This town is getting lit, with light shows all along the Front Range. The granddaddy of them all, the Parade of Lights, celebrates its 45th anniversary tonight, with a colorful extravaganza that winds through downtown and jams traffic for miles around. Keep reading for five more great free events in and around town this weekend, as well as a few bonuses:
Women's Bean Project Holiday Open House
Saturday, December 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
3201 Curtis Street
The annual Women's Bean Project Holiday Open House is a great place to shop, snack and support the nonprofit Women's Bean Project, which we recently profiled. The organization will have food stations serving up its own gourmet offerings, as well as a photo booth and other family-friendly activities. Admission is free, and there will be major discounts on WBP products. Find out more here.
Bowlero Cherry Creek Grand Opening Party
Saturday, December 7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
6767 Leetsdale Drive
Free bowling, free arcade games and deals on drinks and snacks at the renovated bowling alley that's now become another Bowlero. Find out more here.
Winter Pet Adoption Fair
Saturday, December 7, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Governor's Mansion Carriage House, 400 East Eighth Avenue
Governor Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis are hosting a winter pet adoption fair in the carriage house of the Governor's Mansion; partners include Ferret Dreams Rescue, MaxFund and the Animal Rescue of the Rockies. And while you're there, tour through the Governor's Mansion, which is decked out for the season. “We’re excited to celebrate the holidays at the Governor’s Mansion and to share the spirit of the season with all Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis, who kept his home in Boulder after he was elected. “This has really been a team effort between my office, the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund and ASID designer David Rote. I hope everyone gets a chance to visit and see the decorations for themselves during the free tours.” And you'll have that chance from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. today through Sunday, December 8, then again at the same times from December 12 through December 15. Find out more here.
Couples Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Saturday, December 7, 5 p.m.
Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center, 2351 Busch Drive, Fort Collins
Anheuser-Busch is challenging people to really connect with those they love this holiday season. On Saturday, December 7, the brewery will attempt to break the Guinness World Records title for Most Couples Kissing Under the Mistletoe, which will require more than 900 couples (split between the brewer's three centers across the country) to smooch under the mistletoe. At the Fort Collins Biergarten, you can stick around to celebrate the season at Brewery Lights, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 29. Amenities include a 4-D holiday photo opportunity as well as beer! Find out more here.
Community Free Day at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Sunday, December 8, 9 to 5 p.m.
2001 Colorado Boulevard
At this very special SCFD Community Free Day, you can enjoy family-friendly programming co-created by the museum and six LGBTQ-serving organizations: One Colorado, The GLBT Center of Colorado, Transgender Center of the Rockies, LGBTQ Student Resource Center at the Auraria Campus, Out Boulder and PFLAG. Activities will include a "sparkly slime make & take" (gift-giving opportunity), as well as drag queen storytime! And, of course, you can see all the current exhibits for free. Find out more here.
A weekend bonus:
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Saturday, December 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street
Yes, it will cost you a penny to get into the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver on Saturday, December 7, but it's worth it! Read Michael Paglia's review of the three current shows here.
And two free events for the week ahead:
Between Us Walking Tour
Wednesday, December 11, 3 to 6 p.m.
Join curators Hey Hue and Castle Searcy on the free Between Us Alleyway Walking Tour to check out the five latest alleyway art installations in the downtown project.
Trump's Middle East Policy: Shifting Reality for Regional Actors
Wednesday, December 11, 6 p.m.
Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, 2201 South Gaylord Street
The National Iranian American Council, WorldDenver and the University of Denver's Center for Middle East Studies are hosting a discussion of the Trump Administration's recent policy shifts in the Middle East, from withdrawing troops from northern Syria to the relative lack of response following alleged Iranian rocket attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Center for Middle East Studies director Nader Hashemi will moderate; panelists include former U.S. Ambassador and DU Distinguished Fellow Gary Grappo, DU professor and Middle East expert Micheline Ishay, and National Iranian American Council Senior Research Analyst Sina Toossi. Although the event is free, you should RSVP here.
Know of a great free event in town? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org, and watch for an update with more events this weekend.