Free, cheap things to do in March: Elitch passes, St. Patrick’s Day
Elitch Gardens free Pre-K Pass
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park can be a repeat destination for families this spring and summer, thanks to this budget-friendly deal. The amusement park is again offering its complimentary Pre-K Pass. Kids ages 3 to 5 get free, unlimited visits to the attraction for the 2023 season. (Children 2 and under always get in at no cost.) Parents must register their children online by May 21 and activate the pass at the park by June 25. The pass is for admission only and does not include any other benefits. This offer is good for two children per family. Season passes for the rest of the family start at $74.99. The park opens for the season on April 29. Season pass-holders enjoy early access on April 22 and 23.
Colorado Lottery 40th anniversary
The Colorado Lottery is turning 40. To celebrate, it is launching a new series of 40th anniversary celebration scratch tickets: $1, $2, $5, $10 and $40. Through April 17, buy a $5 anniversary scratch ticket and receive a free $1 anniversary scratch ticket. The giveaway is only available for tickets purchased at one of the four Colorado Lottery Claims offices: Lakewood, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and Pueblo. There is a limit of one free ticket per player, while supplies last. You must be 18 years old to play.
Best picture film showcases
Now’s the time for some of the most celebrated films from 2022 to get the spotlight before the Oscars on March 12. Frugal film fans can check out the nominees at blockbuster prices. Through March 12, AMC Theatres is hosting a Best Picture Showcase with select films at just $5. Regal Cinemas’ Best Picture Festival runs March 3-12 with tickets just $6. Regal Crown Club members enjoy $5 tickets, as well as a $7 small popcorn and drink combo. Harkins Theatres’ Best Picture Film Fest (March 3-12 at its Arvada location) offers an All-Access Pass for $40, making each of the 10 nominated movies just $4. My Harkins Rewards members receive a $10 Bonus Award. Fans can enjoy individual screenings for just $5, excluding “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
Smashburger fish sandwich BOGO special
Smashburger is bringing back its limited-time Beer Battered Pacific Cod Sandwich. Every Friday from March 3 to April 7, the burger joint is offering customers a free fish sandwich with the purchase of one at the regular price. The sandwich sells for $7.99 (but the cost may vary by location). The special is valid for dine-in or take-out, and no coupon or app is necessary. For online orders, use promo code FISHFRIDAY at checkout via the Smashburger site or app.
Blarney on Belmar
For those who want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a wee bit early, check out Blarney on Belmar. Wear your green and join in the fun on March 4 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Belmar Shopping Center (7337 W. Alaska Dr.) in Lakewood. Enjoy live performances by The Bow Tides, Chancer’s Hooley, The Reed School of Irish Dance and The Mile Highlanders. There will be green beer (of course!), food trucks, more than 40 vendors and other festive fun. The event is free. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP, so organizers can plan accordingly.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Denver goes green for its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, starting at 9:30 a.m. on March 11. This is one of the largest St. Patty’s parades in the country with an estimated 300,000 spectators along the 15-block route. With floats, clowns, pipe bands, Irish step dancers, military honorees, horses, stagecoaches and more, the entire parade lasts up to four hours. This year, the route starts at 19th and Wynkoop then proceeds down Wynkoop to 17th street, south to Blake and then marches down Blake to 27th and beyond. Insiders say the best spot to view all the festive fun is south of 20th Avenue on Blake St. (renamed Tooley Street for the parade). Be prepared for crowds and standing room only, if you choose this hot spot. Revelers are known to arrive as early as 5 a.m. Using public transportation is highly encouraged to avoid parking issues, as well as if you plan on drinking green beer.
Nothing Bundt Cakes OREO Bundtlet giveaway
Nothing Bundt Cakes is celebrating OREO’s 111th birthday with a giveaway of an OREO Cookies & Cream Bundtlet at all locations across North America. On March 6, at 1:11 p.m., the first 111 customers at each bakery will receive a free Bundlet. No purchase necessary. The dessert treat features white cake baked with OREO cookie pieces and topped with cream cheese frosting. (A Bundtlet regularly sells for $5.) There are 12 shops in Colorado.
Sie FilmCenter Oscar Party
Get the “star treatment” at the Sie FilmCenter (2510 E. Colfax Ave.) as Denver Film celebrates the season’s biggest accolades for 2022’s films, short films and documentaries. The Sie FilmCenter will be screening the Oscars live on all three of its screens on March 12. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the telecast begins at 6. Attendees can snap photos on the red carpet in their best style, from pajamas to the fanciest duds. For a small donation, fill out a ballot for a chance to win prizes. The party also includes WongWayVeg’s food truck, bar and food specials at the concessions stand and more. Admission is free. Partygoers are encouraged to RSVP, so organizers know how much popcorn to pop.
Frozen Dead Guy Days
Mix the bizarre tale of long-deceased Bredo Morstal, whose family is keeping his body preserved in dry ice in a Tuff Shed, and quirky Coloradans and you have Frozen Dead Guy Days. After the 2023 event in Nederland was initially canceled, Estes Park stepped in to reanimate the cool event, which now takes place March 17-19. It will be held at the Estes Park Events Complex and The Stanley Hotel, with satellite events at various locations around town. Festival attendees can expect the weird and wonderful happenings from years past, including coffin races and a polar plunge, as well as plenty of new twists, including a Deadman Fashion Show, roaming freak show acts, Brain Freeze contest, a Bands & Bloodys Sunday Brunch and more. The Irish Wake at Cousin Pat’s Pub & Grill on March 17 is free and open to the public, as is the Icebreaker Kickoff at Bond Park featuring music from Chain Station and A-Mac & The Height. General admission tickets start at a cool $39.
Prom dress exchange
Prom is a rite of passage for many teens, and no one should miss out on the experience because of the expense of getting all dressed up. Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive option for families on a tight budget. The annual Prom Dress Exchange offers more than 2,000 gently-used dresses on March 18. The event takes place at Adams 12 Five Star Schools (1500 E. 128th Ave.) in Thornton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students will find a range of formals from minis to ball gowns. Each dress will be available for a $10 donation.
Denver Lyric Opera Guild competition
Some of Colorado’s finest young opera singers take to the stage at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild’s 2023 final competition on March 18 at Calvary Baptist Church (6500 E. Girard Ave.) in Denver. Fifteen singers, ages 23 to 32, perform before a panel of distinguished judges from 1 to 5 p.m. in hopes of singing their way to the top prize. Admission is free, with open seating. (Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required.) Stay for all the performances or come and go as you please between performers. Past winners have gone on to successful operatic careers, singing with such companies as Opera Colorado, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera.
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Every month, Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez at MileHighOnTheCheap.com compile the “Cheap Checklist” to help smart shoppers find freebies, discounts and deals. Send tips to [email protected] 14 to 21 days in advance. More freebies, discounts and deals at MileHighOnTheCheap.com.
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