COLORADO, USA — It's the most wonderful time of year in Colorado!
This weekend Colorado celebrates the coming winter season with holiday festivals, parades, musical performances, craft shows and more.
Winter and Christmas festivals are planned this weekend in Brighton, Longmont, Black Hawk, Boulder, Thornton, Berthoud, Vail, Fruita, Denver, Castle Rock, Calhan, Platteville and more.
Breckenridge's 57th annual Ullr Fest moves from January to this weekend as well. The annual party is dedicated to asking the Norse god of snow to provide the town with plentiful flakes. More than one thousand people will attempt to break the unofficial shot ski world record on Thursday.
Celebrate the holiday season this weekend by experiencing the unique culture, food and geography that makes Colorado so special at one of these 55 fun events.
BRIGHTON — Brighton's 24th annual Festival of Lights Parade and Winter Festival are this Saturday. The Winter Festival begins at 10 a.m. in downtown and at 2 p.m. at Historic City Hall. The annual Festival of Lights Parade is set to step off at 5 p.m. The all-ages nighttime parade features more than 75 lighted entries with the theme of "A Hometown Holiday Tradition." The parade will travel south on N. Main Street, turn onto Bridge Street to 10th and south to Skeel Street.
THORNTON — The three-day Thornton WinterFest begins with Santa's arrival Friday at 6:30 p.m. Santa and his elves will help the Mayor and City Council turn on the lights of Santa's Village. Afterwards will be ice skating, ice carving, choir performances, food vendors, a beer garden and more. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with the Thornton WinterFest 5K, holiday marketplace, ice skating, holiday concert from the Thornton Community Band and fireworks set to holiday music at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
LONGMONT — The City Longmont has a weekend of activities planned for its annual Longmont Lights. Beginning Friday at 5 p.m. the festivities include Santa's Workshop, hot cocoa, fire pits, food trucks, live music, train rides, ice skating and fireworks display at 7:45 p.m. Longmont Lights continues Saturday with ice skating, fun run, Downtown Winter Wonderland activities at the St. Stephen's Plaza in downtown and the Parade of Lights on Main Street at 5 p.m.
FRUITA — Fruita's Hometown Christmas celebration is this Saturday and includes the 2019 Grand Valley Power Parade of Lights & Tree Lighting. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. in downtown Fruita with the tree lighting immediately following at 6:30 p.m. A Holiday Arts & Craft Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fruita Community Center.
CASTLE ROCK — Castle Rock's Reindeer Games is a fun, family-friendly, winter-themed wonderland. The free event runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at The Millhouse and Amphitheater at Philip S. Miller Park. There will be live reindeer, cookies, hot chocolate, sleigh rides, outdoor games, obstacle course, Santa Claus and more.
DENVER — Cherry Creek North will celebrate the holiday season Saturday with the 4th annual Winter Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cherry Creek North businesses and the Fillmore Plaza will host a free and festive celebration with live ice carving, fire pits with outdoor seating, yuletide carolers, ice princesses on stilts, face painting, complimentary refreshments and giveaways.
BOULDER — The 2nd annual Freezie Fest takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Pearl Street Mall. The celebration of all things winter offers face painting, train rides on the Snowflake Express, photo booth and performances by holiday carolers, plus holiday crafts and kids' activities. Santa Claus will also make an appearance.
PLATTEVILLE — Platteville will hold its 6th annual Parade of Lights with How the Grinch Stole Christmas theme on Saturday. The parade, scheduled to step off at 5:30 p.m., runs from Riverview Park to the Platteville Community Center. A post-parade party features food, drinks, arts and crafts, music, bonfire and fireworks.
CALHAN — Christmas comes to southern Colorado early this weekend. The annual Calhan County Christmas Parade of Lights arrives Saturday with live music, floats, vendors, food, light displays, live nativity, bull riding, live reindeer and Santa Claus. Admission is free at the El Paso County Fairgrounds.
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PARKER — The Parker Christmas Carriage Parade returns Saturday in downtown Parker. The parade, which steps off at 12 p.m. at PACE Center Drive near Discovery Park, features dozens of horse-drawn carriages, wagons and stagecoaches from across Colorado. Other festivities include a petting zoo, pony rides and games with Santa's elves at O'Brien Park, photos with Santa plus children's arts and crafts at Parker's Douglas County Libraries.
GOLDEN — Downtown Golden loves the holidays so much that they celebrate with three parades each December. Holiday parades take place this Saturday and the following Saturday at 11 a.m. The parade down Washington Avenue, from 11th to 13th Streets through historic downtown Golden, will feature floats, clowns, festive holiday characters and Santa Claus. After the parade will be hayrides and horse-drawn carriage rides.
BERTHOUD — The Colorado Snow Sculpting Championship and Berthoud Snowfest are celebrating the winter season this December weekend. This weekend's festivities include live music, artisan market, holiday home tour and more. A lighted parade is set to step off at 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by a tree lighting and caroling. The Colorado Snow Sculpting Championship runs from Wednesday to Saturday at Fickel Park. Check out the full schedule at BerthoudSnowfest.com.
VAIL — Soak in the season at this weekend's Vail Snow Days. The four-day festival runs Thursday to Sunday. There will be free concerts at Ford Park, in-town and on-mountain specials, after-dark parties, village expo and more. Modest Mouse and The Rad Trads will perform Friday and The Head and the Heart and Rob Drabkin on Saturday. Check out the full schedule at VailSnowDays.com.
BRECKENRIDGE — The 57th annual Ullr Fest runs Wednesday to Saturday in the streets of Breckenridge. Snow lovers of all ages will enjoy the annual Ullr Parade down Main Street, town-wide talent show, live music, comedy events, cocktail celebrations, ice polar plunge, ice skating party, film festival, bike race, and more. Breckenridge Distillery will attempt to break the "unofficial" world record for the largest shot-ski at 4 p.m. Thursday.
COLORADO SPRINGS — The 11th annual Holiday Chocolate Festival arrives Saturday in Colorado Springs. The festival offers over 30,000 sq. ft. of chocolate samples, live music, holiday craft stations, holiday gift booths, visits with Santa and family fun. Expect more than 100,000 chocolate samples including chocolate candy, cakes, cookies, fountains, truffles, fudge, brownies, toffees, sauces, drinks and more. The Holiday Chocolate Festival opens Saturday at 11 a.m. at Colorado Springs Event Center.
DENVER — The Colorado Symphony will perform its annual Christmas concert for four performances this weekend at Boettcher Concert Hall. The family-friendly concert features traditional Christmas carols, selections from the Colorado Symphony's Too Hot to Handel, appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a recitation of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and more. Performances are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at ColoradoSymphony.org.
GREELEY — The Greeley Chorale will treat audiences to a performance of traditional carols, solos and small ensemble numbers this Saturday night. The evening of festive music takes place at the UNC Campus Commons Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Reserve your seats at UCStars.com.
LAKEWOOD — Ballet Ariel's production of The Nutcracker returns to the Lakewood Cultural Center beginning Saturday. Featuring Tchaikovsky's famous score and dancers from Ballet Ariel's professional company and school, The Nutcracker follows Clara and the Prince's adventure of toy soldiers, dancing snowflakes and Sugar Plum fairies. Ballet Ariel will hold five matinee performances and two evening performances through Monday, Dec. 23. Tickets are available at Lakewood.org/Tickets, at 303-987-7845 or the Lakewood Cultural Center box office.
DENVER — The Colorado Conservatory of Dance opens its annual production of The Nutcracker on Saturday. The production from students and community members also features world-class international guest artists. The Nutcracker will be performed Saturday, Sunday and the following weekend at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School. Tickets are on sale at CCDance.org.
AURORA — Park Hill Dance Academy’s production of The Nutcracker will be performed Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Aurora Central High School. Tickets are available at ParkHillDanceAcademy.com.
PARKER — The Nutcracker of Parker is a Douglas County holiday tradition. Presented by Parker Arts and the Colorado School of Dance, this 16th annual, family-friendly production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic opens Thursday and will play at the PACE Center through Saturday, Dec. 21. For tickets, head to ParkerArts.com.
DENVER — Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker Tour will stop at Denver's Paramount Theatre this weekend for four performances over Friday and Saturday. The Christmas extravaganza features world-class artists, over 200 dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets and soaring birds. For tickets and showtimes, visit AltitudeTickets.com.
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DENVER — Denver Brass will perform your favorite Christmas carols and traditional songs in a free concert at the galleria of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Holiday Brassfest begins at 12 p.m. Saturday.
PUEBLO — The legendary Municipal Band of Pueblo will perform a free holiday concert on Sunday afternoon at the Sangre de Christo Arts Center. The band, which contains 65 members, has been performing for 106 years. Sunday's 2 p.m. concert includes the entire concert ensemble and the Pueblo Municipal Jazz Band.
GREELEY — The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra’s brass section takes center stage on Thursday for a joyful showcase of holiday hymns and carols. The resounding trumpets and triumphant horns will electrify Greeley’s First United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday. Reserve your seats at UCStars.com.
MANITOU SPRINGS — Ten venues in Manitou Springs will be hosting live music during this weekend's 2nd annual Manitou Holiday Spirits Fest. Armadillo Ranch, Kinfolks, Townhouse, Keg, Good Karma, Mona Lisa, Heritage Center, Stagecoach, Border Burgers, and Red Dog Coffee will have live music and free tasters from Colorado craft distillers. The festival runs Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
CASCADE — There are just two weekends left to experience Santa's Workshop at the most festive time of year. Colorado's North Pole will be open Thursday to Monday this weekend and next before Santa must depart to deliver gifts to the children of the world. Santa's Workshop, an outdoor park outside of Colorado Springs, offers rides, live shows, gift shops, Santa's house and more. Discount coupons can be found at NorthPoleColorado.com.
BLACK HAWK — The 17th annual Gilpin County Community Center's Winter Arts Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday in Black Hawk. The festival features an arts and crafts fair, selfies and sweets with Santa, dance and martial arts performances, balloon artists, choir performances, storytelling, cookie decorating, kids' crafts, face painting and more.
AURORA — This weekend's Jackalope event is a weekend shopping destination with over 100 local artisans and crafters selling items in fashion, jewelry, ceramics, paper goods, home décor, housewares, art, photography and more. The free event opens at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Stanley Marketplace.
DENVER — Denver’s most historic block will host a holiday market through Sunday. More than 40 carefully curated local makers will help you tackle your shopping list while you enjoy live entertainment and holiday cocktails. Admission to the family-friendly holiday market is free.
COLORADO SPRINGS — The Palmer High School Craft Fair will offer multiple local crafters, artisans and vendors selling unique handmade art, decor, food and more. The show opens at 9 a.m. Saturday in downtown Colorado Springs.
LONGMONT — Still working to check off people from your holiday shopping list? Over 40 vendors will be selling unique craft items at this weekend's Handcrafted Holiday Market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. The 3rd annual market opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
BOULDER — Over 100 indie artisans will be at the Firefly Handmade Holiday Market this weekend. The free market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Balch Fieldhouse on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus.
DENVER — The 19th annual Mercedes-Benz Denver Christkindl Market will be open daily through Monday, Dec. 23 in downtown Denver in Skyline Park on 16th Street Mall and Arapahoe Street. Guests to the market can savor the season while enjoying authentic Glühwein (mulled spiced wine), Bavarian-style Biers, European coffee, or hot chocolate while shopping for unique artisan gifts and holiday treats sold by local Coloradoan, European, and international merchants in wooden huts. In 2019, the festival's heated hall will have live entertainment and food options such as Bavarian-style pretzels, fresh smoked salmon, Knödel, Goulasch or Nürnberger Sausages. Daily entertainment planned this holiday season includes accordion players, polka, Schuhplattler dancers and classical performances by the Denver Philharmonic, a partner of the Bavarian Philharmonic.
DENVER — Runners will get into the holiday spirit on Sunday with the Christmas Sweater 5K at Denver’s Washington Park. Runners and walkers are encouraged to come dressed in tacky sweaters – the more tinsel, bows, reindeer and candy canes, the better. The 5K begins at 9 a.m. Sunday with all participants set to receive a finishers’ medal, race logo shirt and finish line expo with vendors, food and cookies. Registration can be completed at ColoradoRunnerEvents.com.
PUEBLO — The annual Pueblo Santa Run 5K is back! The 5K and Kids’ Fun Run will be held at Colorado State University-Pueblo at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Proceeds from the event go to Coats 4 Kids. Registration for the Santa Run 5K can be completed online.
FOUNTAIN — The YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region holds its 11th annual Jingle Bell 5K and Kids' Reindeer Romp this Saturday. Runners (and walkers) should come to Fountain Creek Regional Park with reindeer antlers, ugly sweaters, Santa suits, bells, bows and cheer because Santa Claus himself will be on hand. Registration and donation information is available online.
LONGMONT — The next event in the Colorado Brewery Running Series is the On Your Left Ugly Sweater 5K at Left Hand Brewing Company. The 5K-ish course starts and ends at the brewery at 11 a.m. Saturday. Runners, walkers, joggers and spectators are welcome to attend the event and stick around for post-race music and beer. All participants receive a free craft brew and collector's pint glass. On Your Left Ugly Sweater 5K registration can be completed online.
ERIE — The Boulder Valley Velodrome is the site of Saturday's 2nd annual Erie Elves 5K Run. The 5K walk/run at 10 a.m. will be followed by a Kids' Fun Run at 11 a.m. The December fitness celebration will have fun prizes, awards, food, beverages and elf hats. For complete details and run/walk registration, head to ErieElves5K.com.
GRAND JUNCTION — Grand Junction Parks and Recreation and Kiwanis have teamed up for this weekend's Santa Cause Run. The 5K run/walk takes place Saturday at 10:15 a.m. at Las Colonias Park Amphitheater. A 1K for the will get underway at 10 a.m. Santa Clause 5K registration can be completed online.
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DENVER — Pepsi Center hosts a night of Colorado Avalanche hockey on Friday. The Avs meet the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. Friday in Denver. AltitudeTickets.com is the place for Avalanche tickets.
LOVELAND — The AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Eagles, begin a six-game homestand this weekend at Loveland’s Budweiser Events Center. The Eagles are set to host the San Diego Gulls at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Snag your tickets at ColoradoEagles.com.
DENVER & COLORADO SPRINGS — Centennial State rivals Denver and Colorado College clash this weekend in a pair of ice hockey games. The Pioneers and Tigers play Friday at 7:07 p.m. at Denver’s Magness Arena and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. at Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor World Arena.
DENVER — The Denver Nuggets open a five-game homestand Thursday at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets host Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trailblazers at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by games against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday and the New York Knicks on Sunday. For tickets, click here.
DENVER — A Colorado Christmas tradition returns this weekend. The 3rd annual KS 107.5 Classic Christmas concert is Saturday with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and special guests Luniz, Domino and DJ Staxx. Tickets for the Fillmore Auditorium concert, for which attendees must be 16 years old, are sold at LiveNation.com.
COLORADO — There's no better way to celebrate the winter season than by soaking in the atmosphere at an outdoor ice rink in Colorado. Whether you're with your family, friends, kids or alone on your lunch break, take a moment to visit an ice rink near you and become a kid again for a half hour or more. Here's a map and list of some of the festive outdoor ice-skating rinks in Colorado this 2019-20 winter.
DENVER — Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum, performed by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, has been a Colorado multicultural celebration for 28 years. The production, which blends dance, live music, spoken word and seasonal celebrations and customs from around the world, is a holiday tradition you'll never forget. The 2019 production runs through Sunday, Dec. 22 at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre. Tickets for Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum are sold at CleoParkerDance.org.
PHOTOS: Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum
DENVER — The Colorado Governor's Mansion is officially decked out for the holidays. For the seventh year in a row, Coloradans can enjoy a free tour of the historic Capitol Hill mansion in a festive holiday setting. Free holiday tours at the mansion will be offered Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year's theme is Naturally Colorado: A Holiday Celebration of Botanical. Six rooms inside the mansion are beautifully decorated, each with its own unique inspiration. Tours are at the pace of the visitor and typically last from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. They are offered on a first come, first serve basis.
DENVER — Denver’s Molly Brown House will be decked out in all its Victorian finery for The Browns’ Happiest Christmas which opens Friday. Learn about some of our most cherished holiday traditions including holiday cards, stockings, and Christmas tree lights, along with Victorian games, holiday crafts, treats, and family photos. The Browns’ Happiest Christmas runs through Saturday, Dec. 21. Register at MollyBrown.org.
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COLORADO SPRINGS — The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari offers 85 light sculptures illuminating the zoo's 50 acres. Along with the warming fires throughout the zoo, the astounding displays will fill you with warmth and holiday spirit as you gaze out at the sparkling lights of Colorado Springs. Electric Safari is open this Friday through Sunday and select nights through Jan. 1. Reserve your passes at CMZoo.org.
DENVER — Zoo Lights is “Illuminated with Life” for its 29th season at the Denver Zoo. The beloved Colorado tradition features more than two million lights over the zoo's 80 acres. There will be ice carving artisans, animal demos and keeper talks, holiday shopping bazaar, hula hoop dance party, musical holiday tree show and more. Zoo Lights will be lit through Monday, Dec. 30. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door. Reserve your tickets at DenverZoo.org.
PHOTOS: Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo
PUEBLO — ElectriCritters will be delighting kids of all ages for a 26th year at the Pueblo Zoo. The 2019 event continues through Sunday, Dec. 29. The Pueblo Zoo tradition features 150 magical light creations, hot cocoa, tasty treats and holiday shopping plus free photos with Santa Claus on Fridays in December. Visit PuebloZoo.org for tickets.
DENVER — The Mile High City has a "Mile High Tree" this holiday season at Sculpture Park in downtown Denver next to the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The seven-story 110-foot tall, 39-foot diameter conical structure features dynamic light shows on the tallest pixel LED technology tree in the country. The Mile High Tree offers free nightly light shows choreographed to multi-cultural holiday music and will be able to accommodate up to 140 guests at a time for what organizers describe as an "immersive interior viewing experience within the tree."
DENVER — Denver Botanic Gardens' Blossoms of Light has been the Garden's signature event for over three decades. The holiday tradition transforms the York Street gardens into a holiday wonderland. The family-friendly event is brighter and bigger than ever before with thousands of ever-changing displays of light and color. Blossoms of Light runs through Friday, Jan 3. Get your ticket reservations early at BotanicGardens.org.
LITTLETON — Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms has been transformed into a magical Christmas village. The holiday experience for all ages offers crafts with Mrs. Claus, photos with Mr. Claus, Santa's live reindeer, holiday lights, hayrides, Santa's Cinema, Christmas craft vendors, and a giant snow globe in which to play and snag photos. Tickets for Santa's Village can be found at BotanicGardens.org or at the parking lot ticket booth. Santa's Village at Chatfield Farms will be open Friday to Sunday through Sunday, Dec. 22.
LITTLETON — The Hudson Gardens' A Hudson Christmas is an outdoor festival of Christmas lights that is sure to brighten your holiday spirit. The garden's woods are transformed into a winter wonderland of brightly lit trees set against the night sky, reflecting off bodies of water. With friends and family, hot chocolate, tasty treats and photo opportunities with Santa Claus, A Hudson Christmas is a must-see Colorado tradition. A Hudson Christmas will be open weekends through Christmas. Tickets can be found at AltitudeTickets.com or at the door on event nights.
LOVELAND — Winter Wonderlights, a walkable holiday lighting attraction, is now open at Loveland's Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra. Guests will be mesmerized at the more than 80,000 holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures and 30-minute music and light shows every night. The magical Winter Wonderlights light show runs nightly through Jan. 1. Each show is 30 minutes and repeats from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
PHOTOS: Loveland’s Winter Wonderlights
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Have a festive weekend!
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