1. Jazz (Helping) Hands
Denver’s second annual JazzFest brings together a talented fleet of artists for an energy-filled weekend of swinging beats and funky vibes to benefit Denver’s needy children. Musicians who have shared the stage with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, such as Kevin Mahogany, Joe Locke, Thomas Marriot, and Mike Longo, put their talents to good use to support the Griffith Centers, a nonprofit that runs several statewide treatment centers for abused and neglected kids.
JazzFest Denver: Feb. 23–24, Sherman Events Center
2. How Does Your Garden Grow?
Get the inside scoop on the latest ideas and trends in landscaping, gardening, and home improvement at the Colorado Home and Garden Show. With more than 65,000 attendees each year, it’s the Rocky Mountain region’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious forum for learning to make your home a haven. Find everything from custom stained glass to greenhouse installation tips in more than 40,000 square feet of flowering gardens and 1,300 booths. Come summer, your remastered residence will turn Martha herself green with envy.
Colorado Garden and Home Show: Feb. 3–11, Colorado Convention Center
3. Get Your Golden Ticket
No guarantees on a flowing chocolate river, but this is a shindig Willy Wonka would be proud of. With the infamous chocolate competition, free champagne, and a dessert buffet whipped up by local chefs and chocolatiers, the Safehouse Support Guild throws a pretty good diet-breaker of a bash to benefit victims of domestic abuse. Toss in a seated dinner, music by the Hazel Miller Band, and a silent auction with local legend Don Martin, and you’ve got no excuse not to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Chocolate Lovers’ Fling: Feb. 10, Glenn Miller Ballroom, C.U. Memorial Center, Boulder
4. Lookin' For Love
After a year-long hiatus to revamp its scavenger schemes, the Denver Hunt is back with new clues and challenges for the Valentine’s Day treasure hunt along the 16th Street Mall—just the right adventure to spice up the flowers-and-candy routine. Hundreds of couples will zigzag downtown’s historic and romantic landmarks as they decode riddles and collect mementos to piece together the “Love Puzzle.” Hunt at your own pace; it’s quality, not speed, that could win you a cozy dinner for two. So get out there and put your heads together (literal interpretations welcome).
Be My Denver Valentine Treasure Hunt: Feb. 10–11, downtown Denver
5. Romance In The City
Ballet Nouveau presents a new take on an old tale with an urban interpretation of the romantic classic Beauty and the Beast. Artistic director Robert Mills puts the disfigured beast in the underground subways and sewers of a metropolis, where he hides from the sleek city-goers above. True to the story, he comes to the aid of a beautiful city girl, and a friendship—perhaps love—begins. The set, largely created from junkyard items and recycled auto parts, and a classical score interspersed with techno, give the ballet an innovative, modern energy. Catch the one-night-only Valentine’s Day show (Feb. 14) at the Paramount Theatre.
Beauty and the Beast: Feb. 9–11 (DL Parsons Theatre), 16–18 (Legacy Theatre)