Arts and Culture

Dozens of Things to Do on Memorial Day

Tiny Town made another comeback over Memorial Day weekend.
Nigel Dick
Tiny Town made another comeback over Memorial Day weekend.
Some people like to hang at home over a holiday weekend (though that's less likely after a year of social distancing), while others prefer a road trip or camping. Still others are dying to go out on the town, dining out and seeing the bright lights during a staycation.

You have one more day of fun, filled with everything from a pancake breakfast to an afternoon at the drag races to a night under the stars.

Memorial Day is here. Let’s go!
"Confluent People," by Emanuel Martinez. - EMANUELMARTINEZ.COM
"Confluent People," by Emanuel Martinez.

Black Love Mural Project
Through August 1
Civic Center Park, 101 West 14th Avenue Parkway; 5 Points Plaza, 2736 Welton Street; and various locations throughout Denver

The Black Love Mural Project came together hastily in the uprising following George Floyd’s death by police violence, but it came together beautifully, with mural art created by Black artists in Civic Center Park. We’re happy to report that the fest is bigger, better and back, with a run of painting and special events leading up to Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival and remaining on view through August 1. Watch the Black Love Mural Fest Instagram for developing event information.

Film on the Rocks Drive-In Movies: Alien
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Lower South Parking Lot, Red Rocks Park Road
Through May 31 (and again through the summer)
Tickets: $59.50 per carload (snack pack included in the fee)

Memorial Day weekend is perfect for Film on the Rocks to kick off its summer of drive-in movies.

Inspire Arts Week
40 West Arts District, West Colfax Avenue between Lamar Street and Wadsworth Boulevard
Through June 6

Come see what’s happening in the 40 West Creative District during Lakewood’s Inspire Arts Week, a perfect excuse to visit galleries, watch artist demonstrations and explore the public art and murals along the 40 West ArtLine.

Memorial Day Weekend RIB FEST!
Six Capital Brewing & BBQ, 16701 East Iliff Avenue, Aurora
Through May 31, beginning at noon daily

Six Capital Brewing is bringing on the slabs — pounds and pounds of secret-sauce ribs — all weekend long. Active military partyers get an extra perk: a free pint with your rack of ribs.

Rosie Returns Ticket Packages
Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 West 104th Avenue, Westminster
Admission: Free to $13 or $32 to $48 for a two or four pack of Rosie Returns tickets; RSVP for timed-entry slot
The Butterfly Pavilion celebrates a return to business as usual in the butterfly gardens and other wild environments with the return of one of its most beloved ambassadors: Rosie the Chilean rose-hair tarantula, a hairy eight-legged arachnid who loves to be held by visitors. Anyone can hold Rosie if they choose, but a special Rosie Returns ticket option also includes a plush tarantula toy.

Mountainfilm in Telluride: May 28 through May 31
Through June 6
Online Passes: $150 to $250
Individual Programs, Live: $20

Telluride’s annual Memorial Day Mountainfilm documentary fest, which covers topics both scientific and recreational — from global warming and social justice to rock climbing and telling jokes — is back, with live and virtual options.

CKS Paddlefest
Buena Vista
Through May 31

The town of Buena Vista invites adventure-seekers and spectators to participate and/or watch from the sidelines on the Arkansas River at a scaled-back CKS Paddlefest that still includes river-running competitions, kayak races, public-friendly run and disc golf events, and a gear swap and sale on Main Street. It all kicks off with a town party and music by RapidGrass on Friday. Find more info and event registration here.

Grand Old West Days Weekend
Moffat County Fairgrounds, 640 East Victory Way, Craig
Through May 31

A little bit country and a lot Western best describes Grand Old West Days Weekend, a town festival up north in Craig, Colorado, which comes with a carnival, youth rodeo events, and live music by Chancey Williams and others, cowboy action shooting, a parade and tractor pull, vendor booths and even a little community theater. Find ticket information for concerts here.

Million Dollar Quartet

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Tuesdays through Sundays through July 2, 8 p.m. nightly
Tickets start at $49 for covered seating, $25 on the lawn

Put on your blue suede shoes: The Arvada Center brings open-air theater back to the outdoor amphitheater with Million Dollar Quartet, a fable imagining a jam session to remember with seminal rock-and-roll figures Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
Play all Memorial Day weekend long. - BRANDON MARSHALL
Play all Memorial Day weekend long.
Brandon Marshall

Meet in the Streets
Through May 31, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
16th Street Mall
The Downtown Denver Partnership and the City and County of Denver are hosting Meet in the Street, a summer festival taking over the 16th Street Mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 29-31 (and again July 3-5, August 7-8 and September 4-6). There will be live music, extended restaurant patios, games, activities and more. Find out more here.

Building Denver: Visions of the Capital City
History Colorado, 1200 Broadway
Through August 31
Admission: Free to $14

Inject some learning into your Memorial Day staycation at History Colorado, where Building Denver: Visions of the Capital City opens this week, showcasing the history of Denver’s city planning and architectural legacies. The exhibit also comes with a slate of satellite events over the summer, from podcasts to walking tours.

click to enlarge Lio Bumbakini's 2020 mural for Street Wise. - STREET WISE
Lio Bumbakini's 2020 mural for Street Wise.
Street Wise

Bandimere Speedway 2021 Season
Bandimere Speedway, 3051 South Rooney Road, Morrison
Pepsi High School Drags: Monday, May 31
Gates open daily at 8 a.m.
Tickets: Adults, $18; free for children ages twelve and under

Drag races return to Bandimere with a roar this year, promising plenty of weekend action on the track over the Memorial Day break, including the popular Pepsi High School Drags on Monday.

Estes Park Art Market
Estes Park Event Center Pavilion, 1125 Rooftop Way, Estes Park
Monday, May 31, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free admission

Estes Park might be everyone’s favorite Colorado mountain tourist town, serving as the gateway to the sights of Rocky Mountain National Park and Trail Ridge Road. The art market is just another attraction in a burg well attuned to hosting hordes of people passing through, but it’s also a fabulous once-a-year display of fine art and functional handmades where you can shop for Christmas in May. Make room in your closets.
click to enlarge Apply to adopt a puppy during Puppy Palooza at the Medved Autoplex. - MOMS & MUTTS
Apply to adopt a puppy during Puppy Palooza at the Medved Autoplex.
Moms & Mutts
Taste of Creede
Main Street, Creede
Through May 31
It’s hard not to love Creede, a modern relic of Colorado’s mining history and a favorite fishing destination along the Rio Grande for sportsmen and Texans — not to mention the home of the Creede Repertory Theatre, a summer tradition in Mineral County since 1966 (the 2021 season opens on June 26). Get an early start on summer — and get to know the charms of Creede — over a weekend of art, eating, drinking, ranch-roping contests and more.

Glenwood Art Festival
Downtown Glenwood Springs, Seventh Street and Bethel Plaza
Monday, May 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If your weekend includes a road trip, you might just end up in Glenwood Springs, prepped for a soak in the hot springs and other tourist attractions. The Glenwood Art Festival is one more reason to go, with an array of original arts and crafts in all mediums and price points created by local and national artists, as well as kids’ activities and music for all.

Tiny Town 2021 Season
Tiny Town, 6249 South Turkey Creek Road, Morrison
Open daily through September 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets: Free to $5 for gate admission; $3 for train rides

Tiny Town has been reborn time after time over a century or so, rising back up after floods, fires, highway re-routing, lack of interest and human tragedy. In the last year, when the charming miniature town and railroad nearly went under during the pandemic, the public saved the day again through crowdfunding, and will open on schedule over Memorial Day weekend. Bring a picnic.

Pets for Vets Pancake Breakfast and Car Show
Westland Town Center, 10705 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Monday, May 31, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free (plus a $5 donation for the pancake breakfast)

It’s only right that Memorial Day proper should open with a pancake breakfast. This one benefits the Pets for Vets program, pairing pets in need with military veterans looking for a best friend. The event comes with a 500-vehicle hot-rod car show, Al Jeffree’s Mobile Oldies & Rock & Roll DJ, fire truck rides, contests and vendor booths to fill out the rest of the day.

Memorial Day Carnival and Puppy Palooza
Medved Autoplex, 11001 West Interstate 70 Frontage Road N, Wheat Ridge
Monday, May 31: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Puppy Palooza: Saturday, May 29, 1 to 5 p.m.

Big sales are part of Memorial Day weekend, too, but when they’re this much fun, it hardly matters if a holiday deal is not what you came for. Medved is hosting a parking-lot carnival with attractions for all ages over three days this weekend (Sunday excluded), and on Saturday, the Moms & Mutts rescue will be on the grounds for a gated adoption event (sign up for an appointment here).

Ben Harper
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison
Monday, May 31, 8 to 11 p.m.
Tickets: $59.50 to $79.50

Singer-songwriter, activist and expert slide- and lap-steel guitarist Ben Harper will bring his eclectic musical mixture to Red Rocks, providing the perfect ending to your weekend. It’s not official according to the stars, but let’s just say that summer has begun.

Memorial Day Bluegrass Fest
Buffalo Rose Event Center, 1119 Washington Avenue, Golden
Monday, May 31, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20 at Hold My Ticket

End your holiday with a brew and some newfangled bluegrass by Arkansauce, a band out of Ozark country known for its laid-back grooves on traditional instruments, and Durango-based pickers the Stillhouse Junkies.

Evergreen Music Festival
Buchanan Park, 32003 Ellington Trail, Evergreen
Morning Show: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Afternoon Show: 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tickets: $5 to $25 for each show

Evergreen’s inaugural music fest, fashioned after the town’s Fourth of July festival, now in its 31st year, comes with double the fun: two different and separately ticketed programs, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. The morning set includes a car show and music by the Denver Brass, Montbello Drumline and Spinphony; in the afternoon, catch Amy Winehouse tribute band Frannie and the Jets, a repeat by the Montbello Drumline and show-stopping Ghanian drummer Paa Kow.

Do you know of any other great Memorial Day weekend events? Send information to [email protected]