Free for All: The Five Best Free Events in Denver, April 17-20

Celebrating with a comically large joint at last year's 4/20 rally.
Celebrating with a comically large joint at last year's 4/20 rally. Aaron Thackeray
While Denver offers a wide range of free entertainment every week, these events will leave readers beaming with home-state pride. Whether you're guffawing the night away as comedy returns to the Squire Lounge, enjoying a free bike ride through scenic Golden or puffing on a comically large joint at the massive Official 4/20 Rally, all of these activities share a certain je ne sais quoi utterly unique to the Centennial State. Have fun while saving money at these five freebies:

The Squire Strokes Back
Monday, April 17, 11 p.m.
The Squire Lounge
Roaring back to life like a passed-out drunkard at last call, comedy returns to the Squire Lounge in gloriously destructive fashion on Monday, April 17. While the weekly open mic may have gone the way of the black rhino, local comics and fans alike hold fond memories of the bygone Denver institution. Luckily for these scumbag nostalgists, The Squire Strokes Back has enlisted Greg Baumhauer to host a new late-night standup showcase during which he'll roast the crowd and his fellow performers alike. With Matt Cobos, Zac Maas, Christie Buchele and Jay Gillespie on the mic and Cartoons & Comedy's Chris Baker behind the scenes, The Squire Strokes Back is the scene's chance to party like it's 2011. Visit the Squire Strokes Back Facebook event page to learn more.

click to enlarge JAMES WRIGHT
James Wright

Book Release: Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War
Tuesday, April 18, 6:30 p.m.
Old Main Chapel, CU Boulder Campus

Historian, author and president emeritus of Dartmouth College James Wright examines the human toll of a controversial war in his newest book, Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War. Wright did extensive research, including 160 different interviews with survivors and their loved ones, for this book, which incorporates these firsthand accounts, finding meaning in their experiences fighting a horrific war for which meaning was in short supply. Wright's support for veterans doesn't just stop at the written word, however; he pays regular visits to convalescing troops at VA hospitals and works to provide education and counseling services for those who've served. After a reading and discussion, Wright will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.

Almost 4/20 Burlesque Show
Wednesday, April 19, 9 p.m.
License No. 1
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of strutting their stuff in the Boulderado's License No. 1 speakeasy, Bronze Fox Burlesque is hosting a special free show. Arriving in high time for 4/20 eve, the Almost 4/20 show on April 19 features all the bawdy burlesque antics you'd expect as well as a cello accompaniment and live body painting. Join the Foxes (and wolves) for a delightful evening of dance, drink and perhaps even a little early 4/20 celebrating. Admission is free, but tips for the dancers are always appreciated. Visit Bronze Fox Burlesque's Facebook page to learn more.

Keep reading for two more free events this week.

Golden Bicycle Library

Golden Bike Library Season Opening
Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Golden Visitors Center
For anyone looking to escape Denver's 4/20 debauchery or merely celebrate in a quieter and more low-key way, Golden is holding a reception to celebrate the seasonal opening of the Golden Bike Library. Enjoy refreshments, register for giveaway prizes, or hop onto one of sixty new bikes added to the Golden fleet this year. Similar to Denver's B-cycle system, Golden's Bike Library is a hit with locals and tourists alike, and the bikes are perfect for exploring the 24 miles of interconnected trails the city has to offer. Making a good deal even better: The first two hours of any bike rental are free. Visit to learn more.

The Official 420 Rally
Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Civic Center Park
While even a cursory glance at the calendar will reveal a plethora of 4/20-centric events, the Official 420 Rally is the granddaddy of them all. While the current party atmosphere may obscure the rally's onetime activist roots, the freedoms that Coloradans currently enjoy owe a debt to those public-puffing pioneers. The main event this year is a free concert by trap music savant 2 Chainz, who's scheduled to take the stage around 2 p.m. (though arriving earlier is highly recommended), but delights continue all day long, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Join the crowd under the smoke cloud, peruse the vendors' village, spark up with a stranger and thank Jah that you live in Colorado. Visit to learn more.

For even more events in metro Denver this week and beyond, visit our online calendar.

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham