Denver will overflow with fun this weekend, with a cornucopia of Oktoberfests and harvest festivals. And many of the best events are free! Right after Denver Startup Week concludes its impressive lineup of free programming with a bash on Friday, September 20, Doors Open Denver will fill the rest of the weekend with free tours of many Denver landmarks, as well as more programming. And there's more, lots more; keep reading for five of the best free events this weekend, as well as a bonus for next week.
Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition
Thursday, September 19, through November 1
Colorado State University
The 21st biennial edition of the world-renowned Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition returns to CSU, with a special emphasis on Soviet art. It kicks off with a lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 19, at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art by exhibition judge Pekka Loiri, a designer and professor at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. On September 20, there will be a happy hour at 6 p.m., followed by the unveiling of student artists selected for the exhibition at 7 p.m. in the Curfman Gallery at the Lory Student Center. Find more information on the free programs and show here.
"Virtue of Reality"
Friday, September 20, through Sunday, September 22
Carlson Gymnasium, University of Colorado Boulder
The immersion in immersive arts continues! The University of Colorado Boulder’s first-ever Experience Design MFA cohort will unveil its own immersive experience, “Virtue of Reality,” on Friday, September 20, at Carlson Gymnasium on the CU Boulder campus. The work was inspired by the cohort’s visit last year to Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, whose surprise success really put immersive on the mainstream map. Now the CU group’s take will transport audience members to a dystopian future, encouraging them to explore the space — a futuristic haunted house — and interact directly with the actors. “Virtue of Reality” runs in ten-minute slots between 6 and 9 p.m. through Sunday, September 22, and all performances are free; to sign up, go to thevirtueofreality.eventbrite.com.
Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival
Friday, September 20, through Sunday, September 22
Olde Town Arvada
Some of the best luthiers (custom guitar makers) from around the world will be coming to Arvada for the Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival this weekend. The creators of these special instruments, and the players who love them, will be performing and demonstrating their craft for the first time ever as a group; luthiers include Ken Parker, Tom Ribbecke, Linda Manzer, Benedetto, Ryan Thorell, Tad Brown, Maegen Wells, Cristian Mirabella, Otto D’Ambrosio, Stephen Marchione, Victor Baker, Bryan Galloup, Denny Kopp, Roger Sadowsky, Woody Phifer, Gary Zimnicki, Greg German, Tyler Wells, Danny Koentopp, Wyatt Wilkie, Bill Comins, Tyler Unger and Stefan Sonntag. Performances will be held at venues around Olde Town Arvada starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 20, and again on Saturday evening; they're all free! (You can buy tickets to workshops and exhibitions for $29.) To find the schedule of free shows, go toarchtopfestival.com.
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Unlimited Massages with Visible
Saturday, September 21, 2 to 7 p.m.
Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street
Take advantage of an unfortunate typo — or just a smart marketing campaign — when Visible atones for a billboard that promised unlimited "massages" rather than "messages" at this free event. Masseuses will be on hand, offering massages (with an option of CBD oil); other freebies include towels, eye masks and essential-oil bracelets. Of course, there will be kombucha, as well as charging stations so that your phone (perhaps tied to all-digital company Visible?) can recharge as you do. And there will be doggie massages, too! Find out more here.
West Side Poems
Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22, 10 a.m.
Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive
Doors Open Denver is hosting free open houses all over town this weekend, and some will come with added activities. At the Center for Visual Art, Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre will sit down in the Denver Architecture Foundation's pop-up booth with five west Denver residents for five minutes each to hear their stories and create original poems on the spot; photographer Armando Geneyro will capture the participants’ images as part of the collaborative process. Available on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more about Doors Open Denver here.
And a midweek bonus!
Sonidas de las Americas
Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver Performing Arts Complex
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through song at Sonidas de las Americas, a collaborative concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 25, presented by the Mexican Cultural Center and the Colorado Symphony. The evening includes classical and contemporary compositions that highlight Latin and Central America's formative contributions to the musical canon. Part of the Biennial of the Americas festivities, Sonidas will unite every corner of this widespread continent with irresistible rhythms. The concert, at Boettcher Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, is free; get more information at coloradosymphony.org.
Know of a free event that you think should be included here next weekend? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.