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Forget about the turkey — Denver's Thanksgiving Weekend returns with fun (and free) events, performing arts, live music and plenty of family-friendly activities.

Don't miss out on great Denver hotel deals during Thanksgiving Weekend.

FEATURED EVENTS

DOWNTOWN DENVER GRAND ILLUMINATION

WHEN: Nov. 25, 2016
WHERE: Downtown Denver

As part of Downtown Denver's Winter in the City program, at 6 p.m. on Nov 25, 2016, Downtown Denver's Grand Illumination event will light up Downtown, from Denver Union Station to the City and County Building at Civic Center Park. Following a countdown shortly after 6:30 p.m., Denver Union Station will be ablaze with brightly colored floodlights illuminating the historic structure in the heart of Lower Downtown and its lighted tree in front. The lights stay on through the end of December.

DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET

WHEN: Nov. 18–Dec. 23, 2016
WHERE: Skyline Park

The Christkindl Market includes vendors from Germany, Ukraine, Ireland and other countries — as well as local artisans — offering high-quality gifts, such as hand-carved wooden figurines, handmade candles and ornaments. Traditional German food will tempt your taste buds. Sip on warm Glühwein (hot spiced wine) as you listen to traditional Christmas carols and live German music. Entry is free and the entire family is invited to enjoy this great tradition!

MILE HIGH UNITED WAY TURKEY TROT

WHEN: Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2016
WHERE: Washington Park

Run your yams off at the 43rd annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot in Denver's beautiful Washington Park. The four-mile race and quarter-mile family fun run is expected to host over 10,000 participants in support of Mile High United Way's work in the community to improve the lives of children, families, and individuals in need. This year's Turkey Trot will include a start and finish village featuring entertainment, music, booths and a beer garden sponsored by Great Divide Brewing Co.

BLOSSOMS OF LIGHT

WHEN: Nov. 25, 2016–Jan. 1, 2017
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Embrace the holiday season at Blossoms of Light. The first night will display over one million colorful lights draped in elegant designs highlighting the Gardens' winter beauty. Enjoy sparkling passages, new displays and romantic kissing spots under the mistletoe, all made even more beautiful through HoloSpex glasses. Warm drinks and tasty treats will also be available. Note: Denver Botanic Gardens is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. 

'A CHRISTMAS CAROL'

WHEN: Nov. 25–Dec. 24, 2016 
WHERE: Denver Center for the Performing Arts 

Keep the holiday spirit flowing with this classic Christmas tale from Charles Dickens. "A Christmas Carol" is the ultimate holiday treat for theatergoers young and old. 

'THE SANTALAND DIARIES'

WHEN: Nov. 25–Dec. 24, 2016 
WHERE: Denver Center for the Performing Arts 

For a less traditional take on the holiday season, don't miss "The SantaLand Diaries," based on author David Sedaris' hilarious account of his stint as a Macy's Christmas elf in New York City. This one-man show isn't for kids, but it will leave adults roaring with holiday cheer. 

DRUMS OF THE WORLD

WHEN: Nov. 27, 2016 
WHERE: Boettcher Concert Hall

This popular annual family concert takes attendees on a musical trip around the globe. Drums of the World features your very own Colorado Symphony percussionists playing rhythmic instruments new and old — it'll be everything but the kitchen sink! Arrive early for pre-concert activities in the lobby.

SOUTHWEST RINK AT SKYLINE PARK

WHEN: Nov. 22, 2016-Feb. 14, 2017
WHERE: Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, the corner of 16th and Arapahoe
Take a spin on the ice - for free! Grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver to the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park! Skate rentals are $2 - or bring your own pair and skate for FREE! Free days for kids will take place throughout the season. Look for regularly scheduled entertainment and activities each week including: Friday night Djs; Saturday morning skating lessons; Saturday night concerts; and Sunday afternoon family entertainment. 

HOLIDAY SHOPPING KICKS OFF

The holiday shopping season kicks off after Thanksgiving. There will be free parking on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Denver Pavilions underground garage.