As readers make their plans for the approaching weekend, too many of their fun-finding efforts will be stymied by steep admission fees. However, cash-strapped locals need not despair: Westword has assembled a handy guide to weekend entertainment that's easy on the wallet. Aside from the usual gallery openings, concerts and comedy shows, the days ahead hold delightfully odd surprises like the chance to compete in an adult spelling bee or meet a pony. Keep reading for the ten best cheap and free events in Denver this weekend.
ATC DEN Summer Exhibition: We Make Our Own Wings
Thursday, June 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
We Make Our Own Wings, the summer exhibition at ATC DEN gallery, is an artful alliance of sculpture, painting and mixed media showcasing three Denver-based creators. The installation unites the delicate fiber paintings of Emma Balder, the multi-layered paper sculptures of Bonnie Ferrill Roman and the multimedia creations of Yoshitomo Saito, exploring how themes of transcendence occur and reoccur within their work. Admission is free; visit ATC DEN's Eventbrite page to register and find more information.
Adult Spelling Bee
Thursday, June 7, 7-9 p.m.
Brush up on your phonics logophiles, for BookBar's Adult Spelling Bee is seeking a champion who can outlast and out-spell the competition. In addition to winning bragging rights and an array of fabulous prizes, contestants can also rest easy knowing hat a portion of the evening's proceeds go toward Colorado Gives' Community Educational Outreach. Visit the Colorado Gives donation page to enter the $10 contestant fee — spots are filling quickly, so make haste — or make an unrelated donation, and find more details on BookBar's events calendar.
Power Move: Comedy in Action
Thursday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.
A consistently well-curated standup showcase with a philanthropic mission statement, Power Move: Comedy in Action enlists some of Denver's funniest people in an effort to raise funds for a myriad of worthy causes. Co-created by local funsters Nathan Lund and Aaron Urist, Power Move offers an evening of laughs, plus free brews from Ratio Beerworks and Stem Ciders in exchange for a suggested $5 donation toward the benefit of a different charity each month, an honorable tradition that continues with June's organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Join Lund and Urist along with guest comedians Jacob Rupp, Geoff Tice, Christie Buchele and Connor Cawley.
Summer Opening Celebration
Friday, June 8, 5 to 11:30 p.m.
$5 to $15
Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art welcomes readers to celebrate the unveiling of summer's newest installations with an artsy soirée. With new works from Derrick Adams, Lisa Oppenheim, Kristen Hatgi Sink and Patrice Renee Washington, MCA's Summer Opening Celebration offers guests a chance to catch an early glance at exciting new art while sipping Ratio Beerworks brews and noshing free samples from Bamboo Sushi. The festivities also include live DJ sets from MILE HIGH SOUL CLUB, Cooper Saver and DJ Polyphoni on the museum's swanky rooftop. Admission costs $5 to $15 via Eventbrite; visit MCA Denver's events calendar to learn more.
Golden Triangle Public Art Tour
Saturday, June 9, 1 to 2 p.m.
Denver's Golden Triangle district is a bustling transportation hub and home to some of the city's most popular attractions, which include the area's eye-catching public art. Gain deeper insight into the delightful works of art dotting the neighborhood all summer long on the Golden Triangle Public Art Tour. Public Art docents Esther Varney and Djamila Ricciardi — who rotate tour-hosting duties — lead an amble through the icons of the district, including giant animals and abstract forms. The tours continue through July 25; visit Denver Public Art's Eventbrite page to register.
KGNU Lion's Lair Quarterly Showcase 40th Anniversary Edition
Saturday, June 9, 8 p.m. to midnight
$5 to $8
A clash of two local music institutions, KGNU and the Lion's Lair have a pair of anniversaries to celebrate on Saturday night. The occasion marks one year of the Quarterly Showcases, but also pays tribute to KGNU's forty-year legacy of "making waves" through the Denver music scene. The showcase includes local acts Pythian Whispers, Reverb and the Verse, Council of Word and Get Along on the Lair stage and KGNU DJ Joel Davis (of Terrasonic) on the ones and twos. In addition to a rollicking concert, the showcase doubles as a fundraiser for KGNU, which will split the proceeds with the artists. Admission is $5 with an Illegal Pete's receipt and $8 at the door. Visit the Lion's Lair's Facebook events page for more details.
Open House & Family Fun Day
Sunday, June 10, noon to 4 p.m.
Allegiance Ranch and Equine Rescue
The Allegiance Ranch and Equine Rescue is dedicated to providing shelter, treatment and happiness for the animals in its care, but Sunday, June 10, marks the first time the grounds will be open to the public. Learn about the organization's animal-loving vision while petting goats and donkeys, playing games and riding horses at the Allegiance Open House and Family Fun Day, a delightful introduction to the community. While admission is free, the event is intended to be the ranch's kickoff fundraiser for 2018, so it's a fine opportunity to help out while horsing around. Visit the Allegiance Ranch and Equine Rescue's Eventbrite page to register and learn more.
FattE-Bikes Denver Release Party
Sunday, June 10, 3 to 6 p.m.
A bold new entry in the race to create new modes of transportation, FattE-Bikes are electronically motorized cycles with durable fat tires well suited to the city's varying terrains. The bikes will be available in Denver soon, and FattE-Bikes is celebrating the debut with a grand party including live music, bike demos, light appetizers, beer from Black Shirt Brewing Company and libations from Suerte Tequila. Guests will also have the chance to take the new bikes for a spin themselves. Visit FattE-Bikes' Eventbrite page to register and find out more.
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Thee Phantom & the Illharmonic Orchestra + Claygo
Sunday, June 10, 4 to 8 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion Denver
An award-winning fusion of orchestra and hip-hop, Thee Phantom & the Illharmonic Orchestra are poised to rock the stage at Denver's Levitt Pavilion during an evening of genre-blending bangers. Thee Phantom's lyrical and compositional skills have taken the rapper and his ensemble to prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall (making him the third-ever hip-hop artist to enjoy the honor of headlining) and the Kennedy Center (where the group so impressed President Barack Obama that it scored an invitation to the White House). Also including an opening performance from Denver-based rapper Claygo, the evening continues Levitt's tradition of fine free concerts. Find more information on Eventbrite.
Fun in the Sun-Day at #VYBE
Sunday, June 10, 5 to 9 p.m.
’Tis the season for sunny soirées, and a fine one awaits at #VYBE's Fun in the Sun-Day Outside Dance Party. With a booty-shaking bounty of DJ sets from local spinsters Gruv One, Sassfactory, Steezify, Details and more, the party is a great chance to go outside and get moving. The summertime fun also includes lawn games like cornhole and a beer pong tournament. Admission is $5; visit #VYBE's Facebook events page for more details.
Do you have an event you'd like to see included in this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.