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Cranford Hollow plays a free gig on Thursday night at the Vail Brewing Company in Eagle-Vail.

Mushrooms, music and hiking highlight our picks of the best free events this week. Because as your wallet knows, free is key.

Avon's Walking Mountains Science center presents a free evening clinic on mushrooms and fungi on Wednesday night from 6:30 t0 8:30 p.m. Let  an expert mycologist teach you how Mushrooms can not only be delicious accoutrements to our dinner tables, but can also are indicators of forest health and ecosystem interactions. Those interested in participating are asked to pre-register here.

Cranford Hollow plays a free Thursday, July 28th gig at Eagle-Vail's Vail Brewing Company. Comprised of vocalist and guitarist John Cranford, bass man Phillip Sirmans, drummer Randy Rockalotta, and fiddler and vocalist Eric Reid, the band's tunes are a blended mix of Southern rock, Appalachian fiddle music and American rock and roll which has won over thousands of loyal fans with what they call Lowcountry Stomp, a sound that is at once eclectic but uniquely their own. Elements of blues, old-time country, and Southern psychedelic rock come together with classic mountain melodies in an energetic, engaging musical root bag sprinkled with some Sea Island hoodoo. The show starts at 7 p.m.

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Fans of bluegrass won't want to miss a free Thursday night date with Johnny Campbell & The Bluegrass Drifters. The show starts at 6:00pm in Minturn's Little Beach Park.

Another Thursday night free gig worth catching is a free 6:00pm  show by Johnny Campbell & The Bluegrass Drifters in Minturn's Little Beach Park. Hailing from the music hotbed of Nashville, Johnny Campell s a third generation fiddler, who grew up listening to Bluegrass greats such as Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Jim & Jesse & the Virginia Boys, and the Stanley Brothers. His long-bow fiddling style is modeled after the late and great Kenny Baker, as well as his brother Jimmy Campbell, who played extensively with both Jim & Jesse and Bill Monroe. You can give him a listen here.

On Friday, catch more free music with a Bravo! Vail concert featuring keyboardist Ellis Hall at the Vail Ale House. The show kicks off at 8:30pm. You can learn more here. 

Wrap up your week with an evening hike on Vail Mountain. Hosted by the Nature Discovery Center at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, this Saturday, July 30th event starts at 7 p.m. and is guaranteed to showcase the Gore Range looking incredible as the sun paints it red with alpenglow. Particpants will also learn about the habits of the crepuscular and nocturnal animals who make the mountains their home. The program is suitable for most ages and abilities and you can learn more about this and other free hikes here.

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