Summer is less than a week away, and the events calendar is really heating up. Juneteenth will return in a big way to Five Points, and Pride festivities are coming close behind. Along the way, you can look at art, listen to music, and contemplate the consequences of COVID.
Keep reading for ten of the best free events in and around Denver (with a few online) this week:
Cycle Gear Grand Opening
Through Sunday, June 20, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
16535 Washington Street, Thornton
The new Cycle Gear store in Thornton will boast the largest selection of motorcycle apparel and accessories in the region. To mark its opening, Cycle Gear will host festivities including the XDL Wheelie Experience and STACYC bike demos for kids, as well as hourly giveways. There will also be presentations on REVER, a community riding app that hosts local meet-ups around Colorado, as well as the Motorcycle Relief Project, which helps veterans and first responders with PTSD by taking them on curated professional rides. Learn more here
Juneteenth Music Festival
Sunday, June 20, 2 to 8 p.m.
Welton Street Corridor
Juneteenth, the annual holiday marking the delayed announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas two years after it was signed, is back in a hybrid live and virtual form this year. Welton Street will be filled with live music, entertainment, vendors and food (yes, that's the sweet aroma of barbecue in the air). Find all the info about where to go and how to tune in here.
The Glamp AF Market
Sunday, June 20, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dairy Block, 1800 Wazee Street
You’re outdoorsy, but prefer to do mountains in style? You’re a glamper, and there’s a market just for you. The Glamp AF Market, opening up Friday for four weekends (through July 11) in the Dairy Block alley, is the place to find chic yet sturdy outdoor gear, yak-wool socks and the best coffee to brew over an open fire. Once you’ve stocked up, you can go on inside to eat and drink up for some urban glamping. The market is free; RSVP at Eventbrite.
33rd Annual Poetry Rodeo: A Rebirth of Wonder
Sunday, June 20, 1 to 11 p.m.
Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street
There was an abbreviated live Poetry Rodeo (aka Podeo) in 2020, but in 2021, things are a little closer to what they used to be. There’s a lot to celebrate, beginning with the theme of rebirth and ten straight hours filled with eight-minute storytelling and poetry spots. Come by for coffee and an hour or two of listening, stay all day and have dinner, or sign up for a chance at the mic (message SETH online
to request a first and second choice of hour to read, and he’ll get back to you). Admission is free, and so is the Podeo’s vibe; learn more here.
Pride Liberation Day
Sunday, June 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cheesman Park Pavilion, 1900 East 11th Avenue
West Steps, Colorado State Capitol, 200 East Colfax Avenue
Pride Liberation Day is a bit like PrideFest, but with a big focus on inclusivity, kindness and honoring intersectionality. In the morning, go o Cheesman Park for field-day games, music, performances and speakers; at 2 p.m., a parade moves the action to the west steps of the Capitol for a rally and additional speakers calling for social justice and activism, followed by a candlelight vigil for queer and BIPOC lives lost to violence. Find a complete schedule and more info here.
Silverthorne Art Stroll
Sunday, June 20, noon to 3 p.m.
Blue River Trail, Silverthorne
Enjoy cool mountain air and the debut of the Silverthorne Art Strolls series as you stroll along the Blue River trail, where you'll find seventeen pop-up artists and nine musical groups, including Janet Harriman and Shane Werts, harp and oboe duet; Lisa White, native flutes; Mark Schlaefer, blues; Nate Spencer, singer-songwriter; Randall McKinnon, cowboy/ folk; Max Wolpert, violin; Ghanay Gloude and Shane Henderson, rhythm and blues duo; Rocky Mountain Brass. It's all free; find out more here
City Park Jazz: Brass Band Extravaganza
Sunday, June 20, 5 p.m.
City Park Bandshell, City Park
There’s nothing like a honking big brass band, unless it’s an evening with three of them at the edge of Ferril Lake in City Park, with a bunch of brassy horns playing music that transcends the old oom-pah-pah. The Otone Brass Band, Tivoli Club Brass Band and Guerrilla Fanfare all bring a funky taste of that NOLA second-line style to Denver at dusk. Find info and a full City Park Jazz summer schedule here.
Americas COVID-19 Memorial virtual exhibition
Through July 18, online
After collecting works from around the world, the Biennial of the Americas launched the Americas COVID-19 Memorial virtual exhibition on June 15, hosted on the Biennial website, with more than 200 artworks from commissioned artists and the public. On September 3, the Museo de las Americas will open an in-person exhibition highlighting the work of 21 commissioned artists as well as award-winning artworks (chosen from a public vote) from 186 individuals selected from the thousands who submitted work. Find out more here
Know of a great free event around town? We'll be updating this list through the week; send information to [email protected]