Kwanzaa 2014

There’s a holiday for everyone, and in parts of the African-American community, today marks Umoja. It’s the first of seven days of Kwanzaa, which kicks off with a nod to unity and, in Denver’s Five Points community, with the lighting of the first candle on the Grand Kinara — a giant, seven-pronged candelabra — at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton Street, at 6 p.m. At 6:30, partiers can then join in a family parade to the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, at 119 Park Avenue West, for a First Night Kwanzaa Celebration and African dance performance ($5 suggested donation). And that’s just the first night!

Throughout the weeklong observance — during which each day is dedicated to a different principle — the Kwanzaa Committee will keep folks busy with a myriad of events for adults and families alike, at various local libraries and Five Points landmarks, including the Black American West Museum on California Street and Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center on Welton. For a complete schedule of Denver’s Kwanzaa events, visit; most are free or come with a minimal entry fee.

Got bored kids, and lots of them? Make it a night by loading everyone in the car and heading to the Denver Zoo, 2900 East 23rd Avenue, where Kwanzaa will cross paths with the ongoing Zoo Lights display tonight through December 30. African drumming, dancing and storytelling will take place in the Celebration Pavilion; it’s all included with the Zoo Lights fee of $7 to $13 and comes with the extra candy coating of thousands of twinkling lights, nighttime carousel rides and tasty hot chocolate. For details about Kwanzaa at the Denver Zoo, go to
Dec. 26-Jan. 1, 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd