Annual Parade of Lights, holiday event set for Saturday night in Rifle

Stina SiegPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, Colorado

RIFLE As Judy Hewitt sees it, folks these days cant help but yearn for the past. Even in Rifle, she said, everyone struggles with the busy and the bustle of this modern world.Wouldnt it be nice to go back in time, if only for a night?For her, thats the heart of Holly Days.On Saturday, she will be one of many enjoying the Parade of Lights, which will roll through town in the evening hours. At the Garfield County Fairgrounds, children will meet Santa, and everyone will vie for prizes donated by local businesses.For weeks beforehand, the 17 participating shops have been giving their customers one raffle ticket for each $10 spent. The event will be everyones chance to (hopefully) cash in the tickets for such goodies as a chain saw, iPod or a lampshade made of antlers. Non-winning tickets will be put into the pot for this years grand prize: a home entertainment package, featuring a big-screen television, three recliners, a Nintendo Wii, gift cards from Movie Gallery and City Market and one year of free pizza from Little Caesars. To win any of this, ticket holders must be present.But Hewitt, 60, didnt feel the need to mention any of that prize hullabaloo. The best part of the night, she feels, is giving people something they might not have known they were missing: an old-fashioned Christmas.Its just an awesome, awesome event, she said, her enthusiasm bubbling over.She was there at the beginning, when the Rendezvous Festival Committee, Rifle Citizen Telegram and local merchants came together to promote businesses in the area. Hewitt, committee president and co-owner of the Action Center, said that while the turnout was small for the caroling and carriage rides, it was still so exciting. In years since, word has spread, and Holly Days celebrations now draw a crowd in the hundreds.While people are surely elated to win the free gifts, the feedback Hewitt hears the most is just how touched they are to be a part of such a vital community event. She said that every year it looks like the entire town is out, soaking up the holiday cheer.I mean, isnt that a wonderful thing for the city of Rifle? she asked, knowing the answer full well.Contact Stina Sieg:

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