Normally, the city would be getting all duded up right now, in preparation for the National Western Stock Show. While the 2021 edition of that century-old tradition has been canceled, the show — or some of it — must still go on, with a series of free, virtual events celebrating the spirit. Another familiar friend is back, too: The Children's Museum has joined other museums and attractions around town in reopening, albeit with accommodations because of the pandemic (see our list of seventeen museums to visit here
). And you can also go global with a discussion of the climate crisis.
Read on for the ten best events in and around Denver (and online) this weekend:
Celebrating the Spirit: Buffalo Bill, Stories and Songs
Saturday, January 9, through January 24
This free series of daily events inspired by the National Western Stock Show kicks off with a program celebrating Buffalo Bill, who started life as William F. Cody and became a showman whose Wild West Shows made him the most famous man in the world. He's buried on a mountain overlooking Golden, and you can visit his gravesite after you see the show: The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
complex on Lookout Mountain has reopened, too. Songwriter, guitarist and entertainer Jim Salestrom created this one-man show, working with historian Steve Freisen. Programming continues through January 24; find out more here
Children's Museum of Denver Reopening
Saturday, January 9
The Children's Museum of Denver has reopened, with limited capacity, modified exhibits and four ninety-minute, reservation-only play sessions Thursdays through Saturdays. During the closure, the museum worked on several more interior spaces; in addition to Water, Joy Park and the Art Studio, kids can now explore sudsy science secrets in Bubbles, take care of neighborhood pets in Ready Vet Go, learn about the Laws of Motion in Kinetics, launch a rocket in 3 2 1 Blast Off, and save the town in Fire Station No. 1. Virtual activities continue for those staying home, too. Find out more here
Saturday, January 9, 7 p.m.
The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center's thirteenth annual Neustadt JAAMM Festival
(Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music) continues in the new year. Next up: Canadian sketch-comedy duo YidLife Crisis will host a live, online show called “Virtually Jewish.” Tickets to the livestream are $18; sign up here
A Conversation on the Crisis of Climate Feedback Loops
Saturday, January 9, 8:30 p.m.
Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops, a series of five short films featuring twelve world-renowned climate scientists and narrated by Richard Gere, is now available for free viewing (in twenty languages!). The Mind & Life Institute will host a launch event for the series with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, climate activist Greta Thunberg and leading scientists, who'll explore steps for addressing urgent climate change challenges. A new action, in which Arvada-based PeaceJam will partner, will be announced during the program. Register here
Max Davidson Magic: In Your Head, In Your Home
Sunday, January 10 (and again January 23 and January 28), various times
How does a magic show work on the virtual stage? Denver prestidigitator Max Davidson will show you through In Your Head, In Your Home, a live interactive Zoom meeting for up to twenty screens that reaches through cyberspace to make use of objects in your home and those of other participants. The show is a bargain at $25 per household; find more info and reserve a Zoom spot at Eventbrite
The Wizard’s Den
Wednesday, January 13, through March 17
The Residences at Civic Center, 435 West Colfax Avenue
Residents in a range of cities are discovering the immersive pop-up experiences managed by Hidden, an Australian adventure-making outfit. Coming up next in Denver is the Wizard’s Den, a ninety-minute magical wizarding escapade, complete with a magic potion bar and all the accoutrements a wizard needs, including robes, wands, mead, mulled wine and other alcoholic concoctions, along with a potion master to show you how to pull your own cool cocktails out of a hat. For $45, you can be off to see the wizards; learn more and purchase tickets here
And the light shows aren't over!
Chill in Dillon at Ice Castles...if you can still find a ticket.
Night Lights Denver
Through January 10, 5:15 to 10 p.m.
16th and Arapahoe streets
Night Lights Denver has a new lineup of lighting up the Clocktower in January, including artists/creatives Andi Todaro, Eliza Struthers-Jobin, the Denver Collage Club (with artwork by dozens of artists) and the Royal Essence Elite Dance Academy. The show will go on every night but Monday through the end of the month, when the lineup changes; find out more here
Lumonics Mind Spa: Light Intersection Now
Through January 30
UnderStudy, 700 14th Street
One of the big losses of 2020 was artist Dorothy Tanner who, along with her late husband, Mel Tanner, made light sculptures designed to create a state of comfort, relaxation and creativity. Many of them are currently presented in a “fishbowl”-style installation at UnderStudy, located at the Colorado Convention Center — which is closed, but you can see the Lumonics exhibit through the window. Find out more here
Through February, daily
Dillon Town Park, Dillon
Ice Castles is back in Dillon, and it's again an amazing spectacle — and, as an outdoor attraction, ideally designed for a pandemic. The icy structures include LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and fun photogenic opportunities. Tickets (which are very scarce) start at $17.99 adults, $12.99 kids; buy yours here
. If you can.
Know of a great event around town? We'll be updating this list through the weekend; send information to [email protected]