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9Things to do in Colorado this weekend: December 20-22

Winter and Christmas weekends arrive in the Centennial State with concerts, festivals, fairs, markets and family-friendly winter events.

COLORADO, USA — Colorado celebrates winter's arrival on Saturday with holiday festivals, parades, musical performances, craft shows and more.

Denver Zoo Lights, Blossoms of Light, A Hudson Christmas, and Winter Wonderlights are just some of the must-see traditions in Denver and Colorado this weekend along with annual productions of "The Nutcracker" and "A Christmas Carol." New Colorado traditions ICE!, Cirque Dreams Holidaze and Camp Christmas in Aurora highlight the magic of the season.

Celebrate the holiday season this weekend by experiencing the unique culture, food and geography that makes Colorado so special at one of these fun events this December weekend.

> Have an event tip? Send it here.

Credit: Town of Dillon

Lighting of Dillon

DILLON — The Town of Dillon will light a giant Christmas tree at Marina Park on Friday. The celebration also includes hot chocolate, warm beverages, kids' crafts, music and choreographed light show. The tree (with light show) will be on display through Sunday, Jan. 12.

Credit: Olde Golden Christmas Parade

Holiday Parade

GOLDEN — Downtown Golden loves the holidays so much that they celebrate with three parades each December. The final parade take place this 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.   

Steamboat Holiday Festival

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Celebrate the holiday season Steamboat Style this weekend. The Steamboat Springs Holiday Festival arrives Sunday with a packed schedule of events including Santa Claus and his reindeer, holiday cookie decorating, a stocking scramblefree cupcakes and holiday treats, torchlight paradefirework show, and live performance from Face Vocal Band. Check out the full schedule of events at Steamboat.com. 

Christmas Lights Parade

ALAMOSA — Downtown Alamosa will welcome next week’s big holiday with the Alamosa Christmas Light Parade on Saturday night. This weekend’s parade, which feature more than 40 floats, steps off at 6 p.m. 

Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions

DENVER — The Denver Broncos may be out of the playoffs for the fourth-consecutive season, but there’s still football to play in Broncos Country. The Broncos (5-9) host the Detroit Lions (3-10-1) at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High. Last time the Broncos were at home, 19,000 ticket holders chose not to attend, so that means lots of deals on tickets on the official ticket resale site – Ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss your chance to see Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay, Von Miller, Courtland Sutton and the Broncos in action this Sunday!

RELATED: How you can be part of the Broncos Huddle audience on Monday

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets conclude their five-game homestand Friday with a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets and Wolves tip off at 7 p.m. at Pepsi Center. For tickets, check out AltitudeTickets.com. 

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche are at Pepsi Center this Saturday night for their last home game before the Christmas holiday. The Avs host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m. Saturday. General tickets and Family Night packages are sold at AltitudeTickets.com. 

Colorado Eagles vs. Bakersfield Condors

LOVELAND — Loveland’s Budweiser Events Center hosts two games of the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, this December weekend. The puck drops between the Eagles and Bakersfield Condors at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and 3:05 p.m. Sunday. ColoradoEagles.com is the place for game tickets and the Eagles’ 2019-20 schedule. 

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Handel's Messiah

DENVER — The Colorado Symphony, Colorado Symphony Chorus and Colorado Symphony Chamber Chorus unite this weekend for Handel’s Messiah. The holiday classic will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Boettcher Concert Hall. For tickets, visit ColoradoSymphony.org. 

Holiday Brass

DENVER — The Colorado Symphony’s final performance before the Christmas holiday is Holiday Brass. Sunday’s 1 p.m. performance is a festive holiday tradition featuring the best of brass. The program of holiday carols includes The Nutcracker Suite, O Come, All Ye Faithful, Greensleeves, God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman and more. ColoradoSymphony.org is the place for Holiday Brass tickets. 

Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Christmas Symphony

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Philharmonic celebrates the Christmas season Sunday with its annual Christmas Symphony. Led by conductor Thomas Wilson, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will perform Christmas classics, seasonal favorites and a very merry sing-along. The symphony is scheduled for Sunday at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts. Find your tickets at CSPhilharmonic.org. 

Once Upon A Colorado Christmas

GOLDEN — The perfect family holiday event is this weekend’s Once Upon A Colorado Christmas in Golden. The holiday dinner theater event arrives Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Buffalo Rose. The show features performances by Golden Community Choir, What the Dickens Carolers, The Yuletyme Tinkers of Ireland, and The Traveling Mystery Show Troupe. Tickets, showtimes and menu options can be found online.


DENVER — Admit it, tubas get no respect. But some 300 tubas, euphoniums and other low-register brass instruments spread holiday cheer on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex (the outdoor, but covered Galleria area). It’s all part of TubaChristmas 2019, a nationwide series of free concerts performed by local, volunteer musicians who play tubas and other big brass, and who assemble only hours before concert time to rehearse their “heavy metal” tunes. This event was first published by MileHighOnTheCheap.com. For more local deals and discounts go to MileHighontheCheap.com.

HOLIDAY GUIDE: Everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Colorado

Credit: Stan Obert for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum

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. This year's production runs through Sunday at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre. Tickets for Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum are sold at CleoParkerDance.org.

PHOTOSGranny Dances to a Holiday Drum

Credit: Altitude Tickets

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage

DENVER Peanuts fans, rejoice! A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage arrives at Denver's Paramount Theatre for performances at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are sold exclusively at AltitudeTickets.com.

Credit: Fort Collins Lincoln Center for the Performing and Visual Arts

The Celtic Gift

DENVER & FORT COLLINS  Irish Dance Theatre's annual holiday production is like "Riverdance meets The Nutcracker." The Celtic Gift is a family-friendly evening of spectacular Christmas and Celtic music with stunning Irish dancing. The Celtic Gift will be performed Thursday night at in Denver and Saturday night at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins.

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Credit: Evergreen Players

A Christmas Carol

EVERGREEN — Six actors will bring Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to life in the newest production from the Evergreen Players. The beloved holiday tradition will be performed Friday through Sunday at Evergreen’s Center Stage. For tickets and showtimes, visit EvergreenPlayers.org.

A Christmas Carol – The Musical

ARVADA — Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities tackles Charles Dickens’ classic tale with its new production of A Christmas Carol – The Musical. Featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, the musical version of Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and redemption is a perfect holiday tradition for the entire family. A Christmas Carol – The Musical plays the Main Stage at the Arvada Center through Sunday. Tickets and showtimes can be found at ArvadaCenter.org.

A Christmas Carol

GOLDEN — Miners Alley Playhouse's face-paced production of A Christmas Carol uses five actors to bring Dickens' beloved characters to life. The Josh Hartwell adaptation uses nothing more than simple props, fun physicality, and the power of imagination to tell the classic story of redemption. Miners Alley Playhouses' A Christmas Carol has performances scheduled through Monday, Dec. 23. Tickets can be found at MinersAlley.com or by phone at 303-935-3044.

Credit: Garland Photography

Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn

JOHNSTOWN — Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s holiday show is a production of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn. The show tells the story of Jim who, after leaving show business to settle down in Connecticut, turns his farmhouse into an inn with dazzling shows set to each holiday. Featuring the timeless songs “Blue Skies,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “Heat Wave,” and “White Christmas,” Holiday Inn plays the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse through Sunday, Jan. 19. For showtimes and tickets, visit ColoradoCandlelight.com 

Credit: Ballet Ariel

Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker

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 performances through Monday. Tickets are available at Lakewood.org/Tickets, at 303-987-7845 or the Lakewood Cultural Center box office. 

Colorado Conservatory of Dance's The Nutcracker

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 and Sunday at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School. Tickets are on sale at CCDance.org.

The Nutcracker of Parker

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. For tickets, head to ParkerArts.com.

The Nutcracker

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Youth Ballet and Colorado Ballet Society present their production of The Nutcracker this weekend at Colorado Springs' Shockley-Zalabak Theater. With a cast of more than 150, the production is a sweet holiday-season treat. Seven performances are scheduled through Monday. Reserve your seats at UCCSPresents.org.

Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker

DENVER — The Colorado Ballet's 59th annual production of The Nutcracker returns this holiday season at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Colorado Ballet's production has been one of Denver's most popular holiday traditions for decades. With a story that sparks the imagination of audiences young and old, The Nutcracker showcases exceptional dancers as well as Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed by Colorado Ballet Orchestra. The Nutcracker plays through Sunday, Dec. 29. Performances sell out each year, so get your tickets at ColoradoBallet.org.

The Nutcracker Circus

DENVER — MOTH Poetic Circus presents seven performances of The Nutcracker Circus this Friday to Sunday at DU's Byron Theatre at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Performing Arts. The Nutcracker Circus features acrobatics, jugglers, aerialists, and characters bringing this holiday classic to life in a new way. For tickets and showtimes, click/tap here.

Credit: Adams VisCom

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

DENVER — William Shakespeare’s comedy of a shipwreck, mistaken identities, hilarious hijinks, unrequited love and gender-bending disguises closes at the Space Theatre this weekend. Twelfth Night features captivating characters and one of Shakespeare’s most-dynamic heroines in Viola, stranded after a shipwreck in Illyria. The comedy plays at the Denver Performing Arts Complex through Sunday. For tickets and showtimes, visit DenverCenter.org.

Credit: KUSA

Santa's Workshop

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.

RELATED: You can visit the North Pole without leaving Colorado

Credit: Denver Christkindl Market

Holiday Fest & Trade Show

GREELEY  For all your last-minute gifts, consider the Holiday Fest and Trade Show in Greeley. Saturday’s show runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Island Grove Regional Park. The free show offers shopping, food, drinks, photos with Santa, live music and family-friendly fun. 

Last Chance Gift Fest

LONGMONT — The Last Chance Gift Fest runs Saturday and Sunday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Over 175 vendors will be at this show which runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free each day for the event which also offers live music, arts crafts, toys, home décor, food and more. This event was first published by MileHighOnTheCheap.com. For more local deals and discounts go to MileHighontheCheap.com.   

Denver Christkindl Market

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, KnödelGoulasch 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.

RiNo Holiday Bazaar

DENVER — Sunday is the final Sunday of the RiNo Holiday BAZAAR at Denver's EXDO Event Center. Shop & Sip tickets which allow for three hours of bottomless mimosas and local holiday beer and cider are available. The fair will have 70 vendors, food and fashion trucks, live entertainment and more. Tickets for the all-ages event are available on Eventbrite.

RELATED: Get unique gifts at these Colorado holiday markets

Credit: Feat On The Street, Inc.

Christmas Carol Classic 5K/10K/1M

DENVER — Walkers, joggers and runners of all levels are encouraged to participate in Saturday's Christmas Carol Classic at Denver's City Park. The holiday celebration features one mile, 5K and 10K races, plus a Tiny Tim Fun Run. Participants will earn finisher medals, tech t-shirts, hot chocolate and will enjoy the Original Dickens Carolers, Santa Claus and vendors. The Christmas Carol Classic benefits Denver's Children's Home, which has been helping children and families for 130 years. Race registration can be completed online.  

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Outdoor ice rinks

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.

RELATED: 9 ways to give back this holiday Christmas season

Credit: Hudson Gardens & Event Center

A Hudson Christmas

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.

> Have an event tip? Send it here. 

Credit: Visit Loveland Colorado

Winter Wonderlights

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 lightstwinkling 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

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms

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.

RELATED: Where to find Santa around the Denver area

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

Blossoms of Light

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.

MAP: Where to find the best Christmas lights in Denver and Colorado

Credit: KUSA

Mile High Tree

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."

HOLIDAY GUIDE: Everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Colorado

Credit: Montrose Botanic Gardens

Garden of Lights

MONTROSE — The Montrose Botanic Gardens' Gardens of Lights features horse-drawn wagon rides, hot drinks, live music, illuminated garden paths and displays, storytellers and Santa Claus himself. Garden of Lights will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Tickets are available at the gate. 

Credit: Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins

Brewery Lights at Budweiser Brewery

FORT COLLINS — Anheuser-Busch's Fort Collins Brewery's Brewery Lights is free and open to all ages and will be open every Thursday to Sunday through Sunday, Dec. 29 with a synchronized light show, s'mores, tree maze, food, gifts and more. Brewery Lights has new family-friendly activities, a unique 4D holiday photo opportunity, beer samples for guests 21 and older, delicious food and festive entertainment.

Camp Christmas

AURORA — Filling the 10,000-square-foot Hangar at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, Camp Christmas will take people on a journey through different eras of Christmas celebrations with extravagant installations. Camp Christmas will have self-guided tours where photos are encouraged, festive food and refreshments, plus visits from Santa Claus each Saturday before Christmas. Created by Colorado-based installation artist Lonnie Hanzon and Hanzon Studios, Camp Christmas will run through Sunday, Jan. 5. Tickets for the “over-the-top holiday extravaganza as big as the season it celebrates” can be reserved at DenverCenter.org.

ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

AURORA — Scenes from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are brought to life in a winter wonderland carved from more than two million pounds of colorful ice at newest attraction at Gaylord Rockies. ICE!, a walkable attraction kept at a wintry nine degrees, was crafted by master artisans and features complimentary parkas for children and adults. Tickets for ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which will be open through Sunday, Jan. 5, are available at GaylordRockies.com.

Credit: Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

AURORA — Gaylord Rockies’ family holiday spectacular Cirque Dreams Holidaze is an in-the-round theatrical experience that includes some of the world’s best acts, dazzling costumes, stunning aerialists, world-class singers and dancers. A Broadway musical and new cirque adventure wrapped into one family-friendly holiday show is a celebration with toy soldiers, snowmen, reindeer, gingerbread, penguins, Santa, holiday characters and more. The Cirque Dreams Holidaze show plays at Gaylord Rockies through Saturday, Jan. 4 with tickets sold at GaylordRockies.com. 

Credit: Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights: Illuminated with Life

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 

Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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 Jan1. Reserve your passes at CMZoo.org. 

PHOTOSCheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari 

ElectriCritters at Pueblo 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.

Would you like to see your favorite Colorado festival, fair, expo, concert, drama, musical, ballet, run or event listed in 9Things? Send it to alexander.kirk@9news.com.

Have a merry weekend! 

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