Bees, barbecue, burgers, beer, bar crawls: Whatever your tastes, there's something to keep you busy this weekend. Start out easy with Slow Food Nations (though choosing from the huge slate of events is anything but simple), then ramp it up with festivals that appeal to every appetite. And once you've had your fill this weekend, keep reading for more food and drink fun in the days to come.
Friday, July 19
Slow Food Nations appeals to everyone (except, perhaps, unrepentant fast-food aficionados). The international food fest kicks off its third year in town on Friday, July 19, and will run over 100 chef demos, lectures, workshops, parties and dinners — plus the enormous Taste Marketplace, with over 100 vendors hawking their wares and handing out samples — through Sunday, July 21. Workshops we can't miss? The panels on African-American Foodways; Fonio, the Ancient Miracle Grain; Food on the 2020 Ballot; and Mental Health in Hospitality. About half the events taking place around town (but mainly around Larimer Square at Larimer and Fourteenth streets) are free, but the rest require tickets, which start at $20. Visit the Slow Food Nations website to see the whole weekend's schedule and make sure you nab tickets for your can't-miss events.
After you've soaked up all the knowledge Slow Food Nations has to offer about local food and farming, you need sustenance — and if you don't want to shell out $50 or more for one of the festival's fancy parties, go hyper-local with burger night at Marczyk Fine Foods on Friday, July 19. Every summer Friday from 5 to 7:30 p.m., both locations of the homegrown grocery store (770 East Seventeenth Avenue and 5100 East Colfax Avenue) grill up housemade (and house ground!) Niman Ranch burgers for just $8.99, but this week is special as all net proceeds will be donated to the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation Scholarship Fund, which supports young people who want to continue traditional farming and ranching practices. It's an easy and tasty way to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to eating local.
Saturday, July 20
If you think the Colorado beer scene was born when Boulder Beer started pouring in 1979, there's still time to straighten yourself out at Beer Here! Brewing the New West exhibit, which runs through August 9 at History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. The show explores Colorado's brewing history, addressing how and where mining towns (and therefore saloons) sprung up during the Gold Rush, why Colorado went dry four years before Prohibition was enacted nationally, and how Coors has influenced the state's economy and culture. Artifacts including a Prohibition-era bottle breaker (travesty!), historical brewing equipment and the country's first aluminum beer cans are also on display. But if you're more of a kinesthetic learner, don't miss the Historic Styles Brewfest on Saturday, July 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. More than twenty local breweries — both old- and new-school — will be on hand to "educate" you by re-creating historic recipes and long-gone craft-beer favorites. General admission tickets, $35, are still available on the museum's website, where you'll also find more information about the exhibit.
If you've been dying to don those kitty ears and tail you procured last Halloween but haven't been able to find a socially acceptable occasion to do so, look no further. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, four Capitol Hill bars (Bang Up to the Elephant, the 1Up, X Bar and Charlie's Denver) are participating in the Cat Crawl, a benefit for Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue. Human drinkers are encouraged to dress up as cats to slink from drinking establishment to drinking establishment, taking advantage of free shots and two-for-one specials and coughing up hairballs along the way. Just $20 (at Eventbrite) gets you in the crawl, but don't get sloppy — cats are tidy creatures.
Have some sauce with the Boss on Saturday, July 20, at Citizen's Park (West 22nd Avenue and Benton Street) in Edgewater. A Bruce Springsteen tribute band will be one of many acts taking the stage from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Glory Days Tribute Festival, put on by Blues & BBQ for Better Housing, a nonprofit dedicated to cookouts, music and affordable housing for all. For $10, either at the gate or online at bluesnbbq.com, you'll see nine bands covering the best of Springsteen, Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Stevie Ray Vaughan and more. Food and beverages are extra, unless you spring for $100 VIP passes, but all proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.
Sunday, July 21
So far this summer we've celebrated the Fourth of July and Bastille Day, but the observance of the overthrow of tyrannical despots isn't over yet: Pull up your socks, loosen your belt and get ready to eat and drink in honor of Colombia's independence on Sunday, July 21. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pulaski Park (East Bayaud Avenue and Steele Street) is the site of the fifth Colombian Independence Cultural Festival. There will be music and dancing, artisans and food — including bites from La Rumba Choripan, a fledgling catering company from the same folks who bring you late-night Latin dancing in the Golden Triangle. Visit the festival's Facebook page for more details on the free event.
Dog people who have their hackles up because we've written about feline fun in the last few weeks need to settle down... Good boy! Odyssey Beerwerks, 5535 West 56th Avenue in Arvada, is bringing Bark Photos to its taproom on Sunday, July 21, for pop-up photo shoots of your pup. From 2 to 6 p.m., a professional photographer will be on hand to capture your furry friend's "give me beer" face — that means no more blurry dog snaps or devil eyes on your photo stream. Photo packages start at $100 for a retouched image of your furbaby (don't let the other pets see it; they'll be crippled by unrealistic expectations thanks to the Photoshopped dog bod), and you can drop in or guarantee your pet's time in the spotlight by booking a slot on Bark's website.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Friday, July 26
If you're into Texas-style barbecue (and who isn't these days?), you won't want to miss this upcoming event at barbecue supply purveyor Proud Souls BBQ & Provisions. On Friday, July 26, the shop is hosting Texas Monthly barbecue editor (now there's an enviable job description) Daniel Vaughan in a "Que & A" with Denver's own barbecue expert, food historian and James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller. Miller will grill Vaughan on Texas barbecue and his books, including The Prophets of Smoked Meat. A VIP reception kicks off at 5:30 p.m., with the doors opening for general admission at 6 p.m. The experts at Proud Souls will provide smoky bites, and there will also be book signings. Pick up tickets, starting at $25, on the Proud Souls website.
Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28
If you're vegan, you won't be limited to salad this weekend — at least not if you attend VegFest Colorado, which is putting on its annual two-day affair at Broomfield's 1STBANK Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane, on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28. Nearly 150 food, home and clothing vendors will be there, as well as lectures by authors, medical doctors, chefs and even an appearance by Patrik Baboumian, who held the title of "Strongest Man in Germany" in 2011, the same year he went vegan (so, not the guy you want to be around when you wear your "Meat is murder — tasty, tasty murder" T-shirt). The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and tickets are available on the VegFest website for $10 (they're $12 at the door).
Sunday, August 11
If you missed June's Heritage Fire event in Snowmass, you've got a mulligan, because on Sunday, August 11, the organizer, Cochon555, is hosting an encore presentation at Stem Ciders' Acreage, 1380 Horizon Drive in Lafayette. Whether it was the timing of the event or the your inability to get mountain lodging during Aspen Food & Wine that derailed your desire to feast on whole beasts roasted over open flame, you've got a second chance to enjoy expansive views and delicious food, wine and craft beer from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets ($150 to $200) are on sale now on Cochon's website, where the participating chefs should be posted soon. What we're hoping to see (in addition to the smoke that definitely signals fire)? Some of Colorado's skillful female chefs rounding out the all-male lineup that was our only complaint about the June event.
Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, from 4 to 7 p.m., celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by thirty of the city's top cantinas (Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Los Chingones, Kachina Cantina), taquerias (El Aguila Azteca, Antojitos La Poblanita, El Coco Pirata) and food trucks (El Moreno, Taco Block, Pico Arepa), and even the odd grocery store and sandwich shop (Carniceria Aaliyah, Torta Grill). Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.
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Sunday, August 25
Over 200 restaurants opened in Denver last year — and it seems all of them started serving brunch within a few months of opening their doors. For brunchophiles trying to work their way through all the restaurants in town serving the meal, that's a tall order. But on Sunday, August 25, you can make a significant dent in your to-brunch list at BrunchFest 2019. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is the site of the boozy shenanigans, with over twenty restaurants serving brunch dishes, plus unlimited Bloodys and mimosas, from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets run $59 to $109, and you can pick them up, as well as see participating restaurants, on the event website.
Tuesday, August 27, and Wednesday, August 28
Den Corner knows how to throw a party, and its annual rooftop party and fundraiser only gets better with age. What started out in 2016 with a handful of chefs flown in from Japan has morphed into even more festivities, with twenty Japanese chefs hopping the pond to raise funds for Colorado's We Don't Waste and southern Japan's Kumamoto Castle Earthquake Relief Fund. This year, local chefs Carrie Baird, Ian Wortham, Caroline Glover, Dana Rodriguez, Elise Wiggins, Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly, Alon Shaya and more will join the shindig on August 27 and 28; beer, wine, cocktails and sake will be flowing, while ramen, hand rolls and Japanese street food will be plentiful. Tickets for the party, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. both nights on the roof of the Den Corner parking garage at East Florida Avenue and Pearl Street, are $90 (includes three drink tickets), $110 (includes five drink tickets), or $135 (VIP early admission at 5 p.m., plus five drink tickets), and can be purchased on Sushi Den's website, along with a complete list of participating chefs and menu details. As with everything manned by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the party generally sells out, so don't delay in guaranteeing your entry.
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