Area Anniversaries Worth Attending

Colorado is always bursting with new attractions, organizations, and events — and we’re fortunate that our citizens support them with attendance and enthusiasm. The miners, merchants and other settlers who streamed into Colorado quickly established centers of arts and culture, building an opera house in 1878 and forming a symphony in 1892. Many other institutions and festivals have followed. Here are five celebrating anniversaries this year.


A woman performs during the Five Points Jazz Festival

Five Points Jazz Festival. Photo courtesy of Denver Arts & Venues.

The street car stop at the five-way junction of Washington Street, 27th Street, 26th Avenue, and Welton Street was nicknamed “Five Points.” Home to the only jazz scene between St. Louis and California, the largely Black neighborhood became known as the “Harlem of the West” and played host to greats such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole.

That rich musical and cultural heritage is celebrated at the Five Points Jazz Festival, which will celebrate its 21st anniversary on Saturday, June 8. The free, family-friendly all-day event kicks off with a parade down Welton Street at noon, and promises a culturally diverse mosaic of music (including Latin jazz, bop, swing, funk and blues). Twenty bands will perform on four outdoor stages, and guests will enjoy an excellent selection of food and drink while browsing crafts and other shopping from local vendors.

“For more than 20 years, Denver Arts & Venues has been bringing jazz to this historic neighborhood with the annual Five Points Jazz Festival,” said Gretchen Hollrah, Denver Arts & Venues Executive Director. “Each year, we bring great family-friendly entertainment to the Five Points, using revenues from DAV-owned venues and sponsorships to present this free event as part of our Good Times for Good mission.”

In other Five Points news, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance will host the 30th anniversary of its International Summer Dance Institute this year. The event draws renown teachers from across the country to lead classes for younger dancers (ages 3-13) as well as pre-professional and professional two-week courses.


The Northglenn Youth Theatre is celebrating its 30th anniversary with seven productions throughout the year. Since 1994, the company has honed the talents of youth ages 8 through 18 through classes, workshops and performance opportunities. This summer, the “Junior” company (ages 8-12) presents Dreamworks SHREK The Musical Jr. from June 28-30 followed by A Midsummer Night’s Dream August 2-4 by the 13-18 year old performers. Both productions take place in the Parsons Theatre at 1 E. Memorial Parkway in Northglenn. Visit for tickets and the full season lineup.


Circus Foundry at 2023 Denver Fringe. Photo by Kalen Jesse

Unjuried, uncensored, and unconventional, Denver’s Fringe Festival will be celebrating its fifth year June 6 through 9, with more than 60 performances at venues throughout RiNo, Five Points and Aurora. The first Fringe occurred in 1947, when eight theater troupes who were not invited to the Edinburgh International Festival showed up anyway, arranged their own performance space and put on shows.

Supporting bold, progressive arts and diverse voices, Denver’s Fridge is open to both veteran professionals as well as newcomers. Attendees will find puppetry, circus acts, dance, theater, comedy, magic, storytelling and more. This year’s headliner is Coloradan Naomi Grossman (best known as “Pepper” from American Horror Story), who’ll be performing her one-woman autobiographical show “American Whore Story.” KidsFringe offers two days of free shows for families, a visual art show, and street performances.

New this year, the festival is adding FringeART, its first visual art component and show at Ironton Distillery and the Fringe Free-For-All, featuring pop-up street shows.


Wheeler Opera House

When it opened on April 23, 1889, Aspen’s opulent Wheeler Opera House was one of the grandest structures in the West. Two fires in 1912 caused it to be boarded up until 1940, when some restoration allowed it to reopen. Structural issues in the 1970s necessitated more work, and in 1979, the City Council approved a 20-year real estate transfer tax to fund the $4.5 million renovation.

Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House marked the 40th anniversary of its 1984 grand re-opening, celebrating the modern-day Wheeler on Memorial Day Weekend, with concerts by Peach Street Revival and folk legend Judy Collins.

The is also celebrating its 75th anniversary season. History tours commemorating both anniversaries are held every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:30am at the opera house.


Denver Pride 2023

On June 28, 1970, thousands of LGBT+ people marched in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising on its one-year anniversary and demonstrate for equal rights. Denver’s Pride celebrations began four years later, and the celebration will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23.

The weekend kicks off with the Pride 5K on Saturday. Sunday will see more than 100,000 spectators line 14 blocks to watch the colorful parade of floats, performers and marchers proceed along Colfax Avenue to Civic Center Park, where 250+ exhibitors, 30 food vendors, and captivating live performances will entertain visitors over the two-day festivities.


Phamaly Theatre Company, Annie. Photo by Michael Ensminger Photography

Celebrating its 35th season, Denver’s Phamaly Theatre Company produces disability-affirmative professional theater. The performances are exclusively cast using artists with physical, intellectual, cognitive and emotional disabilities. Their mission is “to be a creative home for theatre artists with disabilities, to model a disability-affirmative theatrical process, and to upend conventional narratives by transforming individuals, audiences, and the world.”

“A theatre, not only surviving but thriving, for 35 years is virtually unheard of,” said Ben Raanan, Artistic Director. “Throughout its years, Phamaly has developed its own brand of art that pushes the boundaries of theatre and disability in America. Next season we will be taking risks but doing so with the ingenuity and love you have come to know from your premier disability company.”

August 8 through the 25t Phamaly returns to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Kilstrom Theatre with A Chorus Line!

And just around the corner from the Kilstrom, Dazzle will celebrate its one-year anniversary in its new space in the Arts Complex this August.