Ten Things to Do In and Around Denver This Weekend

Building the Colorado Capitol in 1890.
Building the Colorado Capitol in 1890.
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This is going to be a beautiful Colorado weekend, both inside and out. Catch an exhibit or show inside a venue, or head to a park or patio for sunshine, scenery and the first City Park Jazz concert of the season.

Here are ten of the best events in Denver this weekend.

25th Annual Ducky Derby at Festival Park Farmers' Market
Sunday, June 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
300 Second Street, Castle Rock

The Festival Park Farmer’s Market opens on Sunday, and in addition to local produce, food and arts and crafts, there will be live entertainment, and you can even paint your own rubber ducky. Because the main event is the Ducky Derby at 1 p.m., when rubber duckys are released into Plum Creek and "race" a half-mile to the finish line. The first ten ducks to cross the line win cash prizes, and there's a chance to win a new car. Each $5 donation to the Rotary Club of Castle Rock earns a ticket for one ducky. Five duckys run $20. Find out more here.

Building Denver: Where Corners Meet
Through September 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (later Thursdays)
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway

It helps to know where we've come from in order to plan where we're going. The History Colorado Center is adding another facet to its already impressive Building Denver: Visions of the Capital City, with architecturally focused interventions by students and architects from the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture & Planning. Building Denver: Where Corners Meet, which opened June 12, offers three collaborative, investigative projects that help viewers collectively envision a healthier, more inclusive, more equitable city. This exhibit is included with admission to the museum. Timed tickets (free to $14) are available at historycolorado.org/welcome.

Pearls, Neon Lights and Hatred; a Vision of SYC
Sunday, June 13, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Spectra Art Space, 1836 South Broadway

Get your Pride Month rolling at Spectra Art Space, where queer/trans designer Amayas Gonzalez will deliver a one-person performance combining art, activism and creative wild style in the form of reworked leather pieces, handmade patches and big collaged handbags. Amayas is encouraging audience members to dress to the nines in neon brights and layers of pearls, and to bring along some anti-hatred mantras for the show, which is ultimately a quest to find respect and safe spaces in a kinder, gentler, more encompassing world. Admission is free (donations welcome), but you'll need to sign up for a spot here.

Japanese Cultural Day
Sunday, June 13, noon to 5 p.m.
Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway, Boulder

The Museum of Boulder is turning Japanese on June 13, with a full afternoon of rooftop Taiko drummers, origami crane-folding, tasty Japanese snacks, artwork by Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake and culture talks hosted by the Sakura Foundation. All activities are included in regular museum admission; tickets, $10, are available in advance at Eventbrite.

Transforming Our Trauma: Guns to Gardens
Sunday, June 13, 1 to 6 p.m.
2650 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder

Community United Church of Christ in collaboration with RawTools will host a drive-through gun buyback event from 1 to 4 p.m.; the guns will be chopped up while the owner is onsite and then transformed into garden tools during the blacksmithing event at 5. There will be poetry and music, too. The afternoon is the kick-off event for the national Gun Violence Roundtable Conference June 25-27 hosted by the Boulder Mennonite Church. Find out more here.

Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure
Sunday, June 13, 2 p.m. (shows continue through July 3)
Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora

The Aurora Fox is rockin’ and rollin’ its way back into live performances this summer with an upbeat Lewis Carroll reboot featuring live music played by actors who double as musicians. Beyond the Jabberwocky she meets, the protagonist of Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure wends her way through terrain unfamiliar to Carroll fans as she dances her way to a ska beat and Bollywood rhythms. Admission ranges from $15 to $40 online; find additional info here.

City Park Jazz
Sunday, June 13, 6 to 8 p.m.

City Park
Nothing says summer has come to Denver like the kick-off concert for City Park Jazz. On Sunday, Mile High music lovers will be picnicking in the park and dancing to the sweaty, soulful sounds of nine-piece Colorado band The Burroughs. With his background in the church, frontman Johnny Burrough promises to bring the spirit to the show. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to shake out your woes.

History Colorado Calamity and Recovery Tours: The 1965 Flood
Sunday, June 13, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway

History Colorado’s Tours and Treks series has a lot to cover this summer as an accompaniment to the new exhibit Building Denver; a trio of special adventures will show how disaster — starting with the 1965 Platte River flood — spawns both good and bad changes in the future of a city. (The 1980s Oil Crash will be the focus on June 19, and the 1970s Oil Boom on June 26). Denver historian and prolific author Phil Goodstein, who isn’t one to whitewash the facts, will lead trekkers through those civic transitions; special guests with a handle on present disasters — COVID, for one — will talk about more modern crises. RSVP for the tours here; tickets run $5 to $20.

The Majestic Melanated Cabaret
Sunday, June 13, 8 p.m.
Blush & Blu, 1526 East Colfax Avenue

The meaning of Black pride will be working overtime at Black Pride Denver’s Majestic Melanated Cabaret, which will celebrate gay life and the culture of color with a Brown and Black drag lineup on stage, plus dancing and communing. Host JUICCY and special guests Felony Misdemeanor and Mikki Miraj will be there to help spread the love; Blush & Blu is the place to prime your pump for this year’s upcoming Pride Fest. Learn more and purchase tickets, $10, at Brown Paper Tickets.

Plan ahead:

InSights & InPerson:  Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado
Tuesday, June 15, 7 p.m., online
In this History Colorado program, Public Historian Sam Bock and Curator of Archives Shaun Boyd will talk with Robert Goldberg, emeritus professor from the University of Utah and the author of Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. Originally published in 1981, this still-seminal book used Denver Klan membership books from History Colorado’s collection to examine the conditions that pushed a large number of Coloradans into the waiting arms of the KKK during the 1920s. Goldberg will speak about the ledger books (which are now available online) and what they can teach us about the history of white supremacy in Colorado. Get tickets ($8-$10) here.

Know of a great event in Denver? Send information to editorial@westword.com.

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