This summer in coming in hot, very hot, but there are plenty of cool things to do around the city this weekend that won't burn through your wallet. The Denver County Fair returns to the National Western Complex, bringing with it both traditional fair and fairly weird activities; and free music abounds, with a couple of special concerts at Levitt Pavilion. Here are ten ways to keep your cool and your cash this weekend:
Denver County Fair Friday, July 19, noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, July 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. National Western Complex Grounds admission $10, kids 12 and under $5
A decade ago, Denver County was the only Colorado county without a fair. That changed when the Denver County Fair was resurrected, bringing with it both traditional activities (pie-making contests, bouncy houses, petting farms) and fairly weird events (unicorn rides, a freak show, a drag queen show). You can just pay general admission and wander the grounds, enjoying the show (and the people-watching), or pay extra for the beer fest, goat yoga and other add-ons. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the Denver County Fair website.
Fitness on the Plaza: Alchemy 365
Saturday, July 20, 8 to 9 a.m Union Station Free
Denver Union Station hosts a summer workout series that takes place every third Saturday of the month through August. July's fitness class will be provided by Alchemy 365, with a sweat sesh that combines yoga, strength and conditioning. After the forty-minute class, PigTrain Coffee and the Terminal Bar will be offering special discounts for the badasses who participated in the workout. The class is free, but you'll need to bring your own mat, water bottle and motivation.
Lavender Festival Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms $7 general admission, $5 members, under 14 free
More than 2,000 lavender plants will be the fragrant stars at Chatfield Farms during the Lavender Festival, a fragrant day of demonstrations, live music, kids' activities, tours and crafts; food and beverage vendors will also be on hand. Enjoy a lavender beer while taking in the aromatic scene.
Aurora Arts Festival Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, noon to 8 p.m. 9898 East Colfax Avenue Free
Artists, makers, local businesses and community organizations will be front and center in the Aurora Cultural Arts District at this weekend's Aurora Arts Festival. There will be art displays and demonstrations, pop-up performances and rides through the festivities, and you'll have the chance to talk with Congressman Jason Crow’s staff. Of course, food trucks and vendors will be around to satisfy any cravings. For a complete schedule, visit the Aurora Arts Festival website.
2nd Annual Reggae on the Grass Saturday, July 20, noon to 10 p.m. Levitt Pavillion Free
Last year's Reggae on the Grass brought more than 6,000 people out to party, and you can expect more of the same at this year's family-friendly event. In addition to local reggae musicians, you'll hear international all-stars. Admission is free, but you can also buy special VIP passes. For those and more information, go to the Reggae on the Grass website.
LoDOlympics Saturday, July 20, 1 to 7 p.m. Starting at Hayter's & Co. $10
CU Young Alumni are offering another class act: the fourth annual LoDOlympics, where teams compete in drinking games for medals and prizes. The bar crawl will begin at Hayer's & Co., where you can sign in and start the competition; the action then moves to Pony Up, Mile High Spirits, Ginn Mill and Blake Street Tavern. You don't need to have gone to CU to join in the fun; you can enter here as a free agent for $10, or sign up in teams of four. Your ticket will get you drink specials at the participating bars, food at Blake Street Tavern, and entry into raffles for prize packages; there will also be prizes for the best costumes.
Stay Wild Summer Market Saturday, July 20, 2 to 8 p.m. Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse Free Coloradans love the outdoors, and we also love getting new gear to use in the outdoors. The Stay Wild Summer Market will feature many Colorado outdoor adventure brands under one roof; vendors will be selling camping, hiking, biking, rafting, climbing and other items. As part of the market, Camp DIY, sponsored by Crafted Art Emporium, will be hosting a crafternoon during which you can sign up to make different outdoorsy themed crafts; fees range from $10 to $20. For more vendor announcements and featured giveaways, visit the Stay Wild Summer Market Facebook event page.
Fitness, Wellness and Beauty Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cherry Creek Shopping Center Free Mindbody wants you to pamper yourself at this self-care haven offering complimentary makeovers, mini spa treatments and fitness classes ranging from barre to HIIT workouts. Along the way, you'll have a chance to win one of sixty different prize packages, including a $1,000 shopping spree at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and a weekend stay at the Jacquard Hotel. All of the fitness classes are free, but you'll need to reserve your spot using the mindbody app; visit the Fitness, Wellness, Beauty event page for more information.
A Night of Friendship & Appreciation With Jack Hadley Sunday, July 21, 4 to 8 p.m. Dazzle Free
This show is about the fans: The Jack Hadley Band is dedicating a night to thanking the people who have come out to support the act, many of whom have gone from fan to friend. Colorado-based band Cup-a-Jo will also play a set, bringing its funk and blues to the stage. For more information, visit the event page on the Dazzle Website.
Biennial of the Americas: Aterciopelados with Pink Hawks Sunday, July 21, 5 to 9 p.m. Levitt Pavillion Free Latin American folk-rock band Aterciopelados returns to the stage after an eight-year year hiatus, performing some of the work that's earned the group multiple Latin Grammy Awards. Pink Hawks, the Chicano hip-hop orchestra, will also be part of this free concert. While admission is free, you can also buy VIP tickets for $30 that get you early admission and special seating. To learn more, visit the concert's Facebook Event Page. Know of an event that belongs here? Send information to [email protected]
KEEP WESTWORD FREE...
Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Zoe Yabrove is a Denver native with an undergraduate degree in creative writing and a master’s in special education. She is a teacher in Denver Public Schools and contributes to Westword to get her writing fix.