During the summer months, festival-goers flock to the streets of Denver just about every weekend to celebrate just about everything. Live music, local artists, culinary marvels, and the vibrant culture of the people in our city are all showcased in these wonderfully one-of-a-kind festivals in Denver. Mark your calendars, Denverites…it’s almost festie season!
1. Denver Chalk Art Festival, June 4-5, 2016
Wowzers! I cannot believe that this art festival is totally FREE! Over the course of two days, almost 200 artists of all skill levels create spectacular, meticulously produced pieces of art over four blocks of Larimer Square. The end result is a bright, brilliant street gallery of unique works by truly talented artists, with absolutely NO price tag! Live music, yummy food, cold beverages, and interactive art makes this event the perfect outing with family or friends.
2. Denver Comic Con, June 17-19, 2016
Fans from around the city, the state, and beyond descend upon the Colorado Convention Center for three days every summer to celebrate popular TV shows, movies, sci fi/fantasy, Japanese animation, cosplay, toys, and comic books. This out-of-this-world event is entertainment for the whole family and will satisfy the inner kid (and superhero) in everyone!
3. Denver Arts Festival, June 18-19, 2016
This year will be the 18th Annual Denver Arts Festival (formerly know as the Downtown Denver Arts Festival). It has a new name and a new location (in Stapleton), but its mission remains the same. It showcases fine arts and crafts produced by more than 100 of our state's most gifted artists, and a small group of the nation's best as well. Long live art! (Note: Don't forget to check out the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 2-4, 2016.)
4. The Underground Music Showcase, July 28-31, 2016
Denver's answer to Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival is our very own Underground Music Showcase (UMC). For four days music fans can wander the streets, stages, and clubs of South Broadway, where about 400 local and national bands perform in roughly 20 different venues around SoBo. Grab your friends and your freedom and check out this high-energy indie music fest!
5. Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, July 30-31, 2016
One of Colorado's best and most unsung festivals takes place every year, right here in Denver. While the Dragon Boat Festival has its roots in Chinese traditions dating back thousands of years, today's Colorado Dragon Boat Festival celebrates our state's Asian Pacific American cultures and allows us to experience them through live performances, arts and crafts, costumes, food, a marketplace, and of course, a lively dragon boat race in which 50 teams of boaters sprint across Sloan's Lake. Definitely a festival like no other and fun for the whole fam!
6. Riot Fest, September 2-4, 2016
You can get a pretty good feel for the vibe of this end-of-summer live music fest by reading some of the banned items listed on their website: Donald Trump, selfie sticks, Justin Bieber, and crying are just a few. Get the picture? Check their site for the full lineup, contraband list, and detailed info!
7. A Taste of Colorado, September 2-5, 2016
If you're looking for a slightly different cultural experience to end your summer, enjoy this FREE, four-day festival at Civic Center Park that celebrates the food and people of Colorado. There are 50 booths representing our state's favorite food establishments, as well as hundreds of local artisans and seven stages showcasing local musicians. (But be warned that there will also be about 500,000 other food and music lovers in attendance.)
Have you been to these extraordinary festivals in Denver? What are some of your other favorites? Share your secrets!