This is a big holiday weekend, whether you plan to stay home or venture out of the house. Shop in person or online, experience annual festivals (1940s White Christmas Ball!) indoors or outside (ice-staking at Four Mile Historic Park), and learn how to make some tasty bread (both challah and Rosca de Reyes) for the celebrations ahead.
Here are the ten can't-miss things to do this weekend; be sure to check our list of light shows, holiday markets and family-friendly events, too.
The Music of Black Nativity
Through December 23
The Aurora Fox’s traditional staging of Black Nativity, a retelling of the Bible story that's based on the works of Langston Hughes, was originally planned as a live performance — before rising COVID numbers again shut the theater’s doors. In no time, the play was retrofitted as a virtual holiday concert, with a colorful multimedia set conceived and created in days. The musical will stream nightly through December 23; get tickets and more information here.
Through December 27, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 5 to 10:30 p.m.
Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street
Four Mile Historic Park is jumping into the holiday game with December Delights, a family-friendly winter romp in the park, with a skating rink, holiday lights and art installations, snacks and drinks, a scavenger hunt and the immersive live-action video game attraction Oh Heck Yeah. For the grownups, there’s even a late-night adult-skate slot, where folks can let loose on the ice from 9 to 10:30 p.m. without the six-year-olds (better still, a complimentary drink and DJ set are included). Admission is free to $14 (skating is $10 to $19); get timed-entry tickets here.
CU Holiday Festival
Through January 4
Bringing together faculty and students from the College of Music, CU’s Holiday Festival has been a tradition for decades. This year the music, comprising holiday favorites and classical pieces recorded over the course of the fall semester, is virtual. But it still promises to bring the joy of the season to your home, where you can listen seated by the fire, wrapping gifts or entertaining the children. Tickets are $20 for individuals, $40 for a household, and $80 for a group; get yours here.
A Fiesta of Food
Saturday, December 5, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
On January 6 in Mexico, friends and family gather to celebrate Epiphany (Día de los Reyes/Day of the Three Wise Men), and children leave out their shoes during the night to receive gifts from the Three Wise Men, including Rosca de Reyes, wreath-shaped bread. Dylan Fajardo-Anstine learned how to make it from her auntie in west Denver. When she studied at the Instituto Universitario de Oaxaca, she learned traditional Oaxacan cuisine; Fajardo-Anstine later worked in a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Spain, El Celler de Can Roca. She'll teach you how to make Rosca de Reyes in this free virtual lesson; sign up here.
Virtual 1940s White Christmas Ball
Saturday, December 5, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Although the 1940s White Christmas Ball has always sold out, there's endless space in cyberspace, where this year's event will be held. Good thing, too, because the 2020 ball is free! Bands performing the Christmas playlist will include Bianca and the Flyboys, the White Christmas Singers, the Denver Dolls, the Satin Dollz and the Jeremy Mohney Swing Band. Enjoy swing dancing lessons in your living room, and learn how to make vintage ornaments as well as how to mix up a vintage cocktail and go 1940s holiday glam (there will be a best-dressed contest, too). Sign up to watch it all here.
We Are Who We Always Were: Afrofuturism in Fashion, Film and Art
Saturday, December 5, 2 to 4 p.m.
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Afrofuturism — where it came from and where to find it in modern culture — when artist Holly Kai Hurd and moderator Andrea Moore have a virtual conversation on a Saturday afternoon. The Zoom conversation is free, but donations are requested; find details and Zoom instructions here.
Friday, December 5, 5 p.m.
This virtual TEDxMile High will feature eight extraordinary presenters. What do you see for the future — or can you see at all? The way forward is messy and clouded by complex challenges. While there is no magical formula for perfect vision, as we look inward, we might start to see more clearly and reconnect with our humanity. That's the theory behind this year's virtual TEDxMileHigh. Experience the power of big ideas and transformative thinking for free this year; sign up here.
Hugo Prairie Yuletide Festival
Saturday, December 5, 6 p.m.
Ready for a road trip? Just over an hour east of Denver, Hugo’s Main Street will be decorated with holiday lights and the adjacent Railroad Park filled with lighted Yuletide decorations, both new items and creative upcycled pieces created by Hugo Main Street volunteers who have been cutting, building and painting for months. Included in the decorations is a small forest of pallet Christmas trees that have been decorated by local families and artisans. The official park lighting is at 6 p.m., when the High Plains Brass band will lead the festivities with Christmas carols. Following the park lighting, head to nearby Limon for a Parade of Lights that begins at 7 p.m. Find more information here.
Virtual Mega Challah Bake
Sunday, December 6, noon to 1 p.m.
In preparation for Hanukkah’s arrival, Colorado Jewish Women booked celebrity kosher chef and cookbook author Jamie Geller for a friendly online demonstration on how to bake a perfect challah, an art she’s described as “part magic, part science and 100 percent spiritual.” Next step? Do your own sorcery with flour and eggs, and braid up your own loaf at home. Learn more and register, $5, at Eventbrite.
Sunday, December 6, 7 p.m.
Puppetry encompasses everything from cartoonish, traditional Punch and Judy shows to Bread and Puppet’s political statements to the genius artistry of the snorting, galloping horses in Equus. Puppets can be huge creations that take time, patience and expensive technology to build, or just a talking sock sitting on your hand. Katy Williams, who majored in neuroscience and theater at the University of Denver and heads the Rocky Mountain Puppetry Guild, has explored many genres; the workshop she’s putting on to benefit the Denver Actors Fund will explain the many uses of puppetry on stage. The program promises to be the perfect presentation for a stuck-at-home day; learn from a passionate puppeteer how bits of cardboard, string, cloth, wood and metal can become animate figures — terrifying, hilarious or simply intriguing. Free to Colorado Theatre Guild members, $5 for others; register at coloradotheatreguild.org.
Do you know of a great event around town? We'll be updating this list through the weekend; send information to email@example.com.
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