Community celebrates the holidays with lighting ceremonies throughout the valley |

Community celebrates the holidays with lighting ceremonies throughout the valley

In this Post Independent file photo, Liz Howie adds her creative touch to the giant poinsettia tree in the lobby of the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs.
Special to the Enterprise |

With the end of Thanksgiving comes a variety of lighting ceremonies and celebrations throughout the valley to get the community in the holiday spirit. From a simple tree lighting in Glenwood Springs to an all-day celebration in Redstone, you shouldn’t have to travel far to get your dose of holiday cheer.

Glenwood Springs Community tree Lighting

At 5 p.m. today, the Garfield County commissioners and University of Denver’s Western Colorado Masters of Social Work Program staff will host a community tree lighting. The iconic tree at the corner of 11th Street and Grand Avenue will be illuminated during a brief ceremony open to the public at 1102 Grand Ave.

According to a press release from Garfield County, the 100-foot blue spruce was dedicated to Glenwood Springs resident Louisa Schwarz. The tree came from the White River National Forest and was planted in her memory in the middle of Grand Avenue in 1933. It was relocated to its current spot in 1950 due to heavier traffic downtown. That same year, the tree became the official tree of Glenwood Springs and was lit for the first time.

This is the second tree lighting ceremony in commemoration of Schwarz, who is remembered for her overwhelming generosity and her participation in the garden club, which still exists today.

Glenwood Springs Hotel Colorado Tree Lighting

Also at 5 p.m. today is the annual tree lighting at the famous Hotel Colorado. The celebration will also include fireworks, hot chocolate and performances from the dancers of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts.

These dancers, from ages 8 to 18, will be previewing their ballet, musical theater and contemporary solos, duets and trios, which they will perform in regional and national dance competitions. They have already earned trophies over the last two years, and they will be hosting a post-show bake sale to help them with the cost of competing.

Santa Claus and carolers will also be making an appearance at the tree lighting, and visitors will be able to shop the Christmas in the Rockies: Holiday Fine Art, Craft & Gift Show. A variety of vendors will have their work for sale in the meeting and banquet rooms.

Redstone Grand Illumination

Redstone’s lighting celebration lasts all day today, offering shopping, carolers, Santa, a bonfire and more.

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. when Redstone’s shops and restaurants offer special holiday gifts and deals.

From 4 to 7 p.m., Santa and his elves will be visiting the Redstone Inn, offering a great photo opportunity for families with young children who want to meet old Saint Nick.

At 4:30, Santa will light the Christmas tree at the Redstone General Store as carolers sing. Patrons can join the carolers as they walk down Redstone Boulevard to the inn.

At 5 p.m., the fire department will light a huge bonfire at the Redstone Inn as the carolers keep visitors entertained. Cookies and hot drinks will be served at the Church at Redstone.

Light Up Carbondale

In conjunction with First Friday, Light Up Carbondale will take place on Dec. 5 downtown.

The celebration begins when Santa will pay a visit to The Launchpad from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Santa will then land his sleigh at Forest Service Tree at Main Street and Weant Boulevard at around 5:15 p.m. Carolers from Crystal River Elementary School’s fifth grade class will sing leading up to the 5:30 p.m. tree lighting before walking to the Fourth Street Plaza with Santa at around 5:45 p.m. Santa will return to The Launchpad to meet with little girls and boys from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

All of this holiday fun, including a lit-up downtown, will be in addition to all the usual First Friday festivities.

New Castle Holiday Chili Cook-Off Contest and Holiday Tree Lighting

New Castle is making one of winter’s favorite meals into a contest with its annual Holiday Chili Cook-Off Contest. Cook-off entry forms can be picked up at Town Hall, the Community Center and online at It costs $15 or $25 for two to enter, and the deadline to enter is Monday.

In addition to this tasty competition, the event will feature a beer and wine garden, live music by John Noel, fire pits, a Garden School bake sale and, of course, the tree lighting.

The event lasts from 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 at Burning Mountain Park. It’s free to attend, but you can also pay $5 to taste and vote on the chilis entered in the cook-off. Beer and wine tickets are $5 each and $20 for five.

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