People have an agenda, even on Memorial Day weekend, so it takes a gamut of festivals and events to please everyone. With mild temperatures in the 70s forecast over the three-day holiday, you have no excuse to shun festivities that fit your bill. Here are ten alternatives for every taste; if you still don’t find what you need below, also check out our Ten Things to Do for $10 or Less This Weekend, Ten Things for Art Lovers to Do Over Memorial Day Weekend in Denver and 21 Best Events in Denver for additional ideas.
Denver Arts Festival
Conservatory Green, 8304 East 49th Place, Stapleton
Saturday, May 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The enduring Denver Arts Festival is a fitting gateway to the summer art-fair season, with all the right elements: First, there’s the art itself, by more than 150 local and national artists in twelve categories for variety, owing to the fest’s “something for everyone” philosophy. Beyond the simple joy of browsing the booths, you’ll also find a reputable wine and beer garden (drink sales benefit Colorado Pet Pantry), a hands-on art zone for kids and live music daily.
Kickoff to Summer Memorial Weekend Festival
Old South Gaylord Street, South Gaylord Street and Mississippi Avenue
Saturday, May 25, 4 to 10 p.m.
Sunday, May 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday, May 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Memorial Day weekend on Old South Gaylord Street defines the old-fashioned street fair — the kind where kids run free in bouncy castles, intergenerational crowds dance to live music, traditional fest food and drink abounds, and celebrants can peruse vendor booths outdoors and then slip inside neighborhood boutiques and eateries to cool off or warm up. Commune with your community all weekend long.
Boulder Creek Festival
Ninth to 14th streets, between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
Saturday, May 25, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, May 26, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Monday, May 27, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more than thirty years, the Boulder Creek Festival has been delighting thousands of Memorial Day weekend fun-seekers along the banks of Boulder Creek with a citywide kick-out-the-jams celebration offering all the right (free) stuff. Arts and crafts? Check. Family activities? Check. Food trucks and booths? Check. And it goes without saying: live music galore, all day long. On top of that, DenverBazaar is joining the action with a marketplace and ticketed Boulder Beer Bazaar (info at eventbrite.com).
Memorial Day Run & March and Freedom Fest & Food Drive
Douglas County Fairgrounds, 500 Fairgrounds Road, Castle Rock
Saturday, May 25: Race check-in, 6:30 a.m.; Rolling starts, 8 to 8:30 a.m.; Freedom Fest: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Race-day registration still available
Folks sometimes forget that Memorial Day is essentially a military observance created to remember fallen heroes from throughout U.S. history. Members of the armed forces, on the other hand, prefer to put remembrance first when enjoying the day off, with community gatherings that mix business with pleasure, with plenty of the red, white and blue. The morning race events offer military and civilian participants of all ages (dogs included) a chance to run, walk or roll in a variety of races and endurance tests, while indoors the Freedom Fest supplies the good times, with vendors, a beer garden, food trucks and live music all day. Don’t forget to bring non-perishable food donations for homeless veterans in Colorado. Learn more on Facebook.
Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown and Gameroom Expo
Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse Street
Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m. to midnight
Sunday, May 26, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Monday, May 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
$18 to $35 per day, $35 to $85 three-day pass, free for children ages six and under
Not everyone wants to party in the great outdoors on a holiday weekend. Some of us prefer to gather on a darkened expo floor to the tune of swinging flippers and dinging metal balls — hypnotic sounds that hold true pinball enthusiasts in their sway. Dive in to hundreds of classic machines and arcade games at the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown, which are at your disposal just for fun or for all-skills competitive tournaments.
Sweet William Market
Founder's Green at Stapleton, 29th Avenue and Syracuse Street
Saturday, May 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Sweet William Market, a mashup of vintage and artisan wares now in its thirteenth season, is a swell place to meet up with neighbors and friends to peruse the booths, crowd around food trucks and listen to live music. The spring market falls conveniently on Memorial Day weekend and is a great opportunity to shop early for June wedding gifts and Father’s Day (Sweet William philanthropic partner the Morgan Adams Foundation will host a Father’s Day card craft activity for kids).
South Pearl Street Farmers' Market
1400 to 1500 blocks, South Pearl Street
Sunday, May 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The South Pearl Street Farmers’ Market, which will run weekly on Sundays through November 17, is a work of art when it comes to building community and serving up things like farm-picked produce, artisanal foods and fresh baked bread. Find early spring greens, asparagus spears and tomato starts at the Memorial Day version, which also coincides with the first flea market edition, bringing shopping for treasures — vintage, antiques, architectural salvage, farmhouse, mid-mod and more — into the overall equation.
Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks
Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle
Sunday, May 26, 10 to 10:30 p.m.
Fireworks always brighten a three-day weekend, and Elitch Gardens steps up to the task with an extravaganza that starts at the amusement park’s closing time of 10 p.m. Up-close, inside-the-park viewing is free with your daily ticket or season pass, but you can’t hide a fireworks show like that from the downtown Denver skyline or the heights of Highland, so find a place to park yourself and enjoy the show.
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Memorial Day Veterans Tour
Fairmount Cemetery, 430 South Quebec Street
Sunday, May 26, 10 a.m. to noon
By donation; RSVP in advance at Eventbrite
Fairmount Cemetery boasts a large collection of interred war dead from various conflicts across time, including historical figures, generals and decorated war heroes in designated military blocks honoring everyone from Nisei Japanese-American Air Force veterans and Spanish-American War veterans to World War I veterans and more. Take a tour through the beautiful Fairmount grounds and hear stories from Colorado’s military past.
Bolder Boulder 10K
30th and Walnut streets, Boulder
5:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. race-day registration and packet pickup
Waves/special races start at 5:50 a.m. and continue through 11:30 a.m.
Advance online registration, $53 to $98
Race-day registration, $58 to $103
Run, run, run — or do whatever gets you from one place to another — at the time-honored Bolder Boulder 10K, a race that has room for everyone, from the pros to the Sunday joggers. More than 50,000 entrants weave through Boulder neighborhoods each year — on foot or by wheelchair, wearing serious running gear or silly costumes — to cross the arena finish line at Folsom Field. Cheer from the sidelines or put on your running shoes and participate; everything wraps up with a patriotic Memorial Day Tribute at noon.
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