market to find all the necessary ingredients to recreate Smitt's dish at home. Admission is free. Visit unionstationindenver.com to learn more.
Summer Yappy Hour
Sunday, August 27, 2 to 4 p.m.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
There’s nothing more Colorado than drinking on a patio in the company of a canine companion, a proud tradition celebrated at the Dumb Friends League’s Yappy Hour series, which continues on Sunday, August 27, at the Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery. Guests can sample fine wines and enter a sweepstakes giveaway with prizes sure to delight pets and owners alike. Keepsake pint glasses are available for $10 each, with proceeds going toward care for homeless pets; $1 from every beer sold will also be donated. And of course, leashed and well-mannered dogs are welcome. Visit Denver Dumb Friends League to learn more.
Open Farm and Snuggle Fundraiser
Sunday, August 27, 1 to 3 p.m.
Broken Shovels Farm
On most farms, animals generally serve a utilitarian purpose that overshadows sentimental concerns, no matter how adorable the creatures may be. At Broken Shovels Farm, however, families are welcome to visit and interact with the animals in a lovely pastoral setting, located just outside Henderson. A sanctuary for abused, neglected or unwanted farm animals, Broken Shovels has a uniquely heartwarming policy that mothers are never to be separated from their young. All these cuddly cows, goats, pigs and donkeys require tremendous upkeep, which is why Broken Shovels is hosting an Open Farm and Snuggle Fundraiser, welcoming donors to experience how happy animals live. A minimum donation of $5 is suggested for each visitor. Visit the Facebook events page for more details, including very specific instructions on how to feed the pigs.
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Everything Is Pretend With Jono Zalay
Sunday, August 27, 9 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
William Montgomery, C.J. Willard and John Papaioannou are three of Denver Comedy's favorite weirdos, so it's fitting that they would join forces to host a joint exercise in gleeful absurdity called Everything Is Pretend. What appears at first to be a typical comedy showcase is subject to the madman whims of its hosts (particularly Montgomery) as sketches and surprises occasionally hijack the show. The evening includes "William's Nightmare Party" wherein comedians must perform their acts while an on-mic Montgomery does everything he can to derail them, thriving on the ensuing chaos. Sunday's show welcomes local comics Matt Cobos, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed and Adrian Mesa to open for headliner Jono Zalay (who's appeared on dozens of local shows during his stay in Denver). Come play pretend with a trio of deviants! Tickets, $5, are available via Nightout.
Comedy Game Night
Tuesday, August 29, 8 p.m.
Board Game Republic
Having recently celebrated its first anniversary, the good times are just beginning at Denver's Board Game Republic. Tucked into an overlooked corner where Baker and the Santa Fe Arts District overlap, the Board Game Republic shelves are stocked with tabletop favorites as well as obscure games from all over the world, and the pub's events calendar is always bustling with activity. On Tuesday, August 29, Board Game Republic is bringing back its Comedy Game Night, and this time the event will spotlight local standup Geoff Tice along with the well-traveled Reid Clark to get on the mic and crack wise. With a full bar and dinner options — the spot is particularly proud of its milkshakes— the Board Game Republic has everything you need for a night of gaming and guffaws. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar.