They like to keep it quiet down on Main Street in Littleton, but every October, downtown businesses and the locals gather the Pumpkin Follies and Goat Show, one of the most daft -- and clever -- Halloween parties on the planet. The two-day event begins with a goat-stew dinner and festive crowning of Follies royalty, and continues the next day with a shopping-cart parade and mass Snap-N-Pop drop. There are also belly dancers, jugglers, accordion-playing chickens and general mayhem. The best part? All the Pumpkin Poles -- pumpkin-based art installations with themes ranging from the Peanuts to Harry Potter -- that grace the street for days to come. Except for the public art left behind, a hush falls back over Bleat Street when all is said and done.
Buntport Theater Company
Courtesy Buntport Theater Facebook page
As if tRUNks, Buntport Theater's ongoing live-theater serial for young people, weren't already the best thing to happen to Denver kids since chocolate milk, imagine what a great birthday party could be built around a performance. Reserve in advance with troupe ringleader Jessica Robblee, bring your own cake, and you'll not only get to enjoy a fast-paced and silly episode with goofy superheroes the Germ, the Tongue Twister, the Volt and the Cute, but afterward, you'll meet with the cast for theater games. The only downside? If your birthday falls between June and October, you're out of luck: tRUNks goes on hiatus for the summer.
Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
What could be more brilliant than a free night at the Children's Museum? Catch some quality time with the kids from 4 to 8 p.m. every first Tuesday of the month, when the museum hosts guided play throughout the building and special literacy-building storytimes for children and their busy parents. The sponsor, Target, has hit the bull's-eye.
Larimer Square
For one weekend each June, Larimer Square becomes a giant canvas for chalk artists. Mimicking the street painting of sixteenth-century Renaissance Italy, dozens apply to the Larimer Arts Association for permission to create their masterpiece on some of Denver's highest-rent asphalt. The lucky are selected on a first-come, first-served basis; all materials are provided, and participation is free. It's also free to watch, and a stroll at dusk through this urban festival is one of the year's most perfect nights in Denver. Just don't tell anyone you're a cheap date.
Last year's inaugural SunStock music festival was R.C. Griffin Jr.'s effort to give acoustic rockers a place to showcase their musical stylings, a place that anyone could access free. A place to spread the love. The only rules were leave nothing but footprints, and hug someone at the festival and express your love. The music-makers at Clement Park included Wendy Woo and a host of other locals. What's not to love?
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
It's rare that rain and concerts go well together. But at Red Rocks, the rain makes a beautiful backdrop. From the concrete seats, listeners get a view of clouds gathering over downtown Denver, and bands often keep playing while everyone watches the lightning strike in the background. Getting stuck in the rain at a concert sucks, but there's always a silver lining at Red Rocks.
Each Saturday morning from late November until Christmas, Golden stages a holiday parade that seems to have time-traveled from an earlier era. School groups, bands, equestrian troupes and more are frequent participants, marching a few blocks through the center of a town that somehow gets more charming as December 25 approaches. Each event draws hundreds of townspeople and visitors, and why not? For a few minutes each week, Golden brings the good old days back to life.
Winter Park Resort
At the end of August, Winter Park Resort gives you a perfect fall getaway with the Famous Flamethrower's High Altitude Chili Cookoff Weekend. It's a small, elite contest, and the winner earns the Rocky Mountain region's spot in the World Chili Cookoff. Meat and spice are all that's allowed -- no beans or other fillers. A few brave souls have been known to hit the Alpine Slide or the Leaps and Bounds Bungee after the sampling, but most are content to sit with a cold beer and ponder how soon those naked green slopes will be white again.

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