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Fourteen Things (Ten Free!) to Do In and Around Denver Today

Block party on Larimer Square today!
Block party on Larimer Square today!
Larimer Square
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As the weather heats up, so does the lineup of in-person offerings — many of which have already sold out. But there's still plenty to do in and around Denver (and yes, online) as COVID guidelines loosen up.

Keep reading for some of the best events today (and check with the organizers for the current rules, which are seemingly changing by the second).

South Pearl Street Farmers Market
South Pearl Street between East Iowa and East Arkansas avenues
Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For years, this bustling market has taken over Pearl Street on Sunday mornings, when it serves as much as a gathering place as a shopping area. There are dozens of vendors, seats for eating prepared foods, and samples to try. Find out more here.

Spring Bazaar: Sloan's Lake
Sunday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1611 Raleigh Street

The Denver Bazaar is back in full force this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, the first Sloan's Lake Bazaar of the season will highlight seventy makers as well as ten fashion vendors, along with food trucks and live entertainment. Admission is free to any and all ($25 gets you a sip-and-shop ticket), and dogs are welcome. Find out more here.

Boulder Creek Fest Summer Sundays Marketplace
Sundays, May 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Boulder Bandshell, Central Park, 1212 Canyon Boulevard, Boulder

The Boulder Creek Festival returns this year, but not at its regularly scheduled time over Memorial Day weekend. Instead, the fest is postponed until mid-July, but in the meantime, organizers are hosting the Boulder Creek Festival Summer Sundays Marketplace, a free, weekly placeholder at the Boulder Bandshell with just enough vendors, food and live music to whet appetites for the big event. Find details here.

Free Market Presents: Sustainable Fashion Weekend
Sunday, May 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dairy Block, 1801 Blake Street

Sustainability just might be the future of fashion, and you’ll learn all about it while sampling ecology-conscious garb and accessories during Free Market’s Sustainable Fashion Weekend at the Dairy Block. Free Market will host a free indoor market showcase of Colorado businesses Tenth & Spruce, Dante Perozzi Jewelry, Meçlâ, Mimi Shim and YOU4ic Fitwear on Saturday and Sunday. Find info and RSVP in advance at Eventbrite.

Tiki on Main Street
Sunday, May 16, noon to 10:30 and weekends through the summer
Main Street, Louisville

The beach party of the summer has started on Main Street in Louisville, where a pop-up bar will appear every Thursday through Sunday for the next few months. Rum punches and reggae, DJs and daiquiris will be on offer, and an outdoor grill will serve up fresh kebobs. Reservations are recommended; get the full schedule and make them here.

Larimer Square Block Party
Sunday, May 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
Larimer Square, 1400 block of Larimer Street

This free block party with live music and complimentary caricature art was postponed last week because of rain, but it's back on for Sunday, with live performances by A Girl Named Sethe at 12:30 p.m. and Dotsero at 1:30 p.m. Grab a seat (and a meal) on a restaurant patio or bring a lawn chair. Find out more here.

Adrian Miller, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue
Sunday, May 16, 2 p.m., online

Want to know more about African-American cooking? Look no further than Adrian Miller, Denver’s Best Food Ambassador, who's followed up his books on soul food and black chefs in the White House with Black Smoke, a paean to the story of barbecue in this country in all its variety, packed with 22 recipes to try yourself. The Tattered Cover will stream a live book talk with Miller via Zoom; if you miss the live event (sign up here; it's free, but a book will cost you $34), wait two days to tune in to the Tattered Cover’s YouTube channel archive.

Ballet Arial's Carmen Suite
Sunday, May 16, 3 p.m.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, 119 Park Avenue West

After more than a year of postponements, Ballet Arial will finally get to perform its version of Carmen Suite, an original work that's a reimagining of the classic opera, by resident choreographer Gregory Gonzales. Also on the bill is the historical Pas de Quatre. Get tickets here.

Ongoing:

Fourteen Things (Ten Free!) to Do In and Around Denver Today (4)
Aurora History Museum

The Rise of the Aurora Suburb During the Cold War
Through April 2022
Aurora History Museum, 15051 East Alameda Parkway

The presence of military centers kept Aurora bustling after World War II, when the town transitioned from a small agricultural community to a bustling suburb. Between 1940 and 1960, Aurora’s population grew more than tenfold; that expansion and Aurora's new economic prosperity are documented in a new exhibit. “In this exhibition, we provide local stories of Aurora residents’ experiences during the Cold War to enrich our understanding of this great period of the city’s growth, while expanding on what was happening here when the nation was preparing for the threat of a potential global nuclear holocaust," explains T. Scott Williams, director of the Aurora History Museum & Historic Sites. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; admission is always free. Find out more at auroramuseum.org.

Bad Bedtime Stories
Now through May, online

One Night Stand Theater, a Denver-area theater company that presents one-night-only evenings of staged readings, just released its sixth online “mini-show”: an audio production titled Bad Bedtime Stories. “While we wait for the opportunity to perform on stage again, we’re doing these online productions with our One Night Stand Theater writers and actors,” says artistic director James O’Leary. “Our new show features parodies and reinterpretations of classic fairy tales, as well as musings on children’s stories in general.” It's free to tune in, though donations are encouraged. Find out more at onenightstandtheater.org.

CoronaVox: Stories From the Front
Now through May, online

In the style of Phamaly’s past “Vox Phamalia” programs, CoronaVox: Stories From the Front is a compilation of theatrical pieces created and performed by over fifty Phamaly writers and actors. They're based on fellow community members and their unique experiences during COVID-19, particularly essential workers who have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic: a health-care worker, a teacher, a food preparer, a caregiver and more. In classic Phamaly fashion, the stories come to life with vitality, respect, humor and heart, demonstrating that even during the darkest of times, we can find light in human connection and storytelling. Tickets start at $20; get them here.

Small Mouth Sounds
Now through May
Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada

The Arvada Center is reopening for live performances with this production of Small Mouth Sounds, postponed from 2020. The poignant off-Broadway hit follows six participants at a silent yoga retreat and their attempts to connect and solve the problems of their lives. Tickets are $45 to $50; get them here.

Cirque-tacular’s Spring-a-Ding-DING!
Through June 6, online

Families got accustomed to gathering around the home screen over the past year — and there was more than ever to see, including live performances. And there should be nothing more lively than the New York-based performance group Cirque-tacular's Spring-a-Ding-DING!, which tells the story of a girl in search of a butterfly whose arrival jump-starts spring weather, taking her on a wild hunt through a wood filled with acrobatic and clowning creatures. Imagine! Learn more and reserve tickets, $10 to $15, here to receive links for on-demand video or live stream platforms.

Shiki Dreams
Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 7:30 p.m., through November 1
Prismajic, 2219 East 21st Avenue

Shiki Dreams, Prismajic’s sequel to its even longer-running Natura Obscura at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, just snagged fourth place in the public vote for USA Today's 10 Best Immersive Art Experiences. The walk-through visual adventure reopened after a COVID break, so now you can see what makes Shiki Dreams so compelling. Timed-entry tickets are $14 to $19.99; reserve yours and learn more about Shiki Dreams here.

Know of a great event around town? Send information to editorial@westword.com.

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