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December

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado

‘Tis the season for holiday-themed festivals and while craft shows and Christmas parades abound, here are a few unique events where you get to join in the fun.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo credit Crested Butte Mountain Resort Santa Ski Crawl

Photo Credit: Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Crowds of Santas Spotted in Breckenridge and Crested Butte, Colorado

There’s something particularly amusing about being surrounded by hundreds of Santas; boy Santas, girl Santas, tall Santas, short Santas, fat Santas, skinny Santas, pantless Santas (it happens). Here are two Colorado mountain festivals for folks who love Santa Claus and who like dressing up like the fat old fellow.

Race of the Santas, Breckenridge, Colorado

December 2, 2017

I’ve attended this event and can personally give it two white-gloved thumbs up. Race of the Santas is part of the Lighting of Breckenridge, a beautiful weekend tradition that involves the conversion of Breckenridge from a charming Victorian town to a charming Victorian town covered in holiday lights. 

Race of the Santas, Breckenridge

Photo courtesy of the Breckenridge Tourism Office

The Race of the Santas is seven blocks (0.75 miles) and contestants must dress like Santa. Some Santas who enter this race are serious runners while others, the Santa’s with a flask tucked into their black boot, are just there to have a good time.

You must register for this race by Friday, December 1, 2017. The race takes place on Saturday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m. Santa suits are for sale at the Breckenridge Welcome Center and Vertical Runner, a local running store. Contestants may also wear their own Santa costume.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo Credit Carl_Scofield_2015_Lighting_Santa-1

Photo Credit: Carl Scofield

Click here for more information on the Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas. If you’ve never visited Breckenridge during the holidays, it’s truly magical.

Santa Ski Crawl, Crested Butte, Colorado

December 9, 2017

Be part of history in Crested Butte this December and help break the World Record for the most skiing Santas at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. You can ski, snowboard or snowblade, but you must be dressed as Santa. This fifth annual event will attempt to break the record they set in 2015 which was 827 skiing Santas. Will YOU be number 828?

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo Credit Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Photo Credit: Crested Butte Mountain Resort

In addition to the event, this is a festive weekend to be in Crested Butte. There’s a Santa Pub Crawl for drinker Santas as well as $25 lift tickets for skier and riders decked out in full Santa suits (valid 12/9/17 only).

This is also the weekend of Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Light up the Night and annual Christmas Tree lighting, so it’s a good time to be in town. Register for the race here.

Santa Stampede, Littleton, Colorado

December 16, 2017

Okay, so this is less of a fest and more of a race, but I thought I’d throw it on this list for good measure.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 3 Santa Festivals in Colorado Photo credit Colorado Runner Events, Santa Stampede

Tim Hancock, Photographer | Colorado Runner Events, Santa Stampede

This 5K and 10K winds along the banks of the South Platte River in Littleton, Colorado, just southwest of Denver. The entire family is encouraged to join in this Colorado Runner Events race. All runners get a Santa hat with registration, but participants are encouraged to dress up as well.

The race’s start and finish grounds are located at Hudson Gardens and will feature more than 20 vendors. There will be a festive, holiday atmosphere. To register for this family-friendly fun run go here.

While most Friday festival posts are sponsored, this is not a sponsored post.

Featured Festival: Winter Wonderlights 2017-2018, Loveland, Colorado

A brand new holiday event is coming to Loveland, Colorado and it is one that the organizers hope becomes a long-running Northern Colorado tradition.

Featured Festival: Winter Wonderlights 2017-2018, Loveland, Colorado

Photo credit: Joshua Hardin

Winter Wonderlights will be a light show like no other in the state. Have you seen videos of houses decked out with Christmas lights that are synchronized with music? That’s just a little taste of what’s in store for you at this event.

Rhythm EFX is producing the light show and it’s a lot of work. First of all, it will take ten people about a week to set up this light display at Chapungu Sculpture Park. This one-of-a-kind, 26-acre park is located in east Loveland at the Promenade Shops at Centerra.  

Featured Festival: Winter Wonderlights 2017-2018, Loveland, Colorado

Photo credit: Joshua Hardin

A total of 46,000 lights will be part of Winter Wonderlights. Rhythm EFX calls the lights “mappable” as they are able to program the lights to be various colors. The centerpiece of this display will be a ginormous tree covered in mappable lights that will likely be visible from I-25 at night.

“We can even spell words across the tree,” explains Zach Klassen, owner of Rhythm EFX. “It becomes like a very, very low-resolution television.”

Photo credit: Joshua Hardin

The technology that takes place behind-the-scenes at an event like this is crucial to the production but it’s the end result that will be astounding to everyone who visits, and Winter Wonderlights isn’t just for kids. While families will want to make this part of their holiday excursions this year, this event will be awe-inspiring for adults too and would make an excellent destination for a date night. Don’t miss a great photo opt with Colorado’s largest inflatable igloo.

Featured Festival: Winter Wonderlights 2017-2018, Loveland, Colorado

Photo credit: Joshua Hardin

Winter Wonderlights will run every night from 5 to 9 p.m. from November 18, 2017 through January 7, 2018, and on weekends various entertainers will be on the park’s Great Lawn stage. There will be dance troupes, musical acts and more. Plus, retailers and food vendors will set up from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 5 to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Featured Festival: Winter Wonderlights 2017-2018, Loveland, Colorado

Photo credit: Joshua Hardin

Don’t Miss Opening Night

The kick-off of Winter Wonderlights will be Saturday, Nov. 18. There is a lot in store for opening night, but perhaps the coolest (no pun intended) thing is that it will be snowing at the event, even if there isn’t snow in the forecast. Be one of the first to see this fantastic light production in Northern Colorado.

Winter Wonderlights

Incredibly, Winter Wonderlights is FREE, but attendees are encouraged to bring canned food donations for the Larimer County Food Bank.

Winter Wonderlights

November 18, 2017 through January 7, 2018

5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Chapungu Sculpture Park (get map here)

Loveland, Colorado

Admission: FREE

Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food donation for Larimer County Food Bank

visitlovelandco.org/winterwonderlights

Join Winter Wonderlights on Facebook

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Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

Fort Collins for Christmas

Considering a holiday getaway this month? Fort Collins is an excellent Colorado Christmas town. Downtown sparkles with thousands of lights and from Old Town Square to Oak Street Plaza Park, the atmosphere is merry.

Fort Collins for Christmas

This past weekend, we did one-night getaway in Fort Collins to experience the city’s holiday offerings. Before exploring the festive scene we checked into the Fernweh Inn & Hostel on Mulberry, just blocks from the excitement of downtown Fort Collins.

Some people, including my husband, Ryan, have an aversion to any place with hostel in the name. The word makes him worried that he’s going to have to share a bathroom or wash dishes to earn his keep.

Fort Collins for Christmas, the Fernweh Inn & Hostel in the snow

Fernweh is a modern-day, American hostel which offers private rooms as well as bunk rooms. Our private room, “The Loft,” was a virtual suite because the space occupied the entire upstairs of this historic, Victorian home. There was a full bathroom in the room complete with large, soaking bathtub and multiple beds, making it perfect for a family or friends. Continue reading

Brewery Lights Delight in Fort Collins, Colorado

Looking for something unique to do with the entire family this holiday season? Look no further than Brewery Lights at the Budweiser plant in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Brewery Lights Delight in Fort Collins, Colorado

Last week, I was invited to opening night at Brewery Lights which takes place Thursdays through Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. through December 30, 2016.

Ryan and I arrived early for a meet and greet with the Budweiser Clydesdales. One of the teams was in town for the weekend, and Clydesdale handler, Zane, introduced us to Frankie. At just four-years-old, Frankie stands 19 hands tall and is about 2000 lbs. He nuzzled us, looking for treats, and seemed to personify the breed’s reputation as “gentle giants.” Continue reading

Skip the Christmas Parade, Get Drunk with Elves – Colorado’s Unique Holiday Events

I started writing for a small Colorado newspaper in 2006. A year later, I started HeidiTown, as well as my magazine writing career. Therefore, I have written dozens of articles and posts about Santa Claus coming to town and Christmas parades.

Skip the Christmas Parade, Elf Crawl Littleton

Photo courtesy of City of Littleton.

I realize that it’s important to get the word out about these traditional holiday happenings, however, I’ve grown tired of writing about them. With that in mind, I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of any unique Colorado Christmas events happening over the next month and a half and I got a few fun responses that I shall share here.

First up is Elf Crawl in downtown Littleton, Colorado. If you haven’t been to Littleton’s downtown, it’s adorable. I actually used to live in the area and we’d occasionally catch shows at Town Hall Arts Center. Continue reading

44 Days of Fall in Colorado

We have 44 days of fall left, but the beautiful fall drives are over, so how do we continue to celebrate this shoulder season? I’ve got a few suggestions.

A Late Fall Getaway in Colorado

November isn’t a big getaway month for most people, but the “shoulder season” is a wonderful time to travel in Colorado. There are less cars on the roads, and unless you’re traveling on Thanksgiving, you’ll find some great hotel deals over the next 44 days.

44-days-of-fall-in-colorado-elk-near-estes-park-colorado-heiditown-com

An elk herd near Estes Park, Colorado.

We have a tradition of doing birthday getaways in our house and since my husband’s birthday is in November, we’ve done quite a bit of fall travel in Colorado. Denver is actually one of my top picks for this time of year because the city dresses up beautifully for the holidays and it’s fun to stroll a brightly lit up downtown. Continue reading

Christmas in Ouray, It’s Not Too Early to Start Planning

There are still 144 days until Christmas, so please don’t panic, however, it’s never too soon to plan holiday travel. And after this summer heatwave we’ve been experiencing, a cool down in the beautiful village of Ouray, Colorado sounds heavenly.

Spend Christmas in Ouray, photo by Dan Navakowski

Photo by Dan Navakowski & used with permission.

Imagine spending a wintry weekend surrounded by snowy peaks in Ouray, Colorado. Snowshoe on a local trail, enjoy a delicious meal or cozy up with a warm whiskey drink at KJ Wood Distillers. Top it all off with Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.

Discounted tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival

The Annual Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival takes place during Ouray’s Winterfest, a seven-week holiday season of events and promotions. It starts after Thanksgiving and last through the Ouray Ice Festival in January. Festive activities take place throughout Winterfest, including Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival.

Spend Christmas in Ouray at Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

This blog post is your chance to purchase discounted tickets to Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival, and to start planning your winter getaway in Ouray.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

This festival features Colorado wines, chocolate and cheeses, and has expanded to include local craft distillers and arts and crafts. Of course, there’s live music too and this year’s festival theme is 1930’s Swing.

Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is a beautiful way to ring in the holidays with a few of everyone’s favorite things. And it’s also an opportunity to purchase last minute Colorado gifts for all your favorite people.

Spend Christmas in Ouray. Cheese table at Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

Click here and enter “HeidiTown” into the “Enter Promotional Code” box to receive a 10% discount on your 2016 tickets to Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. Promotion runs through August 31, 2016.

Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival is online at ColoradoWineFest.org.

Start planning your visit to Ouray at OurayColorado.com.

Each year, Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival supports a local non-profit and this year’s benefactor is Weehawken Creative Arts, helping kids and adults in Ouray County and neighboring communities discover their creative potential through the arts.

Winterfest is supported by the Annual Ouray Jeep Raffle, a half-century-long community fundraiser that gives participants the opportunity to win a jeep.

Faith Perry at Ouray's Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. HeidiTown.com

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This post is a paid advertisement. Interested in marketing your event, festival or destination with HeidiTown.com? Please email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

A Golden, Colorado Christmas

I’m not a super Christmassy person. I don’t decorate my house, I don’t participate in cookie Christmas exchanges and I do not listen to the Christmas station on Pandora. I’m not a scrooge, really, just not big on holidays in general, except St. Patrick’s Day. Bagpipes and whiskey? Yes, please.

However, even the biggest Scrooge in the world can’t help but get into the spirit in Golden, Colorado.

Merry Christmas from the Golden Hotel. HeidiTown.com

The lobby of The Golden Hotel decked out for the holidays.

We visited Golden this past weekend in order to experience their annual Candlelight Parade. We stayed at The Golden Hotel which is ideally located for a holiday visit. Our room overlooked Clear Creek and once the sun went down we had a Christmassy view of all the lighted trees along the river.

After a drink at Barrels & Bottles (try the Gin Sure Thing IPA and Hot Apple Toddy), we ventured out on the street with unlit candles. It didn’t take long to find someone who lit our candles with theirs. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Denver Christkindl Market 2015

I love visiting Denver during the holidays. The city literally twinkles with Christmas cheer, especially the Denver Christkindl Market. As many of you know, we’re longtime lovers of this European-style Christmas market that sets up shop in Skyline Park in downtown Denver each holiday season.

Christmas lights at the Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

The market is a throwback to Christmas days of old. It’s fashioned after traditional European Christmas Markets that have a long history dating back to the Middle Ages, according to Wikipedia and other online sources.

Denver’s market isn’t quite that old, but it has become wildly popular over the last several years. The word has gotten out and visiting the market has become a tradition for many families, including mine.

Visitors to the market will find themselves transported to another place and time. Purchase a hot pretzel, sugary or salty, and browse the artisan stalls.

Beautiful sweaters at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Last year we bought my niece a brightly lit hanging paper star that she immediately asked “Uncle Ryan” to hand from her bedroom ceiling. Several years ago we purchased a beautiful German lace scarf for my mother. It is dyed a deep red and she cherishes it.

stars at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Eventually visitors to the market will find themselves in front of the Entertainment Tent. This warm and festively decorated tent serves as a waypoint for visitors. Here they can enjoy a beer, gluehwein, German mulled wine or schnapps. German music and dancers are on the Entertainment Tent stage throughout the festival. See the entertainment lineup here.

dancing kids at Denver Christkindl Market 2014. HeidiTown.com

Last but not least, visitors to the market can purchase a variety of European-inspired cuisine. From wienerschnitzel to hot pierogis – there’s something for every taste at the Denver Christkindl Market. My favorite is Chef Neuhold’s smoked salmon served with hot German potato salad. I get it every year at the Market and at the Biergarten Festival in Morrison every summer.

Heidi serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market. HeidiTown.com

This year, market guests can win prizes each day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Just be sure to pick up a free raffle ticket and you’ll potentially win a wonderful gift from one of the market’s vendors. A different gift will be given away each day.

Denver Christkindl Market

Skyline Park, 16th St. Mall & Arapahoe St., Denver, Colorado

FREE ADMISSION

November 20 through December 23, 2015

Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Closing at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day

DenverChristkindlMarket.com

Join the Market on Facebook

Follow the Market on Twitter

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Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

Holiday happenings in the Mile High City

I’m a small town girl at heart, but I love visiting cities during Christmastime and Denver is a great Christmas city. A stroll through downtown Denver during November and December is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

In addition to the lights and horse and carriage rides, Denver has two wonderful Christmas traditions; the Denver Christkindl Market and the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. It’s easy to do these two things on the same outing.

Heidi serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market. HeidiTown.com

Heidi (not the Mayor of HeidiTown) serving up schnapps at Denver Christkindl Market.

The Denver Christkindl Market is a longtime tradition in our family. We do a good portion of our Christmas shopping there and enjoy a German dinner under the Entertainment Tent. The ice rink, located across the street, is a wonderful excursion for the little ones, or even a date night, although watch out for kiddos, they’re abundant. Continue reading

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