Ready for Glenwood’s Grand Holiday |

Ready for Glenwood’s Grand Holiday

Santa and a few of his reindeers pictured during a previous Grand Holiday celebration. This year's event takes place Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. outside of the Garfield County Courthouse.
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Debra Swain has seen her fair share of Christmas celebrations, that’s for sure. As one of the Mountain Harmony Carolers, the Edwards singer has belted out yuletide greetings at all kinds of swanky locations, from posh hotels to ritzy resort town plazas, over the last two decades.

Still, Glenwood’s Grand Holiday, with its simple homeyness, gets her excited, year after year.

In her words, “The warmth of the town really comes through.”

And that’s not just because of the appearance by Santa, the free candy canes and s’mores or even the visit by real, live reindeer.

As Swain sees it, this small-town celebration is unique because of the locals who care about it. This time of year, it’s her job to bring a little Christmas spirit everywhere she goes. The joy about Glenwood is that it’s always saturated with it.

“The people just stand out,” she said.

Cindy Svatos would be one of them. As a board member of the Glenwood Downtown Market, she was one the key folks who got this thing off the ground four Christmases ago. While it is very much a party meant to stimulate downtown business, she knows the point is also to remind people about what a quaint place they live in. As much as she likes seeing residents browsing through the open stores, taking advantage of their downtown, she also loves simply giving them a place to come together.

“It’s just a really good feeling,” she said, adding a moment later, “It’s such a social event for people to just gather and visit and run into old friends.”

Another local making the day what it is is Sue Sharpe, owner of Confetti Design. Every year, she adds to downtown’s ambiance by making sure her business’s window is opulently adorned, thanks to the help and design of Svatos. This year, the scene is all white with twinkle lights, honoring an image from “Doctor Zhivago.”

And, like every season for the past three, Sharpe is hoping to win the window decorating contest. The champion should be known by the time of the festivities.

“We take our windows pretty seriously,” she said, not really joking.

When it comes to a real hands-on Grand Holiday experience, Jan Harr’s contribution might take the cake. This Saturday, she’ll be donning gloves with bells, Sorels, maybe a funny-looking hat, as well. For her third year straight, she’ll be an elf ” even though she always gets a bit chilly in her light, whimsical garb.

“But the kids love it,” she said.

Obviously, so must she. She’s the one who gives out the peppermint and who helps Santa with the little ones. Somehow, she joked, she fits this in between all her toy making. An animal lover, she knows a big part of why she does this is the reindeer (which she helps wrangle). She also likes that this is one of the few winter events around, not to mention the fact that so many families turn out for it.

What she really enjoys, though, is recognizing this little community. It’s the atmosphere, the snow, the mountains, she said, that makes it what it is. Every year, this Holiday is like a wintry party for this town she calls home.

“What a great place we live in,” she said, sounding so appreciative. “Couldn’t do it everywhere. Wouldn’t be as fun.”

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