1. Cowboy Art
Coors Brewing Company and the National Western Stock Show have been working together for 14 years to create one of the most significant annual Western art shows in the country. For the duration of the Stock Show, multimedia work from more than 50 artists known for capturing the essence of the West will be on display. The featured artist this year is oil painter Gordon Brown, a master of dramatic tonalist landscapes. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for Colorado and Wyoming college students.
Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale: Jan. 6–21, National Western Expo Hall
2. Native Colorado
The Colorado Indian Market is the most highly regarded festival of Native American, Southwestern, Western, and wildlife art and entertainment in the United States, drawing more than 400 national artists and a crowd of nearly 30,000. Headlining the stage are top Native American groups Brulé, Arvel Bird & One Nation, and Blues Nation. Between acts and exhibits, snag an autograph from actor Steve Reevis (Dances With Wolves), stop by the Hawkquest Wild Bird Show, and sample some American Indian fare (think fry bread and blue corn enchiladas).
Indian Market and Southwest Showcase: Jan. 19–21, Denver Merchandise Mart
3. Straight From Norway
Ullr, the infamous Norse god of snow, sets up camp in Breck again this year while revelers pay homage with beer, bonfires, beer, Nordic events, beer, and the legendary parade down Main Street. The weeklong celebration highlights skiing, ’shoeing, a skating party, and co-ed Ullympics, but make sure to cozy up with some cocoa and relax at Ullr Comedy Night as well (loud laughter required for a big snow blessing this season).
Ullr Fest: Jan. 5–12, Breckenridge
4. A Grand Idea
Grand Lake’s weekend snowshoe bonanza is part competition, part education, and a whole lotta woodsy fresh air with the winter-lovin’ masses. Whether you’re in it for the 7K snowshoe race, the winter-sports history and technique seminars, or the backcountry tours at Rocky Mountain National Park, rest assured there’ll be live music and chili aplenty back at the Hospitality Haus. Don’t miss Friday’s opening old-fashioned square dance at the Haus as well. Festival fees go toward restoring the Grand Lake area from excessive pine beetle damage.
Grand Lake Snowshoe Festival: Jan. 12–15, Grand Lake
5. Scandal Sells
By now it’s a familiar story: Politicians + interns = affairs. Clearly, there’s something intoxicating about sitting in the nation’s power seats. That’s why Curious Theatre’s Aphrodisiac is such an intriguing show for the rest of us. The wittily scripted play by Rob Handel takes a provocative look inside the high-profile lives of a congressman’s family embroiled in an intern-seduction-disappearance scandal. The plot follows the disgraced politician’s children as they role-play all the essential characters in their father’s questionable Capitol Hill goings-on.
Aphrodisiac: Jan. 13–Feb. 24, Curious Theatre Company