Glenwood Springs comes alive for the holiday season

Pete Fowler
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Grand Holiday is meant to weave Christmas magic and small-town charm into one.

On Dec. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Centennial Park in downtown, Santa will show up and spread the holiday cheer. Downtown is lit up and decorated for the holidays. The Mountain Harmony Carolers sing in the park before their stroll downtown. Kids can enjoy free reindeer cart rides, among other festivities.

“Last year was the first year we brought in live reindeer,” said Cindy Svatos, who works at Confetti Design. “The kids just loved it ” everyone did.”

Many businesses plan holiday window displays and will have snacks and refreshments available. The downtown area will be like a big open house, Svatos said.

The event is one effort of the Downtown Business Association’s mission to increase the vitality of downtown and remind people of what’s available.

“There were hundreds of people out last year,” she said. “Some of the businesses had a lot more business that evening with people shopping.”

“I think it just puts a nice focus on downtown,” said Vicki VanEngelenburg, owner of Interiors A La Carte. “It just makes downtown more charming.”

In anticipation of the holidays, the DBA and city have spent about $40,000 to $50,000 a year for the past couple of years to add holiday lighting and decorations. Someone criticized the use of electricity in a letter to the editor, but Svatos said LED lights are now being used that consume around 85 percent less electricity. She said it helps people get into the holiday spirit and promotes the image of the city.

“The nights get dark and cold, so it just gives you that warm fuzzy feeling,” she said.

Svatos wants to remind people to shop locally before heading off to Grand Junction and Denver. With high gas prices, she questioned whether any savings would be worth it after the drive.

“There are a lot of stores that have everything you need in downtown and in Glenwood Springs in general,” she said. “You can go to Grand Junction, go to Denver and go to a mall. Every mall basically has the same thing. You come downtown and there’s unique boutiques and little shops. They’re all different.”

She said people from Grand Junction and elsewhere come to Glenwood Springs to shop because they love the downtown area.

One issue the DBA has faced is concern about a lack of parking. Svatos said it may be a matter of perception. She once measured the distance from the parking lot to the far end of the Target store, she said, and it turned out to be the same as parking somewhere downtown and having to walk a couple of blocks. The DBA would support the city in constructing parking structures downtown, she added.

Despite initial speculation about the Glenwood Meadows development hurting downtown businesses, that doesn’t seem to have happened, Svatos said.

“They only enhance each other,” she said. “I don’t think it’s hurt the businesses downtown.”

The DBA has also gotten involved in plans to redevelop 7th street in the interest of improving downtown. It includes plans to tear down and move the current restroom, add a water feature or fountain and do away with curbs to make it look more like a walking mall, Svatos said.

“That’s one of the first streets that visitors see,” she said.

VanEngelenburg appreciated promotion of the downtown area.

“When a community of people care about a town as much as they do in Glenwood, I really appreciate that,” she said.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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