Five hundred million pallets are manufactured in the United States every year—accounting for 44 percent of all domestically produced hardwood—but many of them are used only once. Denver’s PalletFest gives second (or third or fourth) lives to pallets as tables, wine racks, and shelves. On October 11 and 12, builders showcase the versatile nature of this ubiquitous rubbish with handcrafted goods at the state’s largest upcycling event. (“Upcycling” is 21st-century speak for an old concept: repurposing waste or recyclable materials.) In Denver Performing Arts Complex’s Sculpture Park, visitors can get lost in a pallet maze, participate in a team build-off, or learn how products are crafted with glass, metal, plastic, fabric scraps, and more from myriad vendors such as Woodcraft, a high-end woodworking store. “We don’t want to think outside of the box,” says PalletFest organizer Kenny Fischer. “We want you to think about what you can do with a box.”

—Inset photo Courtesy of 1001 Pallets