These could be the dog days of summer, but there are plenty of reasons to get up and get out on the town. Plan on spending lots of time on East Colfax Avenue during the second annual Independents Day, and end the weekend at a very special City Park Jazz honoring El Chapultepec and Freddy Rodriguez Sr.
Keep reading for ten of the best free events in Denver this week:
Through Sunday, July 25
East Colfax Avenue, from the Capitol to Detroit Street
The Colfax Ave Business Improvement District is hosting its second Independents Day, a free, weekend-long celebration of the independent businesses on Colfax. More than thirty are offering specials, and a scavenger hunt will take people on a tour of Colfax’s public art (including a fresh round of power-box art). New this year are some very Colfax activations featuring local artists like Karl Christian Krumpholz. Get the full schedule for pop-ups and special events here.
30 Years Later: How the ADA Enabled Denver's Disability Community to 'Boldly Go Where Everyone Else Has Gone Before'
Through Monday, July 26, 11:45 p.m., online
A new documentary tells the story of the Gang of 19 protesters who used their wheelchairs to block RTD buses on July 5, 1978, and got the disability-rights movement rolling. Made by the Denver Office of Storytelling, 30 Years Later: How the ADA Enabled Denver’s Disability Community to ‘Boldly Go Where Everyone Else Has Gone Before' captures that huge moment in disability-rights advocacy, and details how it pushed public transport agencies across the country to make their buses accessible. The screening will be followed by a pre-recorded panel discussion with some of the people in the movie active in the movement today; the package will be available for free on Denver Film's Virtual Cinema platform, available at denverfilm.org, or by downloading the Denver Film app for Roku TV or Apple TV.
Curious New Voices: Summer Playwriting Intensive Festival
Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25, 7 p.m., online
Curious Theatre's Summer Playwriting Intensive resulted in plays from young artists, all workshopped with instruction from Curious Education Director Dee Covington and company member Josh Hartwell, with pro tips from guest artists Tony Meneses and Gamal Abdel Chasten. Now the works by Maria Arreola, Conrad Branch, Oliver Burkholder, Carter Henry Graham, Madeline Miller and Bella Mitchell will be presented by Curious actors over two nights; there are three plays each session. Find links for the free shows here.
Art Stroll in Silverthorne
Sunday, July 25, noon to 3 p.m.
Blue River Trail, Silverthorne
Head for the hills to catch this free, monthly celebration of visual and auditory arts on the Blue River Trail, between the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center and the underpass by Chipotle Mexican Grill. Two dozen musical acts will be playing along the stretch, including Forkplay (on the Main Stage); singer-songwriter Kevin Danzig; and ShaNaynay, featuring rhythm-and-blues duo Ghanay Gloude and Shane Henderson. Also along the way, local artists will be staffing booths and selling their wares. Find out more here.
Stories From the Field
Sunday, July 25, 2 to 5 p.m.
The Family Jones, 3245 Osage Street
Food drive meets farmers for a little fun when the Family Jones, Edible Beats, Little Man Ice Cream and Id Est Hospitality gather to celebrate the Urban Harvest Food Drive, which runs through August 1. On Sunday, the Family Jones tasting room will host Stories From the Field, a free public event with cocktails and small bites that will be served along with tales from actual farms by actual farmers in attendance. The goal is to connect people to food while collecting non-perishable goods for families in need. Find out more here.
City Park Jazz: Celebrating Denver Jazz Heritage With the El Chapultepec All Stars
Sunday, July 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
This very special City Park Jazz show will celebrate two of the most venerable jazz institutions in Denver history: Freddy Rodriguez Sr., who passed away from COVID in March 2020, and his longtime stage, El Chapultepec, which shuttered at the end of the year. Tony Black will lead a jam session with some legendary players who've graced El Chapultepec’s stage over the past several decades — including Freddy Rodriguez Jr., playing in tribute to his father’s legacy. Bring a picnic and prepare to make more memories at this free celebration; get details here.
Sunset Cinema: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
Tuesday, July 27, 7 p.m. (doors at 6)
Sculpture Park, Denver Performing Arts Complex
Before the screening of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar at dusk, Denver’s top drag queen performers will entertain in a show hosted by Denver PRIDE emcee DeMarcio. Food trucks will be on hand, or you can bring a picnic, as well as chairs and blankets. Find out more here.
Know of a great event in town? We'll be updating this list through the week; send information to email@example.com.
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