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The Nine Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Sip on a paloma as pink as the exhibit at Museo de las Americas this Friday.EXPAND
Sip on a paloma as pink as the exhibit at Museo de las Americas this Friday.
Justin Favela
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It's a wild weekend, with a festival for everything you could possibly imagine. Bikes, beer and music? Check. Tacos and cocktails? Times two. Blues and bites? You betcha. You won't want to miss Tacolandia, our celebration of Denver street tacos on Sunday, August 19, but there's no excuse not to hit more of these nine great food and drink events. Beyond this weekend, find more food fun in the upcoming months.

Celebrate Mexican food and drink at the penultimate day of the Pachucos y Sirenas exhibit.EXPAND
Celebrate Mexican food and drink at the penultimate day of the Pachucos y Sirenas exhibit.
Mauricio Rocha

Friday, August 17
The second Velorama festival has marketed itself more as a music festival after last year's inaugural event left us scratching our heads and wondering what, exactly, would be going on during the event, and there's no doubt that the band lineup (including the Kills, Modest Mouse, Matt and Kim and Wildermiss) will draw big crowds. But there will still be plenty of food, drink and bicycles, as well; our favorite event combines two of the three in a beer-and-bike relay. Throughout the weekend, teams of four will hand off bikes and race to chug a beer before their teammate can take off. Entry in the race is $15 in addition to festival entry (daily ticket prices start at $10), and you don't have to have a team formed in order to participate. The festival will take over Blake Street between 27th and 33rd streets from Friday, August 17, through Sunday, August 19; get your tickets and complete details at veloramafestival.com.

Film festivals are tricky propositions for all but the hardest-core of movie-goers; it's impossible to see everything, and indecisive paralysis is a common side effect. Luckily for you, the Flatirons Food Film Festival is screening a recap of s(h)orts as part of the Boulder International Fringe Festival. On Friday, August 17 (4 p.m.) and Saturday, August 25 (7:30 p.m.), a series of ten short films about food producers in Colorado will be screened at Pine Street Church of Boulder, 1237 Pine Street. The films were shown at last fall's festival, but never together. In the short films, you'll meet an erstwhile vegetarian who now runs a cattle ranch in Del Norte, a Durango forager digging up wild plants for her CSA, and a baker who founded the Cortez farmers' market 45 years ago. Tickets are just $10 now at the film festival's website.

There's more to Mexican mixed drinks than margaritas, and on Friday, August 17, Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, is praising the paloma at its Tacos y Palomas festival. From 5 to 10 p.m., food trucks will be on hand selling the world's most celebrated street food, and $8 will get you admission to the museum and a sweet-tart mix of grapefruit soda, tequila and lime, which you can sip while taking in the second-to-last day of the Pachucos y Sirenas exhibition (1930s and ’40s Mexican-American teen culture meets slang meets street fashion). Find out more about the event and show at the Museo's website.

The Way Back's bar is a much better classroom than the ones you remember from your school days.
The Way Back's bar is a much better classroom than the ones you remember from your school days.
Laura Shunk

Saturday, August 18
Yes, Aurora's a suburb of Denver, but it's not just Bill Amundson drawings as far as the eye can see; while the city does have its enclaves of McMansions (architectural style: Tuscan Blah) and big-box stores, it's also a wildly diverse community where 20 percent of the population was born outside the U.S. That means a delicious variety of immigrant cuisine within Aurora's borders, much of which will be on offer Saturday, August 18, at the city's fifth Global Fest. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the lawn outside the Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 East Alameda Parkway, will host dance and music performances, fashion shows, a beer garden and food trucks galore. Venezuelan arepas, Panamanian empanadas, Hawaiian shave ice, Nigerian and Kenyan cuisine, Southeast Asian bites and good old-fashioned Southern barbecue will all be there for the eating at this free fest. Get the full vendor lineup and find out more at auroragov.org.

The Way Back is looking to the past for this year's back-to-school season: It's bringing back a syllabus last offered at the restaurant's previous incarnation, before it moved digs to 3963 Tennyson Street. The Cocktail Curriculum — albeit a pared-down version spanning three classes instead of the original six or more — is returning on Saturday, August 18. From 2:30 to 4 p.m., students will cram three cocktails, appetizers and mixology knowledge into their mouths and brains for just $40 (plus 20 percent off the tab if they stick around after class). This class focuses on how to use seasonal fruits and veggies in your boozy creations; future installments are scheduled for September 29 (back to basics with classic three-ingredient drinks) and November 17 (punches that will please any party-goer). Send an email to reservations@thewaybackdenver.com to reserve your spot for one (or all) of the classes; find out more at the eatery's Facebook page.

Cool! The Dog Days of Summer have arrived in Capitol Hill, and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, Sweet Cooie's, at 3506 East 12th Avenue, and the Merchants of 12th and Madison will host a party for pooches and their owners, complete with a fashion show, stupid pet tricks, canine nail painting, a photo booth, a doggie pool and snacks, including pup cups. Admission is free; for more information, go to sweetcooies.com.

Sunday, August 19
You're on a mission from God: to eat as much food as you can, listen to both kinds of music (country and Western) and then watch the best sibling romp in the history of cinema. On Sunday, August 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the parking lot of Aspen Grove, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton, will be filled with food vendors selling morsels (no wish sandwiches, though) while the Blues Brothers Bootleg Roadshow plays in the background; afterward, Alamo Drafthouse will screen the 1980 film classic at 4:30 p.m.; tickets, $10, are on sale at drafthouse.com. (That diner scene will be especially poignant now that Aretha is gone.) Admission to the Aspen Grove Food Fest is free (as is parking — hallelujah!), and food tickets are $10 for twelve. Get the details at bestfoodfests.com.

Westword's Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, with more than forty of Denver's favorite Mexican restaurants and taco joints serving their takes on street tacos (or as they're known to non-hipsters: tacos). Enjoy unlimited samples and lots of live entertainment from 4 to 7 p.m. (VIP ticket-holders get in an hour earlier, at 3 p.m.); for complete information, go to westwordtacolandia.com. This isn't a competition, it's a celebration — so come hungry and get ready for a wide variety of great Mexican eats, from the smallest mom-and-pop shops to the city's most popular cantinas.

Does your canine have charisma? If you missed the Dog Days of Summer at 12th and Madison on Saturday, head to Little Man Ice Cream, 2620 16th Street, for a second round of the free pooch party, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 9. The lineup includes stupid pet tricks, a fashion show, doggie pools and snacks. Find out more at littlemanicecream.com.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Chef and Brew 2017
Chef and Brew 2017
Danielle Lirette

Wednesday, August 29
We're well past the days when beer wasn't considered fit for pairing with high-end food (that role was, ridiculously, reserved for wine), but it's still common to see more thought put into wine lists than tap handles at restaurants around town. That won't be the case on Wednesday, August 29, though, when Chef and Brew will pair bites and beers from various kitchens and brewing operations around town. Exdo Event Center, 3500 Walnut Street, hosts the fun from 7 to 10 p.m., as guests and judges alike vote on the best dish, best beer and best pairing. Find the entire lineup and tickets ($49 to $69) at Chef and Brew's website.

Enjoy the view — and the beer — from MCA Denver's rooftop patio.
Enjoy the view — and the beer — from MCA Denver's rooftop patio.
Jacqueline Collins

Saturday, September 22
MCA Denver has a habit of hosting excellent food and drink events — and its Sown Together Beer Tasting on Saturday, September 22, is no exception. The Museum, 1485 Delgany Street, is tapping into the zeitgeist yet again by bringing in breweries whose stated goal is to use local ingredients, suppliers and producers. From noon to 4 p.m., Colorado outfits Goldspot, Horse & Dragon, Our Mutual Friend and TRVE will be joined on the rooftop patio by Indiana's Upland Brewing Co., Illinois's Scratch Brewing Co. and Texas's transcendent Jester King Brewery, which puts out the Lone Star State's second-best export. (The first? Barbecue brisket, of course.) Get your tickets, $35, at eventbrite.com before the event sells out.

If someone holds a food festival and there aren't any sliders, did it really happen?
If someone holds a food festival and there aren't any sliders, did it really happen?
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, September 30
It's never too early to start planning for Feast, Westword's annual celebration of Denver's restaurant scene. This year's party returns to the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, on Sunday, September 30. There will be unlimited bites from over forty local eateries, live entertainment, unlimited drink samples and unlimited merriment from noon to 3 p.m., especially if you opt for VIP tickets, which get you in an hour early and include an open VIP bar. Tickets start at $30 and are on sale now at westwordfeast.com.

Sunday, October 7, through Thursday, October 11
The ninth annual Harvest Week, hosted by EatDenver and the GrowHaus, will run Sunday, October 7, through Thursday, October 11. Each night, six chefs will come together to create a one-of-a-kind pop-up dinner at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street; last year's dinners each focused on meat and produce from a particular region in the state. While the 2018 lineup hasn't yet been announced, be prepared to pounce on tickets once they go on sale in September (previous years have sold out in just two weeks.) In addition to great food and good company, all the festivities of the week will benefit EatDenver and the GrowHaus. Find out more at eatdenver.com or thegrowhaus.org.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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