Here's the windup: The city is heading into its All-Star summer, but even before the big game on July 13 (find all the official MLB details here
as well as our list of All-Star action here
), there's plenty to do in and around Denver — and much of it is free!
And the pitch: Keep reading for six great free events today...
Colorado Black Arts Festival
Sunday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
West City Park, 17th Avenue and York Street
After going virtual in 2020, the Colorado Black Arts Festival, which began 35 years ago, is back in its old spot in City Park, with all the community-friendly elements that make it a winner for everyone. These include a world tour of live music, from African beats, jazz, and rhythm and blues to Sunday’s gospel finale. Art lovers and shoppers can browse an outdoor gallery and marketplace, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities, as well as film and health tents for the older crowd. Admission is free; find more info here
Denver Woman’s Press Club Book Sale
Sunday, July 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Denver Woman’s Press Club, 1325 Logan Street
When the Denver Woman’s Press Club throws a book sale, it's not offering just any old books: At this event, you’ll find one-of-a-kind and Colorado-centric treasures, including a vintage dictionary; several volumes from onetime DWPC member Lenora Mattingly Weber’s Beany Malone
series, written for young adults and set in south Denver in the ’50s; and former Colorado Poet Laureate Margaret Clyde Robertson’s 1930 poetry collection They Rise Accusingly
. The sale is run on a pay-what-you-can basis, so get ready to bargain; find details here
Black Love Mural Festival: The Cookout
Jackie Robinson, captured by Detour in Civic Center.
Sunday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Civic Center Park, 101 14th Avenue
Civic Center Park and the McNichols Building will be filled with the love of both baseball and activism through mural art, when the ongoing Black Love Mural Festival throws The Cookout, a party in the park with DJ battles, food vendors, live music and games, along with art created by a battalion of muralists who've been working since the fest opened in June. And inside at McNichols, you’ll find new art shows celebrating the history of Negro League baseball, mural collaborations and baseball art in honor of the MLB All-Star Game. Learn more here
Second Sunday Guided Tours
Sunday, July 11, 1 p.m.
Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery, 800 East 73rd Avenue, #11
If you’ve never experienced Lumonics — the amazing light sculptures of free-thinking couple Dorothy and Mel Tanner, who began making them in the swinging ’60s — here’s your chance to see the work, as well as Lumonics itself, a fortress of spiritually uplifting art-making. After Dorothy passed away a year ago at the age of 97, co-archivist Barry Raphael and studio director Marc Billard were left to carry on the Lumonics torch; now that people can congregate again, they're hosting summer tours every second Sunday through September. Learn more and sign up for the free tours here
Lift Our Voices Summer Sing-along
Sunday, July 11, 2 to 5 p.m.
Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street
Every now and then, sing-along maven Jimi Bernath, who carries the lyrics to thousands of pop songs in his head, invites people to gather at the Mercury Cafe to go back in time for a sing-along event that even Mitch Miller could appreciate. (Who’s Mitch Miller? Ask your friend, Google.) Or at the very least, the Chad Mitchell Trio (ditto). The summer version isn’t themed, so expect a spread of easy, popular tunes from decades ago. Lyric sheets are usually provided, the atmosphere is chill and friendly, and you don’t have to open your mouth if you don’t want to. Admission is free, but food and drink are available; find info here
Jazz Along Welton
Sunday, July 11 and Monday, July 12, 4 to 8 p.m.
2400-2700 Welton Street
This family-friendly free event will host two jazz bands each day. The lineup at Center of Five Points (27th and Welton Streets, 4:30 to 8 p.m.): Sweet B, July 11; LAPOMPE, July 12. And at Cousins Plaza (24th and Welton Streets, 4 to 7:30 p.m.): Tomatoes’ Hot Five, July 11; and Jeremy Mohney, July 12. There will be vendors to browse; find out more here
Know of a great free event around town? Send information to [email protected]