What: Festivus Film Festival: Billing itself as an anti-Sundance and “film fest for the rest of us,” this inaugural event showcases three days of independently made features, shorts, documentaries, animations, and more at two of Denver’s historic film houses. Nary a big studio masquerading as a small budget shop will be in sight.
Why: At this fest, indie films are really indie films made by struggling directors that would sell plasma just to finance their dreams.
Bonus: The Curtis hotel is offering a $99 per night rate that’s so affordable, it’s easy to justify escaping for a weekend away from home and the oppressive holiday decorations that still need to be put away. Call 800-525-6651 and request the film festival pass rate.
Details: FriSun, times vary. The Oriental Theatre, 4335 W. 44th Ave., and The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St. $2035. Call 720-221-3586 or visit www.festivusfilmfestival.com.
What: National Winter Trails Day: For the 13th time, more than 100 parks and Nordic centers across the country are opening their trails for one day of free family fun as an incentive for people to get out and get active. Seven locations in Colorado are participating, including Echo Lake, Bear Creek Nature Center, and Frisco Nordic Center.
Why: Downhill skiing gets all the glory in this state, but during “Learn-A-Snow Sport” month, give snowshoeing and cross-country skiing a little love.
Bonus: Brush up on local mining history and nature facts while plodding through the snow on an afternoon snowshoe Eco Tour offered at the Keystone Nordic Center. Sat 1 p.m. Call 970-496-4275 (registration required).
Details: Sat times and locations vary. Free. Visit www.wintertrails.org.
What: Osteria Marco’s Night of Food and Wine: Four Italian winemakers present their creations during a family-style meal at chef Frank Bonanno’s new restaurant. Sip a crisp, white Malvasia or a sweet-smelling but dry Amarone and other wines during antipasti, pizze, carni di rosticceria, and formaggi courses.
Why: How often do you get to sit down with four wine geniuses and pick their brains about all-things-grape?
Bonus: It’s frustrating when you discover an oh-so-perfect full-bodied red at a tasting only to never find it again in a wine store. The good news? Each of the featured wines is available at SIP Fine Wine and Spirits. With delivery on orders over $30 or curbside pick-up, stocking your wine rack is simpler than finding parking downtown. 1920 Market St. Call 303-298-9463 or visit www.sipwinedenver.com.
Details: Wed Jan. 16, 6:30 p.m. Osteria Marco, 1453 Larimer St. $60 (plus tax and tip). Call 303-534-5855 or visit www.osteriamarco.com.
What: Quicker Quaker 5K Walk/Run: This morning wake-up and Bolder Boulder qualifier travels through downtown Lafayette to the Waneka Reservoir and back. Make sure to bring your pooch along on this dog-friendly trek sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company.
Why: You ate one too many chocolate bonbons over the holidays and just two weeks into the New Year you’re already slacking on your earnestly made resolution to keep fit.
Bonus: The entry fee includes a healthy post-race meal at the Oatmeal Festival’s annual breakfast. That means access to the more than 200 gallons of oatmeal andmost importantlythe 140 delectable treats on what the organizers call “the world’s largest topping bar.”
Details: Race start: Sat 9:30 a.m. Corner of E. Geneseo St. and N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette. $1737. Call 303-926-4352 or visit www.discoverlafayette.com.
All Things Western: On Saturday, the National Western Stock Show returns for its 102nd appearance in the Mile-High City, bringing 16 days of spurs, cowboy hats, lassoing, and more. If you want to avoid the first-day crowds, there are plenty of other Western-themed events around town. For shoppers: Design your own pair of cowboy boots at the Liberty Boots Trunk Show (www.crybabyranch.com). For kids: The Denver Firefighters Museum gathers little cowboys and cowgirls around the campfire to learn about the dangers of wildfire (www.denverfirefightersmuseum.org). For line-dancers: The Grizzly Rose Saloon and Dance Emporium will be packed with out-of-towners when Pat Green hits the stage (www.grizzlyrose.com).