Fall is in the air, the moon is full overhead, and it's a fine time to enjoy some free fun. You can party, get arty, even become a smarty at events around town without ever having to open your wallet. Keep reading for the five best free activities this weekend, an extra event that's free just for kids, and a couple that will get next week off to a good start, too.
Union Station Oktoberfest
Friday, September 13, 6 to 9 p.m.
1701 Wynkoop Street
Like the start of the school year, Oktoberfest keeps creeping up earlier and earlier in September (which is ironic, given the month the event name-checks). Beery bashes started last week in the mountains, and now Denver Union Station and the Terminal Bar are bringing the party down to the flatlanders with their fourth annual Oktoberfest. The free bash in the Great Hall runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes Oktoberfest-themed craft beers, as well as live music by the Polkanauts, billed as a heavy rock band with a polka spin. And talk about heavy: Fifteen guests will get to test their strength during a stein-holding competition; among the prizes are a free night's stay at the Crawford Hotel. Find out more at unionstationindenver.com.
Black Cube HQ Bash
Friday, September 13, 6 to 10 p.m.
2925 South Umatilla Street, Englewood
Black Cube, which got its start as a nomadic museum, is finally putting down roots at a new headquarters building that will be unveiled on Friday, September 13. The celebration includes special performances, live music, food trucks, themed cocktails and the opening of the exhibit The Fulfillment Center, curated by Black Cube executive director and chief curator Cortney Lane Stell. Eighteen artists were commissioned to create pieces that respond to hidden aspects of e-commerce logistics for the show; many of those artists will return to Black Cube HQ from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, for panel discussions. Find out more at blackcube.art.
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R-A-L-L-Y for the Canal-ly
Saturday, September 14, 9:30 a.m. to noon
Expo Park, East Virginia Avenue and South Ironton Street, Aurora
Come rally to celebrate the completion of the plan for the High Line Canal, the 71-mile trail that's an important part of this state's history as well as a current recreational amenity. You can meet members of the Denver Broncos and Hinkley High School cheer teams, join in a canal walking tour and kid-friendly activities, and even volunteer on a canal cleanup. If you join the High Line Conservancy, you'll receive a free copy of the new High Line Canal Map and Guide; even if you don't, you'll get free coffee and bagels, and maybe even a Santiago's burrito (while they last). Find out more at highlinecanal.org/rally.
Action Center 50th Anniversary Block Party
Saturday, September 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
8745 West 14th Avenue, Lakewood
To mark its fiftieth anniversary, the Action Center — an independent, not-for-profit organization that helps those in need in Jefferson County, will throw a block party complete with kids' activities, live music and food trucks. At the event, the group will also unveil a new logo to match its slogan: Takes Action. Find out more about the organization at theactioncenter.org.
Sunnyside Music Festival
Saturday, September 14, noon to 7:30 p.m.
Chaffee Park, 44th Avenue and Tejon Street
The Sunnyside Music Festival is now "cage-free," since new liquor laws allow organizers to serve drinks not just in the beer garden, but out in the park (you'll have to pay for them, though). Otherwise, the fest will bring back the same winning lineup of kids' activities, artisan vendors and live music, including (in order) Grown A$$ Man Band, Bonnie & the Clydes, YaSi, Don Chicharrón and the Burroughs. A pre-fest Denver Cruiser Ride will kick things off at 10 a.m., followed by Better Buzz Yoga at 11 a.m.; Monkey Barrel with keep the party going after dusk with the Led Zeppelin tribute band Ten Years Gone.
Children's Day International Film Festival
Saturday, September 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street
Free for 18 and under
Historic Elitch Theatre is presenting its second annual Children's Day International Film Festival with face painting, fairytale fun from the Curtain Playhouse, and a meet-and-greet with the founder of the International Youth Silent Film Festival, Jon JP Palanuk. (You can learn how to make your own movie at a free workshop at 12:30 Sunday, September 15, at the Bug.) Find out more here.
And mark your calendars for next week:
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Make/Shift Monday Presents: An Evening With Leaping Man
Monday, September 16, 7 p.m.
RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street
Free (registration encouraged)
During RedLine's final Make/Shift Monday of 2019, Colorado’s Leaping Man — an independent publisher and creative collective — will present an evening of texts, videos, photographs and sound performances from Charles Parson, Cody Yantis, Mary Jungerman, Tiffany Clendenin, Anna Ramey Borden and an anonymous poet. Sometimes Leaping Man events lead to the creation of artifacts (art objects or published material), and sometimes these interactions produce unique experiences that are portable only in the memories of the audience.
Tuesday, September 17, 8 a.m. to noon
Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street
This lab is designed to help fundraisers polish their game, with networking, workshops on how to build better appeals, and a talk on "Philanthropy's Next Generation Now" by Emily Davis, author of Fundraising and the Next Generation. And, yes, there will be discussions of Qgiv, which is hosting the event. Find out more here.
Do you know of a great free event that should be included in an upcoming Five for Free? Send information to email@example.com.
For more ideas on what to do this weekend, see our 21 Best Events in Denver.