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9Things to do in Colorado this weekend: Dec. 3-5

The 9NEWS Parade of Lights welcomes the holiday season and Broadway returns to Colorado for the first time in 22 months.

COLORADO, USA — Colorado is known for wonderful seasonal festivals, concerts and events and this first weekend of December is certainly no exception.

The arrival of December brings at least eight Christmas parades to the Centennial State including the 47th annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights through the streets of downtown Denver. There are also dozens of holiday tree lightings, winter festivals, arts and craft fairs, Christmas concerts and performances.

For the first time in 22 months, a major Broadway musical plays the Buell Theatre stage and the family-favorite Disney on Ice is back after two years away.

No matter where you live in Colorado, there's a magical weekend experience awaiting you.

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Credit: 9NEWS

9NEWS Parade of Lights

DENVER — Colorado's biggest holiday parade is back in the Mile High City this weekend. The 47th annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights will bring sparkling lights, marching bands, giant balloons and colorful floats to the streets of downtown Denver on Saturday, Dec. 4.

The Colorado holiday tradition dates all the way back to 1975 and has grown into the largest and most-watched parade in the Rocky Mountain region. Here's what you need to know to prepare for Denver's brightest holiday season tradition.

RELATED: 9NEWS Parade of Lights is back for a 47th year

Festival of Lights Parade

COLORADO SPRINGS — The 38th annual Festival of Lights Parade steps off at 5:50 p.m. Saturday in downtown Colorado Springs. The parade will start at St. Vrain Street and proceed south on Tejon Street to Vermijo Avenue. This year’s parade theme is “Songs of the Season.”

Parade of Lights

GRAND JUNCTION — The biggest parade on the Western Slope returns Saturday in downtown Grand Junction. The 39th annual Parade of Lights features more than 100 lighted entries to help viewers get in the holiday spirit. This weekend's parade steps off at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Lights of December Parade

BOULDER — The 33nd annual Lights of December Parade traverses the streets of downtown Boulder on Saturday. Crowds will enjoy holiday carolers, marching bands, fire engines, holiday lights and Kris Kringle himself. The parade steps off at 6 p.m. at 15th and Walnut before heading west to Broadway and then back east on Spruce. 

Rifle Parade of Lights

RIFLE — The annual Rifle Parade of Lights is set to trek Railroad Avenue from the Garfield County Fairgrounds to Highway 6 to the Brendan Theater after it steps off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Garfield County Fairgrounds will host the annual Christmas craft fair from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Holiday Parade of Lights

LYONS — A Lyons tradition is back this Saturday with lights, and carolers. Saturday begins with a Holiday Artisan Market at Lyons Elementary School. The Parade of Lights gets underway at 6:30 p.m. with colorful floats decorated in this year's theme: "Winter Around the World."

Christmas Parade of Lights

CAÑON CITY — The 32nd annual Christmas Parade of Lights steps off at 6 p.m. Saturday through the streets of Cañon City. The parade will march down Main Street with the 2021 theme of “Bright Lights & Christmas Delights.” There will be vendors on hand serving delicious, warm holiday cookies and hot cocoa.

Parade of Lights

MONTROSE — Montrose's traditional Parade of Lights will welcome in the holiday season this weekend. The annual parade steps off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and will illuminate historic Main Street. The theme of Saturday's parade is Home for the Holidays.” 

Credit: Deen van Meer; Disney

The Lion King

DENVER — Broadway is back in Colorado for the first time in 22 months! Disney's "The Lion King" opens Thursday at the Buell Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. 

More than 95 million people have experienced the incredible music, sets and costumes of this Broadway spectacular. A winner of six Tony Awards, "The Lion King" continues its reign as one of the biggest musicals in history.

"The Lion King" — which restarts the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Broadway lineup after a nearly two-year pause — plays the Buell Theatre through Sunday, Jan. 2. For tickets and showtimes, visit DenverCenter.org.

Credit: Feld Entertainment

Disney on Ice

DENVER — Disney on Ice's "Dream Big" skates into Colorado for seven performances at Ball Arena from Thursday through Sunday. The show features favorite Disney friends such as Mickey, Minnie, Miguel, Moana, Elsa, Belle, Genie and more highlighting the magic and adventure of Disney.

Ball Arena requires negative COVID-19 tests and/or vaccinations. Health and ticket information can be found at Ticketmaster.com.

Credit: stock.adobe.com

Noel Northglenn

NORTHGLENN — Join Kris Kringle for an evening of fun when Santa comes to Northglenn on Friday to turn on the city's lights. The Noel Northglenn lighting ceremony starts Friday at 5 p.m. at the new recreation center. Get cozy listening to carolers and eating s’mores by a fire as you wait to take a carriage ride around the civic center. There will also be free kids' crafts, photos with Santa and more.

Windsor Wonderland

WINDSOR — The annual Windsor Wonderland runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The free, seasonal celebration features live holiday performances, kids' activities, hot cocoa, s'mores, Santa Claus, carriage rides and more. The Windsor Tree Lighting is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. by the Train Depot.

Fort Lupton Winterfest

FORT LUPTON — Fort Lupton's 17th annual Winterfest is back this Saturday with Cookies & Cocoa with Santa, a chili supper, holiday craft bazaar, carriage rides, train rides, live performances and more. Santa Claus arrives for the Tree Lighting and caroling at 5:30 p.m.

Night of Lights

GUNNISON — The annual tree lighting in downtown Gunnison will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday. The ceremony also features a visit from Santa Claus himself as well as festive lights, floats, entertainment, storefront display competition and more. Santa will light the tree at 6:30 p.m.

Festival of Lights

FREDERICK — Frederick's annual tree lighting will ring in the holiday season with free carriage rides, photos with Santa Claus, free hot cocoa, carolers and ice sculptures. The Festival of Lights runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Crist Park. The tree lighting begins at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Wheat Ridge Tree Lighting

WHEAT RIDGE — The City of Wheat Ridge welcomes in the holiday season with carolers, hot cider, cookies, live reindeer, holiday gifts, food trucks, Santa Claus, carriage rides and train rides at Saturday's annual Holiday Celebration, which runs from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The city's official tree lighting begins at 6:30 p.m. with more than 12,000 multi-colored bulbs lighting a 25-foot evergreen.

Monument Tree Lighting

MONUMENT — The Town of Monument will hold its annual Tree Lighting this Saturday at Limbach Park. Starting at 3 p.m., holiday performances from local schools will be held before Santa arrives to light up the park at 5 p.m. Mr. Claus will visit with kids from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Kremmling Tree Lighting

KREMMLING — The Town of Kremmling will get in the holiday spirit on Saturday with the annual lighting of the tallest living Christmas tree in Colorado. The free event features caroling, hot cocoa, hayrides, Christmas cookies and special appearances from Santa Claus and Twinkle the Snowman.

RELATED: 2 Colorado towns claim they have the tallest Christmas trees

Fort Carson Tree Lighting

FORT CARSON — Fort Carson will celebrate the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony this Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The ceremony at Iron Horse Park will include kids' activities, prizes, local vendors, photos with Santa, holiday entertainment, hot cocoa and more.

Celebration of Lights

ALAMOSA — Alamosa kicks off the holiday season Friday with the lighting of City Hall and the County Courthouse. After the illumination ceremony, kids can meet Santa Claus while everyone enjoys hot chocolate. The 14th annual Celebration of Lights begins at 6 p.m. Friday.

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Credit: 1940s Christmas Ball
The 1940s White Christmas Ball is returning in 2021.

1940s White Christmas Ball

DENVER — Get out your best fedora or pull your hair up in retro victory rolls because the 1940s White Christmas Ball is back. After hosting virtual events in 2020, the 1940s White Christmas Ball is returning to an in-person, two-night event at the Hyatt Downtown in Denver this Friday and Saturday.

The theme this year is "It's a Wonderful Life," celebrating the 1946 classic film. Actress Karolyn Grimes is a featured guest at this year's ball. As Zuzu Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," Grimes' line "Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings," is arguably the most well-known line in the movie. Grimes will be signing custom ornaments and taking photos.

RELATED: Denver's 1940s Christmas Ball is back

Repeal Day Celebration

DENVER — Celebrate the 88th anniversary of Repeal Day this weekend! The celebration at Denver's Green Russell will have era costumes, live music from the Jean-Marie Jazz Trio, and guest bartenders from around the city who will each take over a well and sling a signature cocktail for one hour. The Repeal Day Celebration begins at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Credit: BillionPhotos.com - stock.adobe.

Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Holiday Concert

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Youth Symphony will hold its annual Holiday Spectacular concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $24 at AXS.com.

Poinsettia Pops

GREELEY — One of northern Colorado's best annual holiday traditions returns on Saturday to Greeley’s Union Colony Civic Center. Poinsettia Pops, featuring the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, soprano Jalyn Webb and highlighting The Greeley Chorale and Greeley Children’s Chorale, is a joyous concert of beloved holiday favorites. For tickets, visit UCStars.com or call 970-356-5000.

A Classic Parker Holiday

PARKER — The Parker Chorale and the Parker Symphony Orchestra will hold three performances this weekend of A Classic Parker Holiday. The holiday spirit-infused concert offers an evening of traditional carols, familiar songs and a few surprises. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at PACE Center. Tickets are sold at ParkerArts.org

Jefferson Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Concert

GOLDEN — The Jefferson Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual Holiday Concert this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Green Center at Colorado School of Mines. The festive showcase will feature guest artists James Baumgardner and Emily Murdock as well as the 80 members of the JSO’s full ensemble. For tickets, visit JeffSymphony.org.

Credit: Ken Papaleo/High Country Coloring

Timothy P. and the Rocky Mountain Stocking Stuffers

LAKEWOOD — Timothy P. and the Rocky Mountain Stocking Stuffers have become a Lakewood Cultural Center holiday tradition. The group will perform entertaining arrangements of original music and holiday favorites – with a generous dose of humor. The 10-piece Rocky Mountain Stocking Stuffers are comprised of some of the region's most prestigious bluegrass, country and folk musicians. Performances are scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Lakewood Cultural Center. Tickets are available at 303-987-7845 or Lakewood.org/LCCPresents.

Channel 93.3 Not So Silent Night

DENVER — The Band Camino headlines the 2021 "Not So Silent Night" concert from Channel 93.3. The annual holiday-season concert is set for Thursday, Dec. 2 at Denver's Mission Ballroom. Dreamers, Weathers, and Elektric Animals will also be performing this Thursday. Tickets for Channel 93.3's Not So Silent Night are on sale at AXS.com.

Credit: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Vail Snow Days

VAIL — Soak in the season at the 15th annual Vail Snow Days. The four-day music and entertainment festival runs Thursday to Sunday. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats will headline a Friday concert with Dirt Miller opening and Dierks Bentley will headline Saturday's concert with Callista Clark. Check out the full schedule at VailSnowDays.com.

Credit: Telluride Fire Festival

Telluride Fire Festival

TELLURIDE — The annual Telluride Fire Festival runs Friday to Sunday. The festival features larger-than-life interactive fire art, fiery art cars, fire dancers and more. For a full festival schedule, visit TellurideFireFestival.org

PHOTOS: Telluride Fire Festival

Credit: tsry360 - stock.adobe.com

Olde Golden Candlelight Walk

GOLDEN — Golden's annual Candlelight Walk returns Friday at 6:30 p.m. The free event has been a holiday tradition since 1988 with thousands coming together to hold candles and sing Christmas songs down Washington Avenue from 15th to 10th Street. Commemorative 2021 candles are available for a cash donation of $2 at Earth Sweet Botanicals and the Golden Visitors and Information Center.

Credit: KUSA

4A/5A Championship Saturday

DENVER — Championship Saturday is here. The best of Class 4A and 5A football will clash to decide the 2021 Colorado state champions at Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday. Erie and Chatfield will kick off at 11 a.m. in the 4A Championship Game. Cherry Creek vs. Valor Christmas will follow in the 5A Championship Game at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the CHSAA 4A/5A Football Championships are sold at Ticketmaster.com.


Credit: h368k742 - stock.adobe.com

Rudolph Ramble 5K

DENVER — Rudolph is lost and rambling around Denver! You can help find him by joining the Rudolph Search and Rescue Team and running along the course of the Rudolph Ramble 5K. All race participants receive an official Rudolph Ramble long-sleeve shirt and a spot on Santa's nice list. The 5K starts Sunday at 9 a.m. at Denver's City Park. There will also be a free kids' fun run, festive treats and photo opportunities with Santa and Rudolph. Race registration can be completed at RunDenverSeries.com.

Rock Canyon Half Marathon

PUEBLO — If you're looking to run a half marathon in Colorado this weekend, consider the Rock Canyon Half Marathon. The 35th annual event arrives Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and features stunning scenery as you run along the historic Arkansas River Trail up to the Lake Pueblo dam and back to City Park. Rock Canyon Half Marathon registration can be completed online.

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Credit: stock.adobe.com

Holiday Food & Gift Festival

COLORADO SPRINGS — The 22nd annual Holiday Food & Gift Festival returns to Colorado Springs from Friday to Sunday at the Norris Penrose Event Center. The festival features hundreds of exhibitors helping Coloradans make progress on their holiday shopping lists. The festival offers one-of-a-kind gifts, crafts, jewelry, clothing, delicious food items, music, photography, toys, Christmas décor and more.

Holiday Craft Bazaar

BRIGHTON — The Adams County Historical Society & Museum hosts its annual Holiday Craft Bazaar on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will craft booths featuring unique handmade items including crafts, food items, holiday décor, toys and art. The show will be held at the Adams County Regional Park.

Fort Collins Holiday Gift Festival

FORT COLLINS — The huge Fort Collins Holiday Gift Festival is back this Sunday with an array of fine arts, handmade crafts, delectable food, home décor, and unique holiday gifts. The show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Northside Aztlan Community Center in downtown Fort Collins. More than 120 vendors are set to attend. Admission is free.

Niwot Holiday Market

NIWOT — More than 30 holiday pop-up markets will be set up at businesses throughout Niwot this Saturday and next Saturday, Dec. 11. There will also be carolers, harpists, brass band, singers, acoustic guitarists, horses and carriages, kids' crafts, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and more.

Winter Market

LONGMONT — This weekend's Winter Market features over 100 Colorado vendors selling fresh produce, specialty meats, eggs, baked goods, preserves, cheese, hot sauces, wine, prepared food, coffee, kombucha, jewelry, skincare, woodwork, home goods and more. There will be free kids’ activities and live music. The market runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Admission is free.

Golden High Christmas Holiday Bazaar

GOLDEN — Golden High School’s PTA hosts their Christmas Holiday Bazaar this Saturday with over 70 local artists. Find the perfect Christmas gift beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. Admission is free.

Bear Creek High School Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair

LAKEWOOD — The 28th annual Bear Creek High School Instrumental Music Boosters Craft Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Bear Creek High School. This weekend’s Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair will have over 90 crafters, door prizes, concessions and free parking.

Grandview High School Holiday Craft Fair

AURORA — Grandview High School is hosting its craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The holiday tradition allows local vendors to advertise their business and sell products to the community during the Christmas season.

Cheyenne Mountain High School Craft Fair

COLORADO SPRINGS — The annual Cheyenne Mountain High School Craft Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in southwest Colorado Springs. The fair offers over 140 booths of craft vendors to help you get started on your holiday shopping list. There will be a wide array of stocking stuffers, apparel, accessories, toys, decorations, art, jewelry, Christmas décor, home goods and food items. The craft fair will also have food vendors, complimentary parking lot shuttle and free childcare for shoppers.

Schweiger Ranch Austrian Christmas and Christkindl Market

LONE TREE — Schweiger Ranch is pulling out all the stops for its annual authentic Schweiger Ranch Austrian Christmas event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A grand Christmas tree lighting will take place as evening falls. This free festival is sure to whisk you back 143 years into the past, when the Schweiger brothers moved to Colorado from Austria and settled their homestead. This event was first published by MileHighOnTheCheap.com. For more local deals and discounts go to MileHighontheCheap.com.

RELATED: Visit these holiday markets to find unique gifts this Christmas

Denver Christkindl Market

DENVER — The 21st annual Denver Christkindl Market is open daily through Thursday, Dec. 23 at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park. The Denver Christkindlmarket recreates the joy of strolling a European village square during the holidays.

Guests to the market can savor the season while enjoying authentic Glühwein (mulled spiced wine) and European drinks while shopping for unique artisan gifts and holiday treats sold by local Coloradoan, European, and international merchants in wooden huts. Daily entertainment will also take place at the Greek Amphitheater Stage including German polka music, German traditional dancers, holiday hymns in multiple languages, accordion and blue grass music, high school bands and more.

RELATED: Christkindl Market returns to downtown Denver

Credit: Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Camp Christmas

LAKEWOOD — Guests can journey through Denver Center for the Performing Arts' biggest holiday experience ever at Camp Christmas. New this year, the experience will be an outdoor/indoor extravaganza at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, featuring artist Lonnie Hanzon's fantastical wonderland of lights, dazzling decorations, music and memorabilia in various yuletide scenes across a six-acre landscape. Camp Christmas runs through Sunday, Jan. 2. Get your tickets at DenverCenter.org.

Credit: KUSA

Mile High Tree

DENVER — The Mile High Tree, a seven-story tall, 39-foot diameter conical structure will once again feature dynamic light shows choreographed to multi-cultural holiday music on the tallest pixel LED technology tree in the country. The giant tree will appear for a second-straight year on the 16th Street Mall at Welton Street. The Mile High Tree will be lit up nightly through Saturday, Jan. 1 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Entry to see the tree is free and open to the public.

RELATED: America’s tallest digital tree returning to Denver

Credit: Adams Viscom

A Christmas Carol

DENVER — Colorado's largest production of A Christmas Carol has reopened this holiday season at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, the Denver musical adaptation traces curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge's triumphant overnight journey to redemption.

A Christmas Carol was last performed by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theatre Company in 2018. The production was paused in 2019 for theater renovations and was canceled due to the pandemic in 2020.

A Christmas Carol will play the newly-renovated Wolf Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex through Saturday, Dec. 26. Tickets are on sale now at DenverCenter.org starting at $30.

RELATED: 'A Christmas Carol' returns after 3-year absence

Credit: Disney and MGM via AP
These images released by Disney and MGM show Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, in a scene from the animated film "Encanto" and Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in "House of Gucci."

Movies this weekend

Four new movies battled at the box office for the Thanksgiving weekend crown. "Encanto," "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" and "House of Gucci" will continue to gobble up the box office bucks the first weekend of December. 

Several new movies are coming this month including "West Side Story," "The King's Man" and "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Opening this weekend

  • Wolf

Last weekend's box office

  1. Encanto — $27.2 million
  2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife — $24.2 million
  3. House of Gucci — $14.4 million
  4. Eternals — $7.9 mullion
  5. Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City — $5.3 million

RELATED: And the Thanksgiving weekend box office winner is...

> 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.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the holidays in Colorado

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Holiday season in Colorado


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