It's a great weekend to get out and about in metro Denver. The snow (such as it was) is gone, and art is busting out all over, with Street Wise Boulder just wrapping up as Crush Walls breaks out. Saturday, September 12, is also Colorado Restaurant Day; if you're staying at home, sign up for a virtual experience and order some delivery.
And if you're ready to hit the town, there are plenty of things to see over the next few days. Just be sure to stop by a local restaurant on your way to or from one of the in-person events on this list.
Through Sunday, September 13
Multiple locations around Wheat Ridge
Free (with some ticketed events)
The 38th annual RidgeFest in Wheat Ridge has been "deconstructed," spread out over space and time to allow the community to celebrate local heritage safely. Among the highlights: a classic car show, live bluegrass, kids' activities and the Colorado Celebrates Honey event at the Four Seasons parking lot on Saturday. Businesses around town will be offering deals, too, through LocalWorks. Find the complete schedule and learn more here, and watch some of the fun virtually on Facebook.
Almost Heaven, The Songs of John Denver
Weekends, through October 11
Hudson Gardens & Event Center, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive
$45 at townhallartscenter.org
The Town Hall Arts Center plans to go on with the show, but not inside the building. Instead, the songs of John Denver will echo through the rose garden at Hudson Gardens, where the audience will be seated in socially distant “pods” or groupings on the lawn. It’s different, and given our recent early snowstorm, subject to cancellation when it’s stormy, but we’d all like to think that John Denver would appreciate hearing his canon shared in the great outdoors. Learn more and get tickets (currently sold out, but you can dream) online.
Through Sunday, September 12
People's Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora
This is your last chance to catch the Black Actors Guild's production of Idris Goodwin's play live and in person — or you can watch from home. The story, an exploration of race, fame and friendship, is powerfully presented by a talented trio of actors and musicians; a talkback follows each performance. Get tickets here.
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
Saturday, September 12, through January 3, 2021
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway
Free with museum admission
Much of the History Colorado Center’s big summer lead-up in anticipation of this Smithsonian traveling exhibit’s arrival in Denver got the kibosh because of COVID-19. But the museum has reopened and rearranged its live events connected with American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith in time to meet the planned September 12 opening date. The exhibit is included in regular museum admission; learn more and reserve your timed ticket in advance online.
Art on the Green
Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Curtis Park, 2349 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village
In this curated display, fifty Colorado artists will show their work in photography, ceramics, printmaking and jewelry right by the Curtis Arts Center (which will also be open). The booths will be socially spaced, and admission to the event is free, but timed (though you can take your chances the last two hours). Find out more here.
Back to Berkeley Horseshoe Market
Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5345 West 46th Avenue
The Horseshoe Market returns to its original home at the Berkeley Chapel for this mini version with forty to fifty of your favorite makers, artists and food vendors; your browsing and shopping will be accompanied by music from @dj_cyn. Admission is free, but timed, so you must register for your spot here.
Chalk Across Centennial
Saturday, September 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
four locations in Centennial
Celebrate the City of Centennial's twentieth anniversary when artists paint the town red — and many other colors — as they create chalk art at four locations around the town, three of which will also offer live music. Locations range from the Streets at SouthGlenn to the IKEA parking lot. Party on, Centennial (but with safe social distancing, please). Find out more at centennialco.gov.
Cruisin’ Tennyson “Back to the Streets”
Saturday, September 12, 2 to 4 p.m.
Historic Elitch Theatre up Tennyson Street
Celebrate the 130th anniversary of the original Elitch Gardens in northwest Denver with a free family funfest complete with car parade and scavenger hunt. The car cruise begins at 46th and Tennyson and travels south to the Historic Elitch Theatre, passing by characters dressed in time frames dating from American Graffiti back to the steampunk/Victorian era; there will be rollerblading bears and mermaids along the way. Find maps for the cruise and scavenger hunt at local businesses or the event starting line; learn more here.
Saturday, September 12, entry times starting at 6 p.m.
Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street
$175 to $350
And now for something completely different: The Denver Zoo has replaced its usual September fundraising festivities with the Flock Party, a colorful, casual and socially responsible event to benefit the zoo’s animal care and continued recovery efforts from the impact of COVID-19. The on-premises event will include live entertainment, festive food and drink, exclusive animal experiences and more — all within the extensive health and safety protocols the zoo has adhered to since it reopened in June. Tickets start at $175 for general admission and $350 for VIP, which includes early-bird entry, access to the VIP Flock Star Lounge and exclusive bars throughout the grounds; buy them here.
Movie & a Show!
Saturday, September 12, 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Berkeley Chapel Drive-In, 4245 West 46th Avenue
$50 for a carload
A pop-up drive-in screening of Spaceballs will follow a confusion of live intergalactic circus fun with the Handsome Little Devils, Big Nazo alien creatures, comedians and other surprise guests for the Berkeley Chapel Summer Series — all on a late summer’s night in the chapel parking lot. Food truck concessions and Little Man ice cream will both be available; admission is $50 for a carload of up to six people. Get your hot tix online while you can.
Virtual Artist Talk with Dwayne Glapion
Saturday, September 12, 7 p.m.
Dwayne Glapion, the artist behind the RedLine solo exhibition Faces in the Crowd - 100 Portraits of a Community, will talk with Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler, founder of The Equity Project, and Brother Jeff about his artistic process, his inspiration and the importance of recognizing community members and leaders during such challenging times. Faces in the Crowd will be on view at RedLine through September 27; selected portraits are presented online, where this conversation will be held. Register here.
Unforgettable: The Songs of Nat King Cole
Sundays, September 13, seating 5:30, show at 6:30 p.m.
BDT Stage, 5501 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
It’s hard to imagine a more scintillating combination: multi-talented jazz singer Leonard Barrett starring in an evening of song with Donna Debreceni at the keys. Barrett has shown he can break your heart playing the lead in Porgy and Bess, show off a slim dapper style in Guys and Dolls, slither across the stage singing Fats Waller’s “The Viper’s Drag,” and, most recently, have audiences roaring with laughter playing Billy Flynn in Phamaly’s Chicago. And with her flying fingers and incandescent joy in music, Debreceni brings life and pleasure to everything she does. Just imagine what these stunning artists will do with Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” and “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.” Dinner is included in the $35 ticket price; you give your food order when reserving one of the 112 places for the show, which will repeat on September 20. To get your spot, call 303-449-6000 or go to bdtstage.com.
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