The Nutcracker dances into the holiday season.
November 25 through December 24
If there's anything that says Christmas more than the tale of a young girl and a shape-shifter locked in mortal combat with a giant mouse, we don't know what it might be. While the bones of The Nutcracker
story are certainly bizarre, there's no denying this ballet's eternal charm. The Colorado Ballet's excellent production is a major seasonal draw at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1400 Curtis Street. Tickets are $30 to $155 at 303-837-8888 or coloradoballet.org
Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair
December 9 through December 10
December is a frenzy of holiday preparation: From shopping to decorating to hosting to cooking, there's always something looming. Some thrive on it; some abhor it. If you're the type who enjoys the prep, visit this fair for a one-stop, anti-Amazon shopping spree. It's a juried fair, so the artists, producers and designers are legitimately talented, and wares for sale include craft food and drink, stationery, handmade accessories, clothing, bath and body products and homewares. Even if you're not the shopping type, give it a try: Drinks from the bar while you shop will take the edge right off. Admission is free at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; call 323-989-2278 or go to their website
for more information.
Mini Comic Con 2
Saturday, December 9
Summer — and with it the celebration of pop-culture geekery that is Denver Comic Con — seems very distant in the dark days of December. But you can brighten up your winter at the free Mini Comic Con 2, a Denver Public Library event. This year's Artist's Alley will host thirty comic-book artists, who will have art and comics for sale and will offer the opportunity to get professional feedback on your own work. There will also be face painting and button making for younger fans, and green-screen photo shoots that drop you directly into your fave fantasy world. So pick your fandom and don your best cosplay for the chance to win prizes; we'll be sharpening our bat'leth. It's all at the Sam Gary Branch Library, 2961 Roslyn Street; for more information, call 720-865-0325 or go to denverlibrary.org/event?id=32603
Colorado Blizzard Arena Soccer
December 16 through February 17
We're no meteorologists, but we think the Colorado Blizzard could take Denver by storm this winter. The arena soccer team is relocating from Colorado Springs to Denver, bringing Major League Soccer's distant cousin to the Mile High City. The season boasts six games from December through February and has several distinct advantages over the MLS: The field is smaller, so the action is faster and scores are higher; it's indoors, so any inclement weather is purely a result of the play; and it's a hell of a lot cheaper. All games are at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Street. Tickets are $13 to $25; for more information, call 720-274-4711 or go to facebook.com/CoBlizzard
National Western Stock Show
The National Western Stock Show will be back in the saddle.
January 6 through January 21
You may scoff at the idea of a livestock event being listed among film festivals and ballets, but the West has a culture all its own, and for three weeks in January, the National Western Stock Show celebrates that culture and much of what makes this city special. From parading a steer through the streets of the city into the lobby of one of the town's swankiest hotels to slapping a pair of cowboy boots on a toddler and perching him atop an ornery sheep, the sights, sounds — and, yes, smells — of the show are iconic Denver. The Stock Show is at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street; tickets are $10 and up. Get more information at 303-295-6124 or nationalwestern.com
Friday, February 23
's annual celebration of the arts, is well into its third decade, but the venerable event has some tricks up its sleeve. The 2018 edition moves to a new day — Friday — and a new venue: the Church, at 1160 Lincoln Street. As always, though, you can expect Artopia to overflow with this city's most cutting-edge visual and performance art. For details, watch westwordartopia.com
This story originally appeared in the Fall Arts Guide in the November 2 issue of Westword.