Denver's creative community has everything you need – from high culture to dick jokes – to stave off boredom and despair as you welcome the sun-dappled days of June. With street fairs, elegant concerts, medieval festivals and a full-on corgi takeover, the only way to lose this weekend is by staying home. Best of all, locals can attend all of the following ten events, listed below in chronological order, for less than ten American dollars – and seven of them are free. If you've saved up and can pony up an additional $3 to $8, we've included one bonus event just for you.
DU Lamont Symphony & Choirs: Die erste Walpurgisnacht
Thursday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.
Newman Center for the Performing Arts
While it's a real mouthful for non-German speakers, "Die erste Walpurgisnacht" is an enduring classic of the Romantic canon, both in its poetic and musical incarnations. Inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's poem of the same name, Felix Mendelssohn adapted the tale of Druidic rituals and struggle against the encroaching dogma of Christianity, setting Goethe's stirring words to grand, sweeping music. It's a fittingly epic composition to mark the conclusion of the DU Lamont Symphony Orchestra's 2017 season, but Lamont is also treating classical-music aficionados to performances of Béla Bartók's "Concerto for Orchestra" before the chorale joins in for "Die erste Walpurgisnacht." Admission is free, but registration is required, and reserved seating is $5. Visit newmantix.com/lamont to learn more and get your tickets.
Colorado Medieval Festival
June 2-4, hours vary
The Savage Woods
For a jaunt through creative anachronism that’s less about commerce and more about character, the Colorado Medieval Festival might be just the ticket. This three-day blast from the past, which opens Friday, June 2, in Loveland, will bring together wandering faeries and sword players in chain mail, huge men hurling stones, hammers for prizes, an open Battle of the Bards contest, artisan vendors, and hearty food and drink, for an experience that feels more like a family picnic than a tourist trap. The fest runs from 3 to 8 p.m. June 2, with an evening of live music by Wendy Woo, the Stubby Shillelaghs, and Shawn Wright and the Tribe; it continues from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. June 3-4 at the Savage Woods, 1750 Savage Road in Loveland. For more information and to purchase tickets, which are $8 (children five and under get in free; parking is $5 per car), visit coloradocastle.com.
March for Truth Denver
Saturday, June 3, 11 a.m.
In these increasingly absurd times, amassing in the streets to make our voices heard often feels like the only sensible response. While a certain degree of protest fatigue might be understandable after four months of marching nearly every weekend, the electorate must ensure that it's not ignored by its elected representatives. All across the country on Saturday, June 3, people will gather at the March for Truth to support the investigation into the president's alleged misconduct. The people want to hold Trump accountable by compelling Congress to insist that he release his tax returns, stop meddling with the investigation into a possible Russian election hack, and disavow his numerous conflicts of interest. And while it seems exceedingly unlikely that our leaders will rise to the occasion, at least they'll know we're pissed. Support the March for Truth by joining the peaceful protest at Commons Park or by donating to this GoFundMe campaign.
Free First Saturday at Denver Art Museum
Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Denver Art Museum
For artsy Denverites in the know, the arrival of a new month also means another Free First Saturday at the Denver Art Museum (100 West 14th Avenue Parkway). Admission to all of the museum's non-ticketed exhibitions is free and open to the public; visitors can enjoy exciting new exhibits nearly every month, as well as the institution's world-class permanent collection, which features everything from pre-Columbian artifacts to paintings by Claude Monet and Winslow Homer. Even the museum itself is a work of art: Just walking through the Gio Ponti or Daniel Libeskind-designed buildings is worth braving the crowds. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; visit denverartmuseum.org to learn more.
Read on for more free and cheap things to do in Denver this weekend.
Denver Chalk Art Festival
June 3-4, 10 a.m.
Nothing says summer is here more eloquently than the Denver Chalk Art Festival in Larimer Square; after fifteen years, it’s now a bona fide Denver tradition. There’s nothing quite like it: You can stroll along and watch art being made in real time, right on the street. The colorful flat murals created throughout the fest, which range from funny to charming to jaw-droppingly gorgeous, are made even more beautiful by their ephemeral nature. Here today, gone tomorrow: Enjoy street art, live entertainment and food and drink from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, June 3, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 4, on the 1400 block of Larimer Street. Admission is free; go to larimerarts.org for details.
June 3-4, 10 a.m.
Civic Center Park
The more things change, the more they stay the same. What was established in 1972 as the Capitol Hill People’s Fair is now just the People’s Fair, a free-for-all festival that returns to Civic Center Park from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. The park will be full of family-friendly events, homemade arts and crafts, mural painting, nonstop music and other performances, as well as community booths, presentations and food and drink vendors (don’t forget those turkey legs). Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods has contracted with an event company for the first time, so there will be plenty of People’s Fair-watching by fans of the original. For more information, go to peoplesfair.com.
Milk @ Central
Sunday, June 4, 1:30 p.m.
Denver Central Library
Get recruited by Milk @ Central, a continuation of Denver Public Library's free screening series. On Sunday, June 4, DPL will be showing Gus Van Sant's Milk, a deeply moving biopic of slain gay-rights activist Harvey Milk. Sean Penn —who won an Academy Award for his leading performance— stars as the crusading San Francisco city supervisor who dedicated his life to public service and the pursuit of equal rights. Admission is free; visit denverpubliclibrary.org to learn more.
Complimentary Timbuk2une Ups
Sunday, June 4, noon-5 p.m.
Local cyclists with a yen to hit the sunny streets may find themselves hamstrung by bikes that have fallen into disrepair after a long winter of neglect. Fret not, destitute cyclists: Timbuk2 Denver is celebrating the beginning of its Summer Sessions series with free Timbuk2uneups, a program that continues throughout the summer on every first Sunday. Guests can get their bikes tweaked into summertime shape while mingling with other cyclists and perusing shelves packed with enough gear to facilitate all manner of two-wheeled journeys. Visit Timbuk2 Denver's Facebook page to learn more about Summer Sessions, and Timbuk2.com to RSVP for your tune-up.
Monday, June 5, 6 p.m.
City Stacks Books and Coffee
As Denver's population swells, new and old residents alike share a concern over the changing cityscape, where affordable housing, livability and basic aesthetics are being subsumed by rapid development. Historic buildings are razed to the ground, only to be replaced by overpriced boxes, threatening to bury the city's legacy and character under a mound of construction dirt. Join local historian and author Phil Goodstein for a discussion of how the city's history is shaping its present and future. Goodstein will raise provocative questions such as: "What part does Denver’s energy economy and its boom-and-bust cycles play?" and "How does Denver’s sports fixation affect its future?" Goodstein's lectures will leave listeners feeling informed, if not necessarily comforted. Visit the Denver's Destiny Facebook page to learn more.
Rebel Yell With Sam Tallent
Monday, June 5, 8 p.m.
Rebel Yell, a free monthly standup-comedy showcase held at the trendy RiNo eatery and watering hole Rebel Restaurant has been shuffling along for a couple of months now, and it's returning in June with headliner Sam Tallent. Tallent's elephantine body may have left Denver for Vegas, but his heart has always been in the Mile High City. While his national profile is growing thanks to appearances on Viceland's Flophouse and Comedy Central's Roast Battle, most Denverites are happy to just catch him on local stages again. Hosted and curated by Allison Rose, Rebel Yell features Andres Becerril along with Los Angeles's Ell Gale and the New York-based Brett Hiker, another prodigal Denverite. The restaurant will offer a wings special during the show. Admission is free; visit Rebel Yell's Facebook page to learn more.
BONUS: Second Annual Corgis Take Over Denver
Saturday, June 3, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Lowry's Great Lawn Park
Few dog breeds are more bafflingly adorable than Welsh Corgis, be they Pemrokes or Cardigans. Perhaps it's the tiny legs and enthusiastic wobbles, or maybe it's their big ears and winning personalities, but either way, Corgis remain one of the most recognizable and playful pups around. Paws All in the City, a startup organization dedicated to educating pet lovers about unforeseen health risks faced by their furry friends, started Corgis Take Over Denver to celebrate the cute and quirky breed. Now entering its second year, the event welcomes corgi owners and enthusiasts alike to frolic through Lowry's Great Lawn Park, browse vendor tables and socialize with dozens of tiny dogs. While other breeds are welcome, tickets are $13 for corgi owners and $18 for everyone else. Vendors can also register for $100. These tickets are technically too expensive for this list, but readers can use all the money they saved by going to seven free events and splurge on the corgi takeover. We doubt anyone will regret it.
Looking for more to do? Check the Westword calendar.
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