April's showers have moved into May flowers, and while many worthy activities remain online, the calendar is starting to bloom with in-person events, albeit events with specific safety guidelines. The Arvada Center is reopening its Main Stage for Small Mouth Sounds, postponed from last year, while TheBigWonderful is opening its season with a special Derby Weekend music festival. There are other Derby-related activities around town, too...and Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day are waiting in the wings.
And...they're off! We've already shared our list of the best free activities; here are the ten best ticketed things to do in and around Denver this weekend:
Moms and Mimosas
Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Outlets at Castle Rock
Take Mom to the Outlets at Castle Rock (or just drop her off there), for a full day of shopping and relaxation. A $15 Moms and Mimosas ticket will get her a $10 gift card, access to a private lounge, a goodie bag, exclusive shopping coupons, giveaway entries, a mimosa or other cocktail (she can buy more to benefit the day's special nonprofit organization), and more. Register for a check-in time slot (the deal continues next weekend) here.
TheBigWonderful Derby Weekend Festival
Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2, noon to 8 p.m.
Belleview Station, 6785 East Chenango
TheBigWonderful returns with an opening weekend filled with music, craft cocktails and beer, food trucks and a festival shopping market. Saturday is devoted to Colorado bluegrass, with Sugar Moon, Meadow Mountain, Pick & Howl and Chain Station. Sunday is for local cover and jam bands, with Dogs Off Leash, Wake Up & Live: A Bob Marley Tribute, Puma Borracha and DeadPhish Orchestra. Both days, Something Vinyl Club will be spinning records in the festival vendor village. The Beer Garden Bar, with ten-plus Colorado craft beers as well as Derby-themed cocktails, will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. General admission tickets are $35 Saturday, $30 Sunday; Open Bar sessions are available from noon to 4 p.m. or 4 to 8 p.m. ($65 Saturday, $60 Sunday), and include admission to the festival. Get tickets and more information at thebigwonderful.com.
Saturday, May 1, noon
Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street
Derby Day returns to Denver Union Station on May 1, with a free bash on the Terminal Bar patio complete with live music by the Royal Street Ramblers and drink specials including mint juleps and frosé. Live, big-screen viewings of the Derby broadcast will take place on the patio and in the Great Hall starting at noon. For a more elevated experience, the Cooper Lounge is hosting VIP experiences both indoors and outdoors. Get the details here.
The Show Must Go On
Saturday, May 1, 7 p.m., online
Work Options for Women would normally be hosting a big fundraiser right now, but its traditional sampling event is impossible during a pandemic. Instead, this virtual event will feature special performances from real Broadway performers and cooking demos from four of Denver's best chefs: Caroline Glover, Jen Jasinski, Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel. Enjoy music from Broadway shows such as Beauty & the Beast, Rent and Wicked in the comfort of your own home — and learn how to make some delicious food at the same time. Dinner and a show, right in your living room! Tickets are available here, for a suggested donation of $10 per viewer.
Art Auction for the Stiles African American Heritage Center
Sunday, May 2, 4 to 10 p.m.
Gerard's Pool Hall, 1305 26th Street
All the work in this auction was created post-March 2020 by Denver BIPOC, female and street artists — all of whom were affected by the pandemic, yet still created meaningful pieces for and around our community. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Stiles African American Heritage Center, whose mission is to teach African-American history and to encourage young people to go forward with dignity and pride and educate others.
Colorado Photographic Arts Center's 2021 Hal Gould Award & Virtual Benefit Auction
Through Tuesday, May 4, 6:30 p.m., online
CPAC, 1070 Bannock Street
Photographers Keliy Anderson-Staley, Justyna Badach, Susan Blake, Erin Dvorak, Odette England, Carol Erb, Fran Forman, Brian Fouhy, Jane Fulton Alt, Sarah Hadley, David Johnson, Max Kellenberger, Peter Kowalchuk, Sandro D. Miller, Christos J. Palios, Michael Quinn, Chuck Rasco, Josephine Sacabo, Lynn Saville, Wendi Schneider, Natascha Seideneck, Dawn Surratt, Paulette Tavormina, Julia Vandenover and Lilli Waters all have work in this auction, whose proceeds will benefit CPAC’s programming throughout the year, including photography exhibitions, education, and community outreach initiatives like the Veterans Workshop Series and Month of Photography Denver Festival. See the work now at CPAC or online, where the auction will also be held at 6:30 p.m. May 4; get all the details here.
Now through Saturday, May 9, online
Theater and documentary collide in CO2020, the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's latest production, which zeroes in on how Coloradans responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement for Black Lives in 2020. This was the first time that BETC created a virtual documentary theater effort; the project, which is now revived by popular demand, was almost a year in the making. More than fifty people were interviewed for the 75 hours of video that were condensed into this amazing piece. “These stories subvert our assumptions about people, and about what a narrative of 2020 looks like,” says John Moore, one of six co-creators. Read our story about the production, then get pay-what-you-can tickets, $10 and up, here.
Queens Girl in the World
Through May 9, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora
The Aurora Fox’s doors are open to theater-goers for a ’60s-era coming-of-age story by Caleen Sinnette Jennings about a middle-class Black teenager who leaves her school in Queens to attend a progressive private school in Greenwich Village with a predominantly Jewish student body. In the backdrop? The burgeoning civil rights movement and a lot of sweet Motown tunes. Actress and comedian Janae Burris stars and April Axé Charmaine directs; find details and tickets, $15 to $40 here.
Small Mouth Sounds
Through May 30
Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
The Arvada Center is reopening for live performances with this production of Small Mouth Sounds, postponed from 2020. The poignant, off-Broadway hit follows six participants at a silent yoga retreat and their attempts to connect and solve the problems of their lives. Tickets are $45 to $50; get them here.
The Great Gatsby: A Radio Play
Through May 15, online
The Arvada Center’s Virtual Theatre series turns the online page, perhaps for the last time. This last page, The Great Gatsby: A Radio Play, is a classically literary one that borrows from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age novel, turning it into an aural experience. Buy a ticket (they start at $15) and gather ’round the radio console (a laptop or tablet would suffice, however) to listen to the pre-recorded play any time between April 15 and May 15. Find info and instructions on how to buy your ticket here.
Know of a great event around town? We'll be updating this list through the weekend; send information to email@example.com. See our list of free events here.
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