Arts and Culture

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events in Denver This Week

Celebrate Independence Day with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra at a special 4th of July Concert in Thompson Park.
Celebrate Independence Day with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra at a special 4th of July Concert in Thompson Park. Jeremy Papasso
While barbecues, fireworks and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival dominate the entertainment calendar for the next few days, local musicians and comedians haven't taken the holiday off....and fun will continue to explode on First Friday. Keep reading for the five best free events in Denver this week, and Happy Independence Day.

click to enlarge STARS & STRIPES EXPRESS FEST
Stars & Stripes Express Fest
Stars & Stripes Express Fest
Tuesday, July 3, 1 to 10 p.m.
Union Station
Don your most patriotic apparel and boogie to the sounds of yesteryear at the fourth annual Stars & Stripes Express Fest, which returns to Denver's Union Station for a rollicking Independence Day Eve. Gather with a crowd of red, white and blue-clad revelers on the Terminal Bar's extended patio and party through the decades with hits from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and beyond. Representatives from Boulder's own Avery Brewing Company will be on hand with prize giveaways and special beer tappings so guests will never be too far from a cold one. The performance lineup includes the Denver Dolls, Boomers, New Sensation and Phat Daddy. Visit Union Station's Facebook events page for more details.

click to enlarge FOOTHILLS PARK & RECREATION DISTRICT
Foothills Park & Recreation District
Red, White & You
Tuesday, July 3, 5 to 10 p.m.
Clement Park
Another Fourth of July Eve-stravaganza, Red White & You is a good way get a head start on the festivities. With a kid-friendly play area, food vendors, community booths and wine or beer gardens for the adults, revelers of every generation can get in on the fun. This year, the Foothills Park & Recreation District is sponsoring a new Performing Arts Pavilion that showcases performers from the organization's various programs and welcomes local favorites the Nacho Men to headline the main event. Of course, no Independence Day Celebration is complete without fireworks, and guests will be able to view this year's display from nearly anywhere in Littleton's Clement Park. Visit the Foothills Park & Recreation District's events calendar to learn more.

click to enlarge Battle Royale co-host Andrew Bueno. - RATIO COMEDY
Battle Royale co-host Andrew Bueno.
Ratio Comedy
Ratio Comedy Battle Royale: Tournament of Champions
Tuesday, July 3, 8 to 10 p.m.
Ratio Beerworks

Ratio Comedy's Battle Royale shows challenge comedians to generate fresh material from random prompts, a brain-teasing and crowd-pleasing competition that rewards Denver comedy's quickest wits. Over the past year, co-hosts and curators Andrew Bueno and Ian Douglas Terry have crowned a dozen winners, and now the time has come to seek a champion among champions. Join local comics Tairee Dillard, Olivia Schyling, Ben Duncan, Jose Macall and more for a riff-driven giggle gauntlet. Find more details on Ratio Comedy's Facebook events page.

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham