It's a busy and vibrant weekend as we celebrate both our chosen and biological families at PrideFest and Father's Day celebrations around town. No matter who you're hanging with, there are plenty of things to do; see our picks for Father's Day and Pride weekend events for details. If none of those strike your fancy, we've got seven other great food and drink events to fill your days from Friday, June 14, through Sunday, June 16. Keep reading to find out more, and to see future culinary events worth adding to the calendar.
Friday, June 14
It's a basic tenet of barbecue: Hurry up and wait. Whether you're babysitting the meat while it soaks up all those smoky flavors or sitting in a car on I-70 on your way to Frisco, you've got to pay your dues for good ’cue. But the wait is worth it at the Colorado BBQ Challenge, our favorite barbecue festival of the summer, where piles of pork, brisket, ribs, chicken and sausage await starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 14. Admission to the fest taking over Frisco's Main Street is free, though you'll need to purchase Hogbacks (the festival's currency) to pay for your plate. While you wait for the wood smoke to clear, you can enjoy chef demos, live music and pig races throughout the day. Can't make it on Friday? No worries: The competition heats up through Saturday, which also includes the Bacon Burner 6K (piglets aren't the only ones trying to outrun their impending mortality this weekend), a firefighter cook-off and a show by Flobots. Visit the Town of Frisco's website for a complete schedule and all the info you'll need to go "Wee, wee, wee" all the way home.
We don't normally associate Pride month with noodles, but pasta is what Il Posto, 2601 Larimer Street, does best, so the Italian eatery is outfitting its dishes in rainbow gear from Friday, June 14, through Friday, June 21. Il Posto is offering rainbow tagliatelle pasta — colored with beets, blueberries, spirulina, leafy greens, turmeric, harissa and paprika — topped with goat-milk cream sauce and prosciutto for $20 on its dinner menu. The pasta doesn't retain the flavors of its vibrantly colored ingredients, just the hues, and 10 percent of the dish's proceeds will go to One Colorado, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ people. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. daily; visit Il Posto's website to reserve your table.
Saturday, June 15
Anyone who attended Colorado State University in the mid-1990s (yes, we're dating ourselves) remembers some crazy nights at the Rio Grande, where the bar lines were deep and the three-margarita limit was inconsistently enforced, leading to some disastrous — but legendary — evenings. And on Saturday, June 15, the Rio Grande is celebrating its 33rd year of serving mythically strong margs to college students by rolling back prices on its signature drink to just $3.33 from 12:33 to 3:33 p.m. Another classic college beverage, Rolling Rock, will be on special for just $1.33. All Rio Grande locations will be participating, so don't miss out on the narrow window to drink — and spend money — like a broke college student.
Despite the evolved price tag (tickets run a hefty $150 to $200), Heritage Fire Snowmass is the summer food fest that most appeals to our primal core. There aren't many aromas as evocative as wood smoke and roasting meat; it's the earliest — some would say purest — form of cooking, and makes our mouths water like nothing else. Come Saturday, June 15, over fifty chefs and butchers (including Lon Symensma, Hosea Rosenberg, Steve Redzikowski and Adam Vero) will channel their inner cavemen (although the list includes no cavewomen so far) and converge on Snowmass Base Village from 5 to 7:30 p.m., along with 2,500 pounds of whole heritage-breed animals, open fires and free-flowing wine, spirits and craft beer. Add the pristine mountain setting, and you've got an event that satisfies your soul and stomach on a fundamental level. Snag your tickets (and see what your favorite chef will be cooking) at Cochon555's website.
The Highlands Street Fair is back for its 37th year this Saturday, June 15, at the corner of West 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard. The block party has grown over the years, so that now more than 180 vendors will block West 32nd all the way from Perry to Irving streets. Bands, food trucks, family activities and more will keep neighbors fed and entertained from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. See the Highlands Street Fair website for a complete list of bands, booze, businesses and activities.
Colorado-inspired cuisine, from locally grown or foraged produce to High Plains bison and lamb, are commanding attention at restaurants around town, and what better to pair it all with than craft beer, the unofficial state beverage. Thistle & Mint, a catering and personal chef company, is providing the food for a pop-up pairing dinner at Goldspot Brewing Company, at 4970 Lowell Boulevard, on Saturday, June 15, and the theme is decidedly Colorado. See the full menu and purchase tickets for $100 each on eventbrite.com, then come to the brewery at 6:30 p.m. for a six-course dinner (which can be made vegetarian) prepared by chef Jared Kendall, each with its own beer.
Beloved Denver chef Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class, Super Mega Bien) is taking a field trip to the museum — and you should join her. She's lighting up the kitchen at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, for its Dinner Society pop-up on Saturday, June 15. Guests will arrive at 6 p.m. to welcome drinks and a museum tour (which includes the brand-new exhibit Clark Richert in Hyperspace) before proceeding to the rooftop patio, where Rodriguez will serve four courses of her playful, Latin-influenced and always immaculately executed food. Beer pairings from Ratio Beerworks are included in the ticket price ($125); snatch up your seat at Eventbrite before dinner is sold out, and get ready for the tastiest night at the museum yet.
Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, is following up its Made in Reykjavik retail and restaurant series with Made in Mexico City, an exploration of the food, drinks, art and shopping scene of the Distrito Federal. Saturday, June 15, marks the launch party for the endeavor, with alebrije and garment-making workshops at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively; a lecture on the history of pulque at 2 p.m.; and paveadas officially starting at 7 p.m. with free beers for the first 75 guests, bites from seafood restaurant Campobaja (which will be taking up residence through August 14), mezcal and tequila tastings, cocktails from Licoría Limantour (which currently resides at number eleven on the World's 50 Best Bars), music and art demos. Get the details and purchase tickets for the workshops on Zeppelin Station's Facebook page.
Sunday, June 16
Sunday, June 16, is already packed with events, as it's both Father's Day and Pride weekend, when the queer community takes to the streets in the most flamboyant, fabulous and fun parade to ever sashay down Colfax Avenue. But if you don't celebrate either, or you're looking for something less raucous, consider Westminster Parks & Recreation's edible foraging stroll around Standley Lake Park at 100th Avenue and Simms Street. For $8, you'll be guided around the lake shore from 9 to 11 a.m., gathering edible and medicinal plants. It's a great way to get started on foraging without the risk of picking the wrong mushrooms and dying a painful death. Get details and tickets on the park's Facebook page.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Thursday, June 20
Get ready for the Big Eat, the biggest celebration of local independent eateries in town. Over sixty restaurants, breweries and distilleries will gather in the outdoor galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Champa streets, to put out unlimited food and drink pairings that reflect Denver's true food scene, with nary a campy Rocky Mountain oyster or national chain in sight. Instead, there will be mainstays that have been upping Denver's game for decades (Vesta, Duo, TAG) as well as newcomers bringing inspiration from across the globe (Liberati, Cirque Kitchen). While national chains are finally starting to look to our city as a viable market, we've had everything we need here all along — and the Big Eat proves it. Tickets are $65; get them and find out more at eatdenver.com.
Thursday, June 27
Nobody loves tacos more than we do — but can you eat $135 worth of them? If you can't, it's not for lack of opportunity at this year's Top Taco. The annual competition takes place on Thursday, June 27, at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, when more than fifty restaurants around town will go head-to-head to see who can serve the best iteration of the classic Mexican street food. There will be tacos for all tastes: street-style (Cilantro & Perejil, Adelitas, Las Delicias), crowd-pleasers (Uno Mas, Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Los Chingones) and WTF (Tupelo Honey, Syrup). Not only will tacos fill your tummy, but tequila and margs are also on tap. Still don't think you can stuff over a hundred bucks worth of food in your estómago? Not to worry: GA tickets start at $75 on the event website.
Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21
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 nearly forty 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. About half the events taking place around town (but mainly around Larimer Square at Larimer and 14th 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.
Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by the city's top cantinas, taquerias and food trucks, including Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Antojitos La Poblanita, Carniceria Aaliyah, El Gallo Blanco, Issai's Catering, Kachina Cantina, La Fiesta, Los Chingones, Lucha Cantina, Mariscos El Rey 2, Los Mesones, Neveria Jedany's, Taco Block, Torta Grill, Yareth's, El Coco Pirata and more. Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.
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