Arts and Culture

Ten Memorial Day Events, Festivals and Markets in Denver

Bolder Boulder 10K runners make a big finish at Folsom Field.
Bolder Boulder 10K runners make a big finish at Folsom Field. Courtesy of Bolder Boulder

click to enlarge Bolder Boulder 10K runners make a big finish at Folsom Field. - COURTESY OF BOLDER BOULDER
Bolder Boulder 10K runners make a big finish at Folsom Field.
Courtesy of Bolder Boulder
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.

click to enlarge Find art in every medium at the Denver Arts Festival. - JUSTIN CLEMENTS
Find art in every medium at the Denver Arts Festival.
Justin Clements
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.
click to enlarge Pixie and the Partygrass Boys will be on Old South Gaylord Saturday. - PIXIE AND THE PARTYGRASS BOYS
Pixie and the Partygrass Boys will be on Old South Gaylord Saturday.
Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
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.

click to enlarge BOULDER CREEK FESTIVAL
Boulder Creek Festival
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).

click to enlarge Honor the military at the 2019 Memorial Day Run & March and Freedom Fest & Food Drive. - COURTESY OF FREEDOM FEST
Honor the military at the 2019 Memorial Day Run & March and Freedom Fest & Food Drive.
Courtesy of Freedom Fest
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.


click to enlarge Pinball enthusiasts flick the flippers at the the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown. - COURTESY OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PINBALL SHOWDOWN
Pinball enthusiasts flick the flippers at the the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown.
Courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown
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.
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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