The spirit of Christmas is in the air. With snow beginning to blanket the ground and the sense of togetherness filling our homes, it is easy to find excitement for the season around every corner. To kick off the holidays in style, the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce is acting as Santa’s local elves to bring the annual Christmas Opening to the valley Saturday, Dec. 2.
Each year, the chamber hosts the Christmas Opening to bring the community together with activities and entertainment for all ages, from South Main to West Main. And Santa, of course, will be in the middle of it all. Buena Vista’s community center is headquarters for the Christmas Opening, with more than 65 businesses and nonprofits joining in.
As marketing specialist for the chamber, Jamie Hagen is thrilled with all the new features this year and the many sponsors who contributed. “We are so excited about this year’s Christmas Opening because of how many people are involved who want to give something back. I think it’s like our community dinner – it really accentuates the essence of a small-town community,” said Hagen.
Because there will be so many activities occurring, the chamber has put together a schedule that will be distributed this week and posted around Main Street Dec. 2. This year, a free hayride shuttle service sponsored by Buena Vista Tool and Equipment will help attendees get to all the great events and activities, including caroling, Christmas crafts, free pictures with Santa, a polar plunge, free hot chocolate and s’mores, live music, a sock-knitting demonstration by Mrs. Claus, and artisan demos featuring Vulcan Glass Art Studio.
For the more classic Christmas pleasure, the timeless chocolate walk will feature 34 businesses and more prizes than before. The festival of trees will again decorate headquarters’ walls, and the annual chili cook-off will be held on East Main as a fundraiser for the BV Heritage Museum. The holiday equine parade will escort Santa to his headquarters and the parade of lights will later guide him to the tree lighting, where Santa will light the town Christmas tree and recite “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
As an exciting new feature to the annual Parade of Lights, the chamber is encouraging the community to organize illuminated groups of residents from their neighborhood or anywhere along Main Street to join the parade in its march to the community tree lighting. Candles, headlamps, luminarias or any type of light will do. Also new this year, the Christmas Opening will be advertised with Front Range TV station KOAA. “On Nov. 30, we take over their website so we can promote this event beyond our community,” Hagen said.
This year’s Santa, Kelly Kringle, is new to BV and thrilled to be a part of such a special event and providing a moment of joy to children of all ages. “It is the idea of sharing Santa with the children, and everybody is a child at heart and lights up when they see Santa. It is really humbling to give them a moment of joy. It’s also a highlight of Santa’s career to be able to be at Christmas Opening,” he said.
For a complete list of events and details, visit the chamber’s website, BuenaVistaColorado.org.
Community Members …
If you would like to be in the BV Parade of Lights with a float, bike or illuminated idea, contact David Billesbach, 719-480-9554.
Organize your illuminated group of residents to join the end of the Parade of Lights or merge with the parade at the Community Tree for lighting in Optimist Park.
Participate in the deliciously fun Chocolate Walk to see all of our local businesses’ holiday products, sample chocolates and have a chance to win prizes.