The weekend may be just around the corner, but in a city where life gets more expensive every day, many residents may feel like they have to forgo their leisurely pursuits. While it's true that some of the upcoming weekend's marquee events are unattainable for struggling Denverites, Westword has your back. Even the brokest local can attend any of the following ten events for ten dollars and under; eight of them are free. Enjoy a scenic drive out to the mountains for a classic drive-in experience, or head eastward to explore tiny houses. In the city proper, you can sip champagne in poolside luxury, guffaw at free comedy shows, or choose from a staggering variety of local art fairs. Plan a thrifty weekend with the following ten events, listed below in chronological order.
Four Seasons Summer Champagne Series
Thursday, July 27, 6-9 p.m.
Four Seasons Hotel Denver
While sipping champagne from the tony comfort of a rooftop pool is typically the purview of wealthy hotel guests, even the hoi polloi can sharpen up for the Summer Champagne Series at the towering Four Season Hotel. Mingle poolside on the third-floor deck while a DJ entertains the well-heeled crowd. Guests can wet their whistles with a selection of fine cocktails or, of course, champagne. At 8 p.m., the party moves downstairs to the hotel's EDGE Restaurant and Bar. Though admission to the 21-and-up event is free, the beverages are assuredly not, and valet parking – the only option besides street parking or RTD – runs $20. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more.
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Cartoons & Comedy Splits Open and Melts
Thursday, July 27, 10 p.m.
The Deer Pile
Cartoons & Comedy returns to the Deer Pile tonight for a brain-melting fun summertime showcase. Spotlighting local mirth merchants Eric Henderson (3 Course Comedy), Caitie Hannan (Designated Drunkard) and Aaron Urist (Comedy Works, Power Move), Cartoons & Comedy boasts all the laughs of a traditional standup showcase, plus a carefully edited selection of animated favorites punctuated by a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style gauntlet of riffs. Hosted and produced by Chris Baker, Cartoons & Comedy has previously included surprise guests like Ron Funches, Eddie Pepitone, Hannibal Buress and Rory Scovel. In case all of that isn't enticement enough, the event will also have a buffet of sugary cereals available. Visit the Sexpot Comedy calendar to learn more.
Daring Debuts: A Reading with Paul Cohen and Courtney Morgan
Friday, July 28, 7 p.m.
While the BookBar is a pearl of the Tennyson Arts district and a fine place to buy a book, the shop's commitment to building community and fostering the careers of local writers sets it apart. That tradition continues tomorrow night at Daring Debuts, a reading and signing event showcasing fledgling novelists Paul Cohen — reading from his new book The Glamshack — and Courtney Morgan, reading selections from The Seven Autopsies of Nora Hanneman. Support local authors, expand your personal library and mingle with the literati while enjoying beer, wine and noshes from the BookBar menu. Visit the store's events calendar to learn more.
Golden Triangle Final Friday Art Walk
Friday, July 28, 5-9 p.m.
Walker Fine Art
Denver's Golden Triangle neighborhood, a cultural and transit hub that a huge percentage of its population circulates through on a daily basis, often dies down significantly after the workday crowd heads homeward. It'll be thriving well into the night tomorrow, however, as the Final Friday Art Walk offers an enticing sample of local creatives' contributions to the lively district. Museums, art galleries, watering holes and even salons will be showcasing the beauty and ingenuity they have been fostering within their respective spaces. Gather with the cultured crowd at Walker Fine Art at 5 p.m. before embarking on an artsy odyssey through a neighborhood everyone knows but rarely appreciates. Visit goldentriangleofdenver.com to learn more.
Bogart Night at Blue Starlite
Friday, July 28, 9 p.m.
Little Beach Park Theater
With his short stature and vaguely bunny-like visage, Humphrey Bogart is an unlikely candidate for movie stardom, let alone a romantic icon for Hollywood's golden age. However, it only takes a cursory glance at his magnetic performances in canonic films like Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to see why his movies have been cherished for so many years. Recapture the magic of these Bogart classics or experience them for the first time at a double feature on Friday, July 28, at Minturn's Blue Starlite Drive-In Theater. Befitting the quirky character of the historic mining town, the Blue Starlite currently holds the record for “highest drive-in in the world,” altitude-wise. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. for the 9 p.m. screening. Visit Blue Starlite online to learn more and see its programming calendar. Prices for drivers and walk-ins start at $8 on Blue Starlite's box-office page.
Continue reading for more events under $10.
Colorado Tiny House Festival
July 28-30, 12-6 p.m.
Wild Animal Sanctuary
As daily life grows increasingly connected and complicated, the idea of streamlining and simplifying becomes more and more appealing. Ponder the tiny life with a tour through yurts, shipping-container homes and an adorable array of unique structures at the First Annual Colorado Tiny House Festival. Stretched over two days, this delightful event welcomes guests to Keenesburg's Wild Animal Sanctuary — always worth a visit — to learn about the pragmatism and sustainability of compact living structures. With guest speakers, specialized vendors, food, drink and other entertainment, the Tiny House Festival is a great opportunity to get small and have a ball. Single-day adult passes start at $10 from Eventbrite.
Highlands Square Summer Sidewalk Sale
July 28-30, 10 a.m.
Prices in the upscale Highlands neighborhood typically keep destitute Denverites away, but bargain hunters are in luck this weekend, when the Highlands Square Summer Sidewalk Sale takes over. Enjoy up to a 70 percent discount on fashion, beauty products, jewelry and housewares from neighborhood boutiques all weekend long. If you're feeling peckish, the district abounds with critically acclaimed restaurants that shoppers can visit for sips and nibbles. It all gets started at 10 a.m on Friday, July 28, and continues through Sunday. Visit the Facebook event page to find out more.
Bordello Waiting Room Comedy Showcase
Saturday, July 29, 8 p.m.
WestFax Brewing Company
Brewery-based comedy shows come and go faster than the seasons, so it's easy for a good one to fly under the radar until it's managed to build a consistent following. Local comedians John Combs, Ken Cornell, J.J. Jones and John Davis — who conjure up a queasy image with troupe name Bordello Waiting Room — have been producing barn-burning comedy showcases over the past few months, presenting Denver comedy's best and brightest to a loyal crowd for the unbeatable admission price of free. WestFax Brewing Company, which shares a massive parking lot with Lakewood landmark Casa Bonita, has a particularly open and inviting taproom in the warmer months and is also often handily food-truck-adjacent. Saturday's lineup includes Katie Bowman, Mike Hammock and Zac Maas. Find out more on the Facebook events page.
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Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair
July 29-30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission may be free, but the Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair has enough shopping treasures in store that attendance might be precarious for your pocketbook. With over 150 vendors bringing forth their best handmade wares, the fair is an ideal way to stock up on utterly unique photography, accessories, fashions, kid-friendly products and more. Guests can also make their foray into the crafting game with DIY workshops while enjoying beverages from a full bar and bites from nearby food trucks. Visit the Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair's Denver event page – it also spearheads a sister event in Pasadena, California – for more details.
Fifth Annual Cheesman Park Artfest
July 29-30, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Idle, late-July afternoons in Cheesman Park are a Denverite's birthright. Though the expansive lawns were famously built over hastily dissembled burial grounds, it's an altogether livelier scene these days, even more so at the Fifth Annual Cheesman Park Artfest. On Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m., the Cheesman grounds will abound with a juried selection of more than 130 painters, potters, glass-blowers, sculptors and jewelers vying for your coin and eyeballs in a lively pop-up marketplace stretching across the inviting walkways. With goods to suit every price range, even paupers can be patrons of the arts as they take a stroll, boogie to live music or dine at yet another food truck. Go to Dash Arts Denver to see a comprehensive list of artists and vendors, or sign up to volunteer.
Looking for more to do in Denver? Go to Westword's calendar!