This weekend, locals have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the finest of what life in the Mile High City has to offer, both indoors and out. Shoppers, beer drinkers and music lovers in particular are sure to be spoiled for choice as Mother's Day weekend approaches. Readers needn't fret about dipping into their moms' well-earned flowers and brunch budget, either: Each of the ten events listed below costs less than ten American dollars to attend (fine print notwithstanding), and four of them are free! Take heed, thrifty and adventurous Denverites, and keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver (and Longmont and Lone Tree) this weekend.
Urban Peak to Peak Hike/Launch Party
Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m.
Historians Ale House
Attention, beer snobs: The team at Breckenridge Brewery is launching its first new India Pale Ale in thirty years — Hop Peak IPA. Ideal for the summer's warming climes, Hop Peak's pine and citrus notes make for a light and drinkable beer that nevertheless packs a punch at 6.5% ABV. Celebrate Breckenridge's new brew at a hiking-themed rooftop bar party at two of South Broadway's favorite watering holes, Historians Ale House and the Irish Rover (the "hike" goes from one rooftop to another). Don your most outlandish hiking gear and enjoy homemade trail snacks while sampling Hop Peak before other Denver drinkers get the chance. Visit Breckenridge Brewery's events calendar to find out more.
DAM Symposium: The Workshop of Leonardo in Milan
Friday, May 11, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Denver Art Museum
Free to FOPAS Members
The Denver Art Museum's department of Painting and Sculpture (FOPAS) is devoting an entire day to Leonardo da Vinci as a quintet of art-history experts conduct a symposium focused entirely on the artist's years in Milan. Panelists include Professor Emerita Claire Farago, University of Colorado Boulder; Sue Ann Chui, associate conservator at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Martin Clayton, head of the Royal Trust Collection of Prints and Drawings at Windsor Castle; Luke Syson, chairman of the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Johns Hopkins art-history professor Stephen J. Campbell. The symposium will examine how the Florentine master's presence in Lombardy both elevated his peers and enchanted centuries of viewers thereafter. Admission is free to anyone with a Friends of Painting and Sculpture membership, $20 to $55 for non-members. Visit the DAM's box office page for tickets and details.
New Belgium Summer Concert Series
Friday, May 11, 5 to 8 p.m.
Summertime is nearly upon us, but many Denverites are eager for a head start on the outdoor concert season. New Belgium Brewing Company and Union Station are getting into the spirit of the summer early with a free concert to kick off a summer series of monthly performances on the Terminal Bar's temporarily expanded patio. The series kicks off with a special beer tapping, a free prize giveaway and live music from the soulful funksters in SuperMagick. Admission is free. Visit the Terminal Bar's Facebook events page for more information.
Lentamente Suavecito: Lowrider History & Hydraulic Demonstration
Friday, May 11, 6 to 8 p.m.
Museo de las Americas
$3 to $5
In addition to generally being the coolest thing on the streets at any given time, lowrider cars have inspired a rich subculture dedicated to experimental customizations and vehicular expression. Museo de las Americas' Momento Interactivo workshop series is shining a spotlight on these weird and wonderful machines, with the assistance of the Compas Colorado car club, providing guests with a live demonstration of a fully equipped car (including hydraulics) while gaining insight into the cultural significance of lowrider. Activities are included with admission to the museum; visit the Museo de las Americas events calendar to buy tickets, $3 to $5, and learn more.
Colorado Chocolate Festival
May 11 to 12, hours vary
Rejoice, chocoholics: The Colorado Chocolate Festival returns to the Denver Mart this weekend, with over eighty vendors stretched across "30,000 square feet of chocolate heaven." Festivities include cooking demonstrations, kids' games, the prestigious Chocolatier Championships, and enough tastings and samples to sate even the sweetest tooth. And with Mother's Day just around the corner, it's also a fine time to stock up on tasty gifts. Admission is $5 at the Colorado Chocolate Festival's ticketing page, where you'll also find more information.
Cultural Arts Fair
Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Douglas County Libraries, Lone Tree Branch
Amble through a gauntlet of cultural treasures from all over the world at the Cultural Arts Fair presented by Douglas County Libraries at the Lone Tree branch. Enjoy art, music and street food in a fun and family-friendly day of community building. Admission is free, but organizers recommend advanced registration (which includes a full agenda of events). Visit Douglas County Libraries' events calendar to pre-register and learn more.
Saturday, May 12, 7 p.m.
Hosted and curated by local standup and podcaster Nolawee Mengist, the Token Comedy Show is a joke-filled antidote to underrepresentation. The show challenges the cultural homogeny of Denver's comedy scene by giving standups from various ethnic backgrounds the stage and leaving only one slot for a white comic — inverting the "token minority" paradigm plaguing other lineups around town. The show returns for its third outing with Denver-based mirth merchants Jose Macall, Andres Becerril, Georgia Rae Comstock, ShaNae Ross and Adrian Mesa on the bill. Admission is free, but a $5 donation for the performers is strongly suggested. Visit Token's Facebook events page for more details.
Longmont Symphony Orchestra Pops Concert: Divas Through the Decades
Saturday, May 12, 7:30 p.m.
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium, Longmont
$10 to $25
Start your Mother's Day Festivities early with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra's genre- and generations-spanning tribute to female musicians, the aptly titled Divas Through the Decades. With vocal accompaniment from soprano Nadya Hill, mezzo-soprano Katheryne Baker and the women of the Longmont Chorale, the concert program moves from revered compositions like Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and the "Habanera" from Georges Bizet's Carmen to pop hits from singers like Dolly Parton, Adele and Lady Gaga. Visit the Longmont Symphony Orchestra's box-office page for tickets, $10 to $25, and to learn more.
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The Late Night: Mark Diamond and Scott Martin
Saturday, May 12, 11 p.m.
Nocturne, one of Denver's swankiest live-music venues, has a treat in store for jazz-loving night owls with The Late Night, a free concert from Mark Diamond and Scott Martin. An accomplished acoustic bassist and session musician for a multitude of Grammy winning albums, Mark Diamond has also received a Canadian Juno award and performed for President Bill Clinton. Accompanied by Boulder-based jazz pianist Martin, Diamond demonstrates the sonorous versatility of his instrument with string-strumming and ivory-tickling harmony. Visit Nocturne's events calendar for more details.
Music in the Galleries: Patterson/Sutton Duo
Sunday, May 13, 1 and 2 p.m.
Clyfford Still Museum
$6 to $10
A partnership between Swallow Hill Music and the Clyfford Still Museum, Music in the Galleries captures the abstract-expressionist spirit of the eponymous artist's paintings through music. This month, cellist Kim Patterson and guitarist Patrick Sutton will perform the enchanting aria from Hector Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Ricardo Iznaola's Musique de Salon, and a new, Still-inspired work from Welsh composer Stephen Goss. While listening, guests can drink in the museum's distinguished architecture, surrounded by the exclusive collection of Still's abstract-expressionist paintings. The performance is free with museum admission. Visit the Clyfford Still Museum box-office page to buy tickets, $6 to $10, and the Friends of Chamber Music events calendar to learn more.
Looking for more things to do this weekend? Go to Westword's online calendar. And if you have an event you want us to spotlight, send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.