Arts and Culture

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events in Denver This Week

Don't miss the three remaining days of Halloweenery at Nick's Garden Center, October 29 to 31.
Don't miss the three remaining days of Halloweenery at Nick's Garden Center, October 29 to 31. Nikki Boros Photography
After a month of hype, Halloween has finally arrived in the Mile High. While you may find it challenging to party down without paying up on one of the liveliest club nights of the year, the days ahead hold a goodie bag full of affordable Samhain counter-programming. From genre-spanning concerts to autumn festivals and one of Denver's oldest Día de los Muertos celebrations, here are five great reasons not to limit your entertainment options to Wednesday night. Save a bundle while having a blast at the these free events:


Nick's Fall Fest and Pumpkin Patch
October 29 to 31, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nick's Garden Center

A mere three days remain for families to indulge in fall-flavored fun at Nick's Fall Fest and Pumpkin Patch, which winds down for the season on Wednesday, October 31. Whether you need to stock up on last-minute decorations or simply take in a bit of autumnal atmosphere, a healthy harvest of delights awaits at Nick's Garden Center in Aurora. It's free to trek through the straw maze, participate in Professor Pumpkin's Story Time and enjoy kiddie-play-area games,but the Express Train, Tunnel of Terror, pedal carts and bouncy house cost $4 each. Find out more on the Nick's Garden Center events calendar.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF CHAMBER MUSIC DENVER
Courtesy of Friends of Chamber Music Denver
Music With Friends: Ensemble Faucheux
Tuesday, October 30, 6 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera

Classical music can seem like a hidebound and backward-looking genre, overlooking contemporary innovations in favor of honoring dead German guys — not that we have anything against those dead German guys. But the Denver-based Friends of Chamber Music collective strives to push the medium forward and engage with new generations of listeners at Music With Friends, a concert series dedicated to spotlighting a sonically and biographically diverse range of modern composers. Music With Friends returns to Syntax Physic Opera on October 30 with Ensemble Faucheux, thoughtfully interpreting a future-facing program that includes works by Benjamin Britten, Imogen Holst and Peter Schickele, along with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, John Harrison and Denver-born Jessica Mays. Visit the Friends of Chamber Music events calendar for more details.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF SERVICIOS DE LA RAZA
Courtesy of Servicios de La Raza
Día de los Muertos Celebration
Thursday, November 1, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
La Raza Park

The morbidly heartwarming imagery of Día de Los Muertos has become increasingly mainstream in recent years, particular for Halloweeners who can't resist letting their spooky revelry bleed into the first week of November. Lost among the appropriated face-painting and candy-skull decorating, however, is the holiday's devotion to remembering dearly departed loved ones, a paranormal semblance of a family reunion. The Día de los Muertos celebration in La Raza Park — which claims to be the city's oldest observance of the holiday — stays true to its somber yet exuberant traditions. The procession convenes at La Raza at 5:30 p.m. and concludes in the North High School cafeteria, where dinner and festivities await. Visit Servicios de la Raza's Facebook events page to learn more.


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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