There is plenty to see and do around Colorado when the most wonderful time of the year rolls around. Some of the simplest joys of the season are the spectacular lighting festivals held throughout the state.
Nov. 19, 2011, 5pm
Every night on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall is a unique experience, but Switch on the Holidays is one of the best. The popular pedestrian thoroughfare crowds with people as live music fills the air and Santa counts down to the grand illumination of the street, courthouse and star atop Flagstaff Mountain. Afterward, head to the ice rink for more family activities.
Catch the Glow Holiday Celebration and Evening Parade: Nov. 23, 2012
Nov. 25, 2011, 5:30pm
Kick off the season in Estes Park on the day after Thanksgiving with carolers, pony rides, hay rides, shopping and, of course, Santa and his elves. When dusk falls, the magical Catch the Glow Parade begins. It’s a 45-minute lighting ceremony with bands, floats and dancers.
Holiday Lighting Ceremony: Nov. 23, 2012
Nov. 25, 2011
Hotel Colorado is an historic landmark in Glenwood Springs, and each year its lighting ceremony is like a holiday itself. Locals and visitors gather in the courtyard to sing carols and sip hot cocoa as the scene transforms into a winter wonderland. Don’t miss the hotel lobby either, which is decorated with several 12-foot trees and animated displays.
Pueblo Parade of Lights: Nov. 24, 2012
TBD, Dec. 2011
This event is a well-established holiday tradition in Pueblo. Cheerful onlookers bundle up in coats, hats and mittens to watch nearly 100 lighted floats, antique cars and marching bands pass by. Following the parade, Santa will be available to visit with children.
Denver Parade of Lights: Nov. 30–Dec. 1, 2012
Dec. 2, 2011
No other holiday celebration in Denver can hold a candle — or strand of twinkling lights — to the grandeur that is the Denver Parade of Lights. Arrive early so you can claim your corner to watch the impressive floats, festive marching bands, diverse dancing groups and local celebrities take over the streets of downtown. In case you’re not up for the cold or the crowds, this one is broadcast live on 9NEWS.
Festival of Lights Parade: Dec. 1, 2012
Dec. 3, 2011, 5:50pm
Downtown Colorado Springs is the place to be for the 26th annual parade and lighting ceremony. Floats, high-school marching bands, groups on horseback and Santa Claus himself bring the holiday spirit at this family favorite. Bring a dollar to give to Santa’s elves as a donation to this year’s charity, The Empty Stocking Fund.
Country Christmas and Parade of Lights: Dec. 3, 2012
Dec. 5, 2011
Experience the delight of the season’s small-town-style in the northeast Colorado town of Holyoke. The most popular activity of the night is the Parade of Lights, which features floats decorated according to the annual theme. There are contests for best float, tree and window display. Children can give their wish lists to Santa at the Vets club where the local fire fighters serve up a hot chili supper.
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade: Dec. 24, 2012
Dec. 24, 2011
The slopes light up as nearly 100 Telluride Resort employees glide gracefully down the dark mountain, torches in hand. Watch the glowing trail from town; popular viewing spots in Telluride are Main Street, Pacific Street and Columbia Avenue. Rumor has it, that after a long night of delivering presents around the world, Santa comes to Telluride for some much needed R-and-R — so you might just catch a glimpse of the man in red.
Photo: Courtesy of Downtown Boulder.